One of the most common repairs that we get in is a laptop in need of a hard drive replacement. As of 2015 we’re now selling more solid state drives (SSD) than traditional spinning hard drives to our local Raleigh area clients. A SSD drive reduces power consumption, noise, makes your laptop faster than it was when it was new, is more reliable, and contains no moving parts.
Symptoms of a bad hard drive
Hard drives which are failing range from strange issues like the wireless not working being completely dead as a doornail. Here are the most common symptoms:
- Missing driver. Sometimes when a hard drive is failing, a driver file will go missing, This causes things to stop working. If your wireless has stopped, audio will not work, or video displays in a very low resolution, you could be missing a driver file.
- Missing files at boot. If you boot up your machine and there are files missing, your hard drive could be going bad.
- Error messages. “No boot device” or “operating system not found” are common tell tail signs of a laptop than can not find your operating system. This is often a defective hard drive.
- Slow laptop. If your laptop is getting slower and slower by the minute there is a good chance that the hard drive is failing.
- SMART errors. A S.M.A.R.T. error is your computer telling you that you need to drop what you’re doing and back up anything important immediately.
- Strange sounds. Clicking, grinding, squealing, screeching and knocking noises are usually a hard drive that is dying or dead.
- Freezing. If your laptop is crashing and getting stuck in one place, or the hour glass is spinning and spinning, you may have a bad hard drive.
- Boot loop. If you machine tries to load the operating system and then reboots before Windows or OSX loads, there is a decent chance that your hard drive has bad sectors.
What goes wrong with laptop hard drives?
Hard drives are basically like a big, fast, fragile record player. The disc inside is spinning at 7,200RPMs. At some point this mechanical piece of equipment is going to fail. A scratched disc is only going to get worse. We do not “repair” hard drives here; once a drive has bad sectors it is time to replace it. Other problems include corrupt master file tables, head crashes, electrical failures, and more. ALL hard drives will fail, it is not IF but WHEN.
Can my data be saved?
As long as the machine still works we can usually rescue your data with no problem. If it does not boot we may be able to do a data recovery; for complete details feel free to visit our comprehensive data recovery page. When we recover data from a hard drive it can be placed onto your new drive, a flash drive, and/or a DVD.
How much are hard drives?
We carry a wide variety of new notebook 2.5″ SATA hard drives which are under $100. The hard drive determines how much space you have. The bigger the drive, the more they cost. As of September 2015, SSDs are not much more than a regular hard drive, although they are limited in size.
Along with a hard drive we typically load Windows or your OS for you as a service. If we do this, when you get home you will still need to do a few things such as connect to your router and printer, etc.