Hard Drive Failure - Smash That Computer

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There are few things  as terrifying as the dreaded "click of death" from a hard drive. That's  if you KNOW what a hard drive is, and what the sound means! (and if you have a Solid State Drive you won't even hear that!)
It means ALL of your data, contacts, pictures, programs and files....gone. Possibly unrecoverable.
All  hard drives (even SSD's) are prone to eventual failure. This can simply  be data corruption due to sector errors or the full-blown "click of  death" as described above.
The  solution to the issue (let's not get into RAID drive setups) is BACKUP!  By this, I mean MORE THAN ONE way in which your drive's data is copied  and protected. Here are some options:
(1)Use  a USB connected external drive to back up your data. These often come  with backup software included. Ideally, this should be done every week  and the drive then stored OFF SITE (fancy a fire, flood or quake  destroying your external drive?).
(2)The  above, coupled with some sort of CLOUD BASED backup system. For  example, Macs have iCloud, which is free up to a point, then starts to  cost you as you need more drive space. There are other options for PC  users.
(3)Both the above, with  some sort of NAS (Network Attached Storage) device set up to regularly  back up your files. This is better than the USB system alone, as it's  often not convenient to attach the USB drive and you sort of forget to  do it for a few weeks....
Everybody  realises the need for backup - usually AFTER they have lost precious  data, photos and files. Don't let it happen to you!
Here are the some of the signs of upcoming hard drive failure: Irregular  clicking or other new noises from the drive. (listen for the regular,  normal noises, so you can spot the odd ones when they happen). Long  periods of drive "seeking" for basic tasks. Getting a "SMART" alert when  you boot up the machine. SMART needs to be enabled in your CMOS  settings for this to work, but it's a good indicator. (look this up  online if you don't know how to do this.)
It's essential that you  don't ignore signs like this - back up your data as soon as possible!  Even putting it on CD is better than nothing, but with HDD storage so  cheap these days, you should invest in a portable external drive....and  USE IT. Have some Cloud Storage as well (backup drives can also fail...)
Now that the prices of SSD's (Solid State Drives) have fallen so much, most people are replacing their traditional Hard Drives with these. There are some free programs that enable you to transfer your whole drive onto a new SSD. I will look at those soon.
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