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Top 2 Ways to Fix Hard Disk Failure is Imminent in Windows 7/8/10

Top 2 Ways to Fix Hard Disk Failure is Imminent in Windows 7/8/10

What does hard disk failure imminent mean? Is the drive really dying? What should I do? Do I need a new disk at this point? Scroll down to get clear ideas and minimize your data loss.

By AOMEI / Last Updated September 24, 2020

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Hi Marilyn. I’m Greg, an installation specialist and 9 year Windows MVP here to help you.

Follow that up with a full Disk Check, from the Command Prompt if necessary: https://www.groovypost.com/howto/check-hard-dri.

If you have HP or Dell you can power up while pressing the ESC or F12 keys respectively to run Diagnostics that will do this for you.

2) If the drive is failing, I’d replace it with an SSD which is the best Upgrade one can have — lightning fast, faster than a new higher-end PC without one, especially if you do the gold standard Clean Install in this link which compiles the best possible install which will stay that way as long as you stick with the tools and methods given, has zero reported problems, and is better than any amount of money could buy: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/wiki.

Obviously I’d try getting the data off of it first if you get to access it. Hopefully you have a backup so you’re protected. If not there are steps to set one up in the Clean Install tutorial which includes everything.

I hope this helps. Feel free to ask back any questions and keep me posted. If you’ll wait to rate whether my post helped you, I will keep working with you until it’s resolved.

Standard Disclaimer: There are links to non-Microsoft websites. The pages appear to be providing accurate, safe information. Watch out for ads on the sites that may advertise products frequently classified as a PUP (Potentially Unwanted Products). Thoroughly research any product advertised on the sites before you decide to download and install it.

Windows MVP 2010-20

Over 100,000 helped in forums in 10 years
I do not quit for those who are polite and cooperative.
I will walk you through any steps and will not let you fail.

Hard Disk 301 error occurs due to several reasons. Following are some of the reasons that cause hard disk 301 error.

  1. SMART hard disk check Failure
  2. Broken IDE/SATA controller chip in the Motherboard
  3. Unexpected shutdown
  4. Physical damage to the hard drive
  5. Outdated or Misconfigured BIOS
  6. Virus attacks

Well, whatever be the cause, you need to resolve Smart hard disk error.

Wrapping Up!

Hard Drive is just like the heart of the computer. If it fails; then the entire workflow will halt, and data will be at stake. Thus, early detection and early resolving smart hard disk error using the right data recovery approach is a viable option to avoid further aggravation.

About The Author


Girish is a blogger and writer. He has over 4-year experience in Data Recovery and Data Eraser technology. In his free time, he writes about technical tips and tutorials.

Hard drives fail

Hard drives fail all the time. They just do. Oh, you can go for years without experiencing it, but then suddenly you see “Hard disk failure is imminent”, or worse.

You must prepare, and preparation is simple: back up.

If you’d had a backup of your data taken prior to the hard drive’s imminent failure, you would simply replace the drive, recover the data from backup, and get on with your life. It would be that simple.

I have lots of different articles on how to back up — the links below only touch the tip of the iceberg. It’s something I preach about and write about often, specifically because of stories like yours.

You see, based on what you’ve told me, I don’t think you’re getting your data back. I hope I’m wrong, but the scenario you outline all too often ends with “…and then I lost everything.”

And that just doesn’t have to be.

Whether or not you get your data back, please, please learn from this experience and begin backing up right now.

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If you found this article helpful, I’m sure you’ll also love Confident Computing! My weekly email newsletter is full of articles that help you solve problems, stay safe, and give you more confidence with technology. Subscribe now and I’ll see you there soon,

Hard Drive Failure Tips

Stay calm… don’t do anything rash!

Hard drive failure is one of the most common and frustrating problems for computer users, but it’s also one of the easiest problems to recover from. If you do suspect that your hard drive has failed, your first course of action should always be to turn off your system. Your second should be to get a free consultation from a professional data recovery shop.

Speaking with a professional data recovery technician is absolutely free, and will at least enable you to get an idea of what you’re dealing with, and in this case, knowledge is power.

If, on the other hand, you suspect that your hard drive is failing (as in, the drive hasn’t died just yet), then by all means do your best to back it up now!

The Specific Causes Of Hard Drive Failure

Hard disk drives (or HDD) are mechanical. Most are based on a “spindle and platter” system that works much in the way a record player does. The arm reads the data on the platter, and your system uses it for pretty much everything on your computer.

The second type of hard drive, and one that has become extremely popular, is the Solid State Drive or SSD. This type of hard disk uses an electrical cell grid to write data directly to a memory module, exactly like the RAM in your system. These drives read and write data extremely quickly and are a key reason why today’s computers are so fast.

Now, the key cause of failure for either an HDD or an SSD is one thing: mechanical failure.

For HDD drives, this means the spindle and platter system may be wearing out or losing precision due to age or heavy use.

For SSD drives, the “blocks” to which data is written do wear out. They can only be written too a certain number of times, and then, without warning, your drive is dead.

Some other key causes include:

  • Excessive heat – Either form of drive will fail if used continually in a very hot environment or improperly cooled computer system
  • Water Damage – These are electronics, and one of life’s harshest equations is Water+Electronics=Damage. (Read more about water damaged hard drives)
  • Static Electricity – A dry environment can make for high amounts of static electricity.
  • Lightning or power surges – A mass shock to your computer system can quickly spell the end of a hard drive.
  • High Magnetic Fields – Magnets and hard drives of any kind are a bad mix.
  • Impact – The parts inside a hard drive are very sensitive. Dropping a drive or laptop can cause immediate hard drive failure

The Specific Causes Of External Hard Drive Failure

External or portable hard drives are even more susceptible to damage than internal or laptop hard drives. This is essentially because they are small, usually poorly padded within their case, and can be dropped at a moment’s notice.

So essentially, all of the causes of internal hard drive failure are the same for external, with a specific focus on Impact or Environmental Hazard. This means that it can be dropped on the ground. Immersed in water. Burned in a fire. It can more easily be affected by a powerful magnet. They can be thrown across the room by a toddler.

Believe us, we’ve seen it all.

Basically, an external drive is more risky than those in a PC or laptop, so saving as little “critical data” on them as possible is always a great idea. But if you need help recovering an external or portable drive, we can do that, too. Even if you think a recovery might not be possible, trust us: 95% of the time, it is.

How S.M.A.R.T. Helps Warn You

S.M.A.R.T., or Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology, is an early warning system for hard drives that first gained popularity around 2004. SMART does not actually prevent hard disk or SSD failure, but it does warn you of the potential.

When SMART is activated, it will usually warn the user that the hard drive may have issues during the boot sequence. But, the unfortunate fact is that many computer manufacturers do not automatically enable SMART.

A quick web search for your specific model will often tell you if SMART is activated on your computer.

If you have Windows and you want to see your SMART details right now, do this:

First, open a Command Prompt window. (Press the Windows key, type Command Prompt, and press Enter.)

Once you have a Command Prompt window, type the following commands, pressing Enter after each one:

If there are no SMART errors, you should see this:

Those 3 OKs mean that yes, you’re OK. Now backup that hard drive!

Warning Signs That Suggest Failure Is Imminent

If you haven’t had the opportunity to check your SMART settings (see above), but suspect that your hard drive may be failing, you may consider the following issues as warnings that a hard drive crash is on its way:

  • Computer Crashes Or Blue Screen Of Death – A classic Windows scenario that is all but licked with the newer versions starting at Windows 7 and extending to 8 and now 10. This is why if you do experience a crash, it may be a big deal. Backup that drive!
  • Error Messages While Copying Or Moving Files – Believe us, this is not something that happens unless there are disk problems at hand. At the very least, it might be a good time to do a SMART test (as above) or do a disk check by going into Explorer, right clicking on the problematic drive, clicking the Tools tab and clicking the “Check” button.
  • Losing Files Without Notice – This can sometimes mean that your drive is having issues. A disk check again may help.
  • File Access Takes A Long Time – Today’s hard drives are fast. If your system was made in the past 10 years, you shouldn’t be waiting long periods of time for your file access.
  • Noise – Most recently manufactured hard drives are whisper quiet. Any noise at all, particularly a clicking hard drive noise, can mean the drive may be on its last legs. Do your best to backup whatever you can, or shut down the system and call an expert (our number is above ).
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Macbook Hard Drive Failure Signs

Suspect that your Macbook hard drive is failing? Well, certainly all of the signs noted above for Windows machines do also work for Mac users, so feel free to go through that checklist.

Fortunately, the folks at Apple have built-in what they call the Apple Hardware Test. Within that module is something called the AHT Disk utility, which does help correct errors and solve disk problems.

If you find that your drive is slowing, it may either be fragmented, or it’s possible it may be failing. Again, back it up to another drive. An external hard drive is extremely handy for this.

(Because today’s hard drives are extremely cheap when compared with even five years ago, it is always worth the expense to buy an external USB hard drive for backup purposes. A 2TB portable drive can often be purchased for less than $60. Consider it a very worthy investment.)

What Happens Next If Your Drive Has Failed?

Thankfully, hard drive failure typically doesn’t look like this.

If you call on an expert quickly, and your system isn’t very old, your data is VERY recoverable. Basically, the quicker you discover the drive issue and power down your system, the more effective (and less expensive) your data recovery will be.

Free Hard Drive Failure Consultations

When you call HDRA, a technician will ask you a number of questions to determine the cause of your hard disk failure. This is because in many cases, your drive may be mechanically sound, but has issues with its file system (or Logical Errors) that prevent data from being accessed.

Many people panic and mistake logical drive failures for mechanical failures, which can often lead them to rash actions that can further damage their data.

Each day, HDRA technicians help customers troubleshoot these logical errors over the phone, saving them hundreds of dollars in data recovery costs with one call.

In doubt? Find out for yourself by calling the toll free number above!

It’s Mechanical… What Now?

If you describe a situation that tells us that your drive has experienced a mechanical failure, we will likely request that you ship the drive to our lab. This is to see how badly damaged your drive is, and to find out what the best and least expensive way of recovering the data will be.

For all in-lab recoveries we perform, we give you the option of either copying the recovered data to a brand new hard drive, or compressing the data so that you can download it from a secure location.

Fixing “Disk boot failure” on Windows

Fix 1: Change BIOS boot order

To check a computer’s boot order, follow these instructions:

  1. Restart the computer
  2. Open the BIOS. If you’re not sure which key is used to open BIOS, it’s either any of the following or it’s listed on the first screen that appears on the monitor, before the Windows logo appears.Possible keys: Esc , Del , F2 , F8 , F10 or F12

Notice the key guide in the top-right corner.

Boot Selection Menu

Fix #2: Remove newly installed hardware, check data cables and jumpers

If a new hardware was recently added , follow these tips:

  • Remove the newly added hardware and restart the computer to check if the error still appears
  • Check the cables of the hard disk where Windows is installed
  • Check the jumpers of the hard disk

Fix #3: Check HDD for failures

To test if the hard disk has failed, use Easy Recovery Essentials’ Automated Repair. The Automated Repair process will report any issues found with the hard disk or RAM memory with one single click:

  1. Download Easy Recovery Essentials
  2. Burn the ISO Image. Follow our instructions on how to burn a bootable ISO image. If you’d like to have a recovery USB instead, follow our instructions on how to make a recovery USB.
  3. Boot into Easy Recovery Essentials
  4. Select Automated Repair
  5. Click Continue and wait for the Automated Repair process to finish. Automated Repair process will report any issues found with your hard disk or RAM memory:

To download Easy Recovery Essentials, click here.

Fix #4: Run chkdsk

The chkdsk utility can detect if the computer’s hard disk has certain issues.

If a PC has Windows XP installed, follow these steps to start chkdsk:

  1. Insert a Windows XP CD into the computer.
  2. Restart the computer.
  3. Press any key to boot into the CD when you see the “Press any key to boot from CD” message.
  4. Press R to start Recovery Console when the Options screen appears.
  5. Choose the Windows installation to be repaired, and type in the Administrator password followed by the Enter key to submit it.
  6. Type the following command, and press Enter : to submit it:

Where C: is the Windows installation drive

  • Wait for the scanning process to end, and restart the computer.
  • Here is an example screenshot of what the PC’s console output should look like once the chkdsk is complete:

    Windows XP Chkdsk utility results screen

    If a PC has Windows Vista, 7, 8 or 10 installed, follow these steps instead:

    1. Boot from a Windows install disc
    2. Click on Repair your computer after selecting proper language, time and keyboard input.
    3. Select the Windows installation drive, which is usually C: , and click Next
    4. Choose Command Prompt when the System Recovery Options box appears
    5. Write the following command and press Enter afterwards:

    Replace C: with the letter of the driver where Windows is installed.

    Here is an example of what the PC’s console output should look like once the chkdsk.exe is complete:

    Windows 7 Chkdsk utility results screen

    How to find out if a drive is failing using Command Prompt

    Using Command Prompt, there are a least two ways to check the SMART status to determine if any hard drives are having hardware problems.

    Determining drive status

    To quickly check the SMART status with the Windows Management Instrumentation Command-line (WMIC) utility, use these steps:

    1. Open Start.
    2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.

    Type the following command to determine if the hard drive is failing and press Enter:

    wmic diskdrive get status

    Under the «Status» column, confirm that the result is OK.

    Quick note: You’ll see an OK status for each internal drive installed on your device.

    Once you complete the steps, if the status reads OK, everything is working as expected. If the status reads «bad,» «unknown,» or «caution,» it’s likely that the hard drive has an imminent hardware failure, or the command is having problems querying the status from the firmware of the drive.

    Determining drive predictive failure

    To check the prediction failure status to determine if the hard drive is starting to fail, use these steps:

    1. Open Start.
    2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.

    Type the following command to determine if the hard drive is failing and press Enter:

    wmic /namespace:\rootwmi path MSStorageDriver_FailurePredictStatus

  • Confirm the PredictFailure value. If the status appears as FALSE, then the hard drive is working without issues.
  • After completing these steps, if you received a True value for «PredictFailure,» it means that SMART is predicting hard drive failure. The Reason column may also return a value greater than . If this is the case, you may need to contact your manufacturer to understand the code as the value may have a different meaning depending on the vendor.

    Tips To Prevent Data Loss from Failed Hard Drive

    Sometimes, the hard disk can crash or become dead without even making any grinding or screeching sound. In such situations, you might even lose the chance of taking backup of your data on another device. Hence, follow the given tips to protect your data from permanent loss:


    • Stop using the drive when you encounter any symptoms mentioned in this post.
    • Unplug or remove the drive from CPU, and keep it in a clean and safe environment.
    • Make sure that there are no ‘hot spots’ or any mark on the external controller board.
    • You can also search and confirm that no any drive parts are broken or damaged.
    • Take regular backup of your data, and keep a professional data recovery tool handy.
    • Take precaution while handling external drive and laptop to prevent damage due to sudden drop.

    Bottom Line

    Of course, you have to pay attention to the “1720-Smart Drive Detects Imminent Failure” error. But make sure you do not panic. Simply follow the solutions above, and you should be able to fix your problem.

    Once everything’s back to normal, we suggest that you download and install a reliable PC Repair tool. This way, you can ensure that your computer performs well and that speed-reducing problems won’t stand a chance.

    Have you encountered the “1720-Smart Drive Detects Imminent Failure” error? How did you deal with it? Comment on your experience below.

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