How to fix “SMART failure detected on hard disk”
1. Run built-in diagnostic tests
You should still be able to boot your computer after getting the “SMART failure” error. After this, you may run chkdsk or your computer brand’s support apps to check your hard drive.
If you can’t get your computer to boot to Windows at all, you may choose to perform pre-boot diagnostics.
If your computer boots to Windows
Chkdsk is a tool on every Windows laptop or desktop computer that checks for file system errors.
You may run this quick test as a command or from the properties panel of your hard drive. It is used to check and repair hard drive errors like soft bad sectors.
Even though chkdsk might seem like a simple test, it is a convenient tool to detect and prevent premature failures on your drive. You may find running chkdsk helpful if you run it regularly for issues.
For a more specialised solution, you may also choose to use a support app that is specific to your computer’s brand and model.
Your computer should already come with a support app that you can use for running diagnostics and finding online support solutions.
This might be something like SupportAssist for Dell or HP Support Assistant. If you can’t find them on your computer, a software download should be available on the support page of your computer’s brand.
If your computer does not boot successfully to Windows
Another built-in diagnostic tool is one that you can perform before your device boots.
This pre-boot diagnostic is a full hardware test that reports any found issues.
You’ll need the key specific to your computer’s brand to enter boot diagnostics (“F12” for Dell laptops, “ESC” key for HP, “Enter” or “F12” key for Lenovo laptops, and “D” key for Apple Mac).
Press this specific key at the splash screen when you boot up, then you may begin testing.
Note that these computer models do not come with built-in diagnostic tools: Acer, ASUS, Toshiba, Lenovo IdeaPad, Clevo, Razer :(
Boot diagnostics will then report computer hardware issues it finds. This might be faults found within the hard drive, battery, fan, and so on.
With the reported issue and reference, you’ll be able to find the right support solution to your hardware problem.
2. More testing on dedicated hard drive analysis apps
For a more thorough test, you may also want to try out some dedicated hard drive analysis software.
Software like Seagate’s Seatools, Samsung Magician, Intel’s Memory and Storage Tools, or Western Digital’s WD Data Lifeguard can help you test your hard drive in depth for any issues.
Together, these manufacturers produce majority of hard drives, solid state drives etc for computers. Their tools can give you a good hint on your computer’s hard drive health status.
This is also a method you can use if your computer does not boot up.
As an in depth diagnostic, isolating the drive from your system and testing it on its own gets better results compared to a simple test. So you’ll need to do this by taking out your hard drive and testing it from a separate desktop computer.
This involves using a SATA-to-USB, or M.2 to USB enclosure box to connect the drive to the computer. Your drive is then powered from the enclosure to ensure sufficient power supply that is also isolated from the desktop’s power supply.
You may choose to run simple or extended tests, which tests and attempts repairs on your faulty drive. These may also take a longer time to run compared to chkdsk or built-in apps.
3. Choose a hard drive replacement
Diagnosing the problem is just the beginning, now we can begin looking at repair and replacement solutions. For a faulty hard drive, a replacement might just be the right solution for you.
You might still be on the fence about getting a replacement if you got chkdsk or other software to fix your problem.
Your drive works again, so why should you replace it? Software fixes can definitely fix some problems on the hard drive and make it work properly again, but this may just be a quick fix that doesn’t last long.
You might only be able to buy yourself another year or so on the drive, will need to get it replaced down the line anyway. A hard drive replacement is not only quick, but can also be a long-lasting solution for you.
Using your hard drive model as a reference
Getting to know the model of your current hard drive can be a place to start when you’re looking for its replacement. You may also choose the exact same one, if you’re happy with it.
To look up the model of your hard drive, you can check this from the Device Manager, under “Disk Drives”. Or you can also enter your BIOS setup from the startup menu to check the hard drive model number.
If you’ve already taken your drive out for testing, or would like a more practical way, you can note down the information label on the drive.
A few things you can look at when you’re shopping for hard drives include: form factor, capacity, and speeds.
The first thing to do is to make sure you get a drive that fits in your computer.
Form factor refers to the physical dimensions of the hard drive.
If you get a 3.5-inch hard drive for your laptop, it obviously won’t fit. Laptops use 2.5-inch drives, while desktop computers use the 3.5-inch ones.
With that said, you can use a 2.5-inch drive in a desktop computer. It’s just that laptop drives are more compact and less powerful than desktop drives usually are.
The next thing to look at would be how much the drive can store.
The capacity of the drive refers to the amount of space that the drive has. You may want to look into how much space you actually use to make sure you don’t buy too much space.
What you use your computer for can also influence this decision. Basic use of personal documents and internet browsing wouldn’t need that much space, anywhere more than 250GB might be too much.
Bigger files like movies or creative projects would probably call for more space, say from 1TB and more.
Consumer hard drives usually come with two speeds: 5400RPM and 7200RPM. RPM means “revolutions-per-minute”. In other words, it means how fast the drive can read and write data as provided by how fast the disks spin.
Higher speeds mean higher performance, of course. But they may also come with the downside of draining too much power. So 5400RPM is more commonly known as a balanced choice.
If you don’t want to sacrifice performance for a balanced computing experience, then a solid-state drive upgrade might be the thing for you.
These days a lot of hard disks have been replaced by SSDs in newer models of laptops and desktop computers. They provide much better performance without the risk of power drainage or physical damage.
This is because it makes use of NAND memory chips instead of spinning disks and read / write heads. Learn more about the pros and cons of an SSD here.
4. Install your new hard drive
Hard drive replacements shouldn’t need an intermediate computer user to perform.
It is one of the easiest computer hardware repairs that you can do yourself. You only need to open up your laptop or desktop computer to switch out the drives.
Things might not look the same on your computer compared to another model.
The position of where the hard drive is set might be different. You might be able to find hard drive replacement guides for your specific computer model from ifixit.
They provide guides for all sorts of hardware and specific brand models as well. Replacing a hard drive yourself can be easy as pie!
5. Install Windows on new drive
The last step to a hard drive replacement is installing Windows OS onto the new drive.
Without an OS, you undoubtedly can’t boot up your computer at all. This can be done simply by creating a USB installation media and booting your computer from there.
You’ll need to download a Windows installation onto a USB that has at least 16GB capacity to do so. Choose to boot from this USB drive from the startup menu, then you’re done!
Your computer will show signs of wear or damage after you’ve had it for a while. These error signals might be something you shouldn’t ignore, as they could increase the chances of an unexpected system crash.
Luckily, there are a few things that can get you prepared so you don’t lose important data. Things like running regular checkups simply from chkdsk and backing up your data regularly can help you with that.
Getting professional computer repair
Don’t have the time or the right tools to test your hard drive yourself? You might be thinking about getting a professional’s support.
That’s where an authorised service centre or a third-party repair service can help you.
While being under warranty, you may choose to get a free repair from the authorised service centre of your computer’s brand. Each brand’s authorised service centre can offer specialised support solution for their users.
They might still be able to offer services if your warranty has expired, but may not support models that are too old to repair. Checking your warranty and whether an authorised service centre can help you might save you a wasted trip to one.
If so, a third-party repair service might be a reliable solution for you.
That’s us! At Safemode Computer Service, our skilled technicians can give you the right advice and solutions to computer hardware problems.
Located in Inner West Sydney, we are highly rated among computer repair services across Sydney. We do thorough checkups on your computer and deliver the right results for your hard drive issues. Come by our Enmore store in the beautiful Inner West for advice today.