How do I repair or replace my hard drive?
March 16, 2006 10:29 AM   Subscribe

My hard drive might be on the brink of failure.

For quite a while now, there has been a whirring sound coming from my laptop that is quite loud. Even if I shut all programs I believe to be accessing the hard drive, it continues. Any suggestions on what to do?

HP Pavillion running Microsoft Windows XP SP2.
3.2 Ghz Intel Pentium 4, 512 MB shared ram, 74 GB hard drive.
posted by matkline to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
Are you sure it's the drive and not the fan? I've made that mistake before. Not saying you did - just wondering.

If it is, indeed a drive about to die, back everything up, and soon. And then look into replacement costs of the drive. Don't know the Pavilion too well, but on many laptops accessing and replacing the drive is relatively simple. Be glad it's not an Ibook. :-)
posted by TeamBilly at 10:36 AM on March 16, 2006

backup, buy new hard drive, install or have someone help you install.
posted by edgeways at 10:36 AM on March 16, 2006

As this machine is relatively new, it may have some ability to run a self-test - either built-in or via a diagnostic CD - look for a mention of F1/F2/F18/F12/Esc or Del when the machine reboots. My Dell includes the ability to test each component separately.

YMMV, but I have been known to jam a pen in the fan to verify that it is indeed the fan that is making the noise.
posted by azlondon at 10:50 AM on March 16, 2006

Check out this post I made about hard drive noises to give you a better idea. Either way, you should be backing up your stuff regularly because sometimes they'll die without making any noise at all, or simply get stolen like mine was.
posted by furtive at 11:52 AM on March 16, 2006

I can't stress this enough. Buy an external hard drive and back up your data immediately! Like, don't boot up your laptop again until you are ready to back up the data.
posted by MrZero at 12:25 PM on March 16, 2006

Statistically speaking the chances are much higher that it's a fan making the noise, because it's very common for them to get clogged up with dust. Take a can of compressed CO2 to the laptop and blow out the junk. You should also be able to get an idea if it's the fan or HD based on where it's coming from.
posted by Rhomboid at 1:22 PM on March 16, 2006

Seriously, backup your stuff and don't turn on the computer again until you're ready to do the backup. You cannot be too careful.

In the past year I've replaced roughly 100 hard drives with mechanical problems. In that same amount of time I've only seen one computer whose 'odd whirring noises' turned out to be just stuff stuck in one of the fans.
posted by J-Garr at 8:49 AM on March 17, 2006

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