Possible HDD failure

My PC have been acting off for some time and it’s getting worse. I suspect failure of one of my hard drives, but am not sure how to check it.

From time to time, after logging in, it would freeze for some time and display an error about trouble with access to a partitions (different ones on different drives). After that system would work fine. Recently I’ve been getting random system crashes and currently I’m having trouble to boot and I’m afraid to try due to fear of data lost.

As mentioned I suspect it’s a problem with hard drive, but I’m not sure how to make check which of my drives are faulty. It’s especially tricky as my system is split into multiple different partitions on different drives.

Currently I’m trying to run some some disk inspection software I found, but if you know any trustworthy applications or have ideas how to handle the problem I’ll be greatfull for tips.

I just boot the live disc for my OS and run SMART tests on the drives with GParted or GNOME Disks (whichever comes with the OS). That can help find a few issues. I had a drive fail on me a while back and luckily the ext4 filesystem is smart enough to prevent big problems for a little while. In my case the system would boot up into Read Only mode and I could still get my data.

Also, have you heard any strange or louder than usual noises coming from the HDD?


Yes, there are strange noises.

I used sudo smartctl -a /dev/sda on all devices and it seems to confirm it’s a disk issue as one of them returned errors.

I’m also running badblocks, but I think I’ll skip it for drive that’s most likely faulty as I don’t have enough space to make a backup, so I’ll just not use it and hope it lives until I have a new drive.

If there is anything really important on the failing drive try and copy as much as possible off it now using your file manager, Only use file recovery software ddrescue, etc as a last option as those can actually put more wear on a failing drive as they try and read every single block.

Then unplug it and take it out of your system. Then when you get a replacement you’ll have a better chance of saving your files. The worse thing you can do with a failing drive is to continue using it.

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