Is my HDD dying?

My system is configured with a 512GB SDD as my System drive (C:), a 1TB drive as my Data drive (D:), and an old 250GB drive as a Backup drive (E:). I also have a 2TB Seagate backup external drive.

The D: drive has been giving me some issues. More and more frequently, I’m finding some of the media files I download to be corrupted – 0 bytes, failing halfway through playback, etc. When that happens, Windows reports problems with the drive, does a scan and repair and then reports the drive as “Healthy.”

In all my years of computing, I’ve never had a drive go bad on me. Is that happening here? I just picked up a 2TB 5400 RPM WD Blue drive this morning (man, storage is cheap these days!), but I don’t want to go through the hassle of installing and copying everything over if the current drive isn’t failing.


Sata cable, bad drive, ram problems (but other drives would have errors too)

To check drive you don’t use Windows, they have self correcting reserved clusters. You had a drive tool from manufacturer.

You really should copy anything valuable just in case… if it’s steam installs they don’t matter much then

I use HD Sentinel Pro but SMART isn’t always good to trust. I’ve had drives fail immediately after reporting A-OK and “all-green” while still in the 70-80s of health lifespan percentage. Much of the SSD failing was mostly due to my fault due to daily re-imaging but my OCD has been treated since those days.

Replace the drive, it’s going bad.

SSD rather than HDD, but my laptop system drive seems to be failing, after about two years. Either that or something’s deeply wrong with my Windows install. I’ve been getting occasional BSODs for the last week or so and it’s all come to ahead tonight with near constant BSODs, all different error messages… Spent a long time unable to even boot into Windows, and Windows Restore wouldn’t work. But sometimes it does manage to boot and I’m getting very mixed messages from Check Disk. Samsung Magician claims the drive doesn’t support a diagnostic scan, which is annoying as it’s a fairly recent Evo.

Yikes; not a drive guru, but that sure sounds like it’s dying. Always possible it’s something on the motherboard or RAM, but I’d put my money on the drive. If it’s out of warranty, you could try to reseat the drive just in case.

I’m going to try swapping the original, smaller SSD in tonight, which should at least settle the question of whether it’s the drive or the memory. I’m hoping it just works, albeit like a very old restore point, as the new drive was cloned off it, but in case it doesn’t, is there any way to find out the Windows key before you boot into Windows? Is it shown in the repair/restore options?

It’s usually in a sticker on the bottom of a laptop. Otherwise, the Internet tells me to try an elevated command prompt and then: wmic path softwarelicensingservice

Ah, internet also tells me it’s (probably) in the BIOS and using a Media Creation Tool install should just pull it from that. No sticker for me. I think it came with a key sheet, but I’ve no idea where in my boxes of stuff that is.

Don’t feel too bad about not having a sticker on the bottom. I have had more than one machine where the sticker either couldn’t be read due to prolonged exposure to heat or the writing on it rubbed off due to friction.

Well, it boots with the old SSD! And it hasn’t BSODed yet. Now for the fun times of two years’ worth of patches.

I had a recent problem with that myself. Just blue screened all over the place. I replaced the drive, reinstalled window… real PIA. Everything I have says the drive was fine though, even though it wouldn’t boot. It’s like Windows got thrashed.

Well, it’s started BSODing with the new (ie old) drive too, so that’s that theory gone. Didn’t seem to have any issues until I tried upgrading to Windows 10 1909, so I might roll it back and see if it becomes stable again.

Might buy some memory and see if that does it, but to be honest with lockdown supposedly ending soon I’ve been eyeing a newer, lighter laptop I can use for work travel anyway, so maybe I should just do that. Very curious to see how this year’s G14 reviews. Or, hell, I could even get one of the ARM Macbooks, but I was hoping not to have to make a decision until the second gen.


Bought some new RAM, but it won’t even post with it in. So I’m back to the old sticks for now, hopefully reseating it will have done the trick. If not, I guess I’m going to have to try one stick at a time of the new memory.

If your’re lucky enough that the laptop has a second slot for a drive (for expansion purposes), might be interesting to try the drive in that.

So far it hasn’t blue screened since reseating the RAM, so I’m hoping it’s not the drive at all. I have had a few Chrome out of memory tab crashes, though, so I suspect the reprieve is temporary. But if it stays stable for the rest of the week, I’ll try swapping back in the SSD.

Well, it didn’t remain stable for much longer, so out with the old RAM, back in with (one stick of) the new. At least it boots this time.

So, now I’m back to my “original” SSD, the one I thought was dying, but with one stick of the new RAM. So far so good, and the other SSD was also stable for two days before I replaced it again… It even managed to update Windows to the latest feature update. If this stays stable, I’ll try to get both sticks working, but it’s not too much loss if I can’t. I don’t do much gaming on this machine since I built my new desktop, so 8GB is fine. Not sure I can be bothered to return the RAM for a new set after faffing about for so long.

Edit: added the second stick and for whatever reason it booted this time. Yay.

Well, great. Now my wifi adapter has died. The good news is I have a USB wifi adapter that I used to use on my desktop a long time ago. The bad news, other than lugging it around being a pain in the arse, is I stopped using it because it was flaking out.

Edit: And it seems whatever happened to my wifi adapter has also stopped Bluetooth from working properly, although it registers as OK in the device manager. Starting to look like I’m going to need a new laptop earlier than I thought.