How to Determine If a Laptop Hard Drive Is Bad

by Gwen Wark

A hard disk failure can be catastrophic if it jeopardizes the data stored on your computer. In addition to rendering a laptop inoperable, a failed hard disk can damage other files stored on the drive as well. It is critical to determine whether an actual drive failure has taken place, and there are several steps to troubleshoot a drive before hard disk failure can be declared.

Unplug any devices such as printers, speakers, cameras and other external peripherals. Boot the laptop by pressing the power key.

If this does not result in a successful boot, try booting Windows in "Safe Mode." Reboot the computer, and hold down the F8 key. From the menu choices, choose "Boot Windows in Safe Mode". If the boot up progresses, then the computer is likely experiencing a software issue, not a hard drive failure.

Reset the hard drive. This will involve turning off laptop (removing the battery is a good move, too) opening the laptop unit, and unplugging all connections and cables from the hard drive.

If possible, replace the hard drive with another drive. This will help determine if the hard drive is causing the problem.

Plug all connections back in to the hard drive, and reboot the computer. Repeat Step 2 if necessary. If the computer does not reboot, the laptop is more than likely experiencing a hard drive failure and will probably have to be repaired by vendor.


  • close Opening your laptop may void its warranty. Do not attempt to open a laptop case until it is unplugged and the battery has been removed.

About the Author

Gwen Wark is a freelance writer working from London, Dublin, and New York. She has been a published writer since 1998 with works appearing in both university and local publications. Her current writing projects include SEO, web copy, print and advertising features. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in history from Rutgers University.

More Articles