Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Intermittent hard drive failure is not a good sign. First, backup, and then we'll go through some steps to get it fixed.

My laptop fell off my lap and onto its side. At the time of the crash, I heard a clicking noise and quickly turned off my computer. Now the computer works fine, except I cannot do a defrag and if I leave my computer unattended, it will come back to a blank screen that says, "No Operating System Found." This is annoying and my laptop is under warranty. Would you suggest replacing the hard drive?

In this excerpt from Answercast #36, I look at a dropped computer that is showing signs of hard drive damage... First, back up!

Replace the hard drive

It definitely sounds like the hard drive was damaged in this case.

Depending on the computer manufacturer's benevolence (I guess you'd say), this isn't the kind of thing normally covered under warranty, but you might want to get in touch with the computer manufacturer to see if they can help you by doing something with respect to the warranty on this machine.

  • It's possible that there may be more going on here than just the hard drive.

That being said, if left to my own devices, without trying to deal with a warranty at all, I would absolutely...


A) Back that computer up immediately, because it's clearly on the brink of failure. It really is; back it up!

B) And then I would go ahead and replace the hard drive.

I'd probably take the opportunity to replace it with a slightly larger one; just because they're usually cheaper by the time you have had the computer for a few months.

I would replace the hard drive, and then I would replace the contents of the hard drive by restoring the backup that I just took.

So, definitely sounds like a hard drive problem – absolutely:

  • See if you can get the manufacturer to help you with that;

  • But otherwise, the first thing that I would do would be to replace the hard drive.

Next from Answercast 36 – Can I leave a laptop running all the time?

Article C5598 - July 18, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

July 20, 2012 11:18 AM

The only problem with just changing the hard drive is that there may be other components in the laptop that are damaged but only come to light much later.

Most people probably wouldn't condone this but if your laptop's still under warranty, just take it back and show them the fault (obviously don't tell them you dropped it).

July 20, 2012 11:23 AM

Another issue with changing the hard drive yourself while it's under warranty is that if it does later develop a fault and you take it back to the store, they may claim that it was in connection with you changing the drive and that you've voided the warranty so they refuse to do anything.

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