Hard Drive Problems/SMART Hard DIsk Check Error


QUESTION: Are you familiar with this error?
Is says that a disk failure is imminent.
Could this message appear because I did not put the cooling mat on soon enough? Can an overheat trigger this error?
Is there a fairly easy way for me to check? I can't be without it right now.
I've had the laptop for about 18 months. The disk shouldn't be going bad this soon.
The system is backed up. If a loss occurs, I can do a factory reinstall and restore from the flash drive. O also hvae an emergency recover disk and a Norton boot disk.
Thank you for any help that you can provide.

ANSWER: Hi Lynn!

Yes, overheating can cause disk failures.  So can dropping the laptop (including bumps/bangs/vibration), disk over-use (not common, but possible), manufacturer defects (which pretty much covers all failures when environmental factors are ignored), and even using the laptop in high humidity (including taking it abruptly from cool/cold to warm temperatures) or dusty environments.

There is a saying about hard drives ... it is not a question of IF, but WHEN it fails ... drives (and fans) are the only components that have moving parts and is always in use, making them the most common part to fail.  

Even if the drive is not physically damaged, it can still fail after hours, days, weeks, or even years.  I have worked with thousands of drives in my career - I have seen drives arrive DOA (Dead On Arrival), I have seen them die within hours ... I also have drives that still work and pass diagnostics after 10 years.  Drives are very much a game of chance, and all you can do is be as prepared as possible by keeping a backup of your important data - which it sounds like you have done.

You are lucky ... you received the SMART warning of imminent failure before the disk actually completely failed, giving you time to make sure your data is saved and easily migrate to a new disk.

First, use this disk as little as possible until you get it replaced.  Go to TigerDirect.com or Newegg.com and order a new disk today.  Clone your existing disk to the new one, or do your restore to it, make sure everything is working, then toss your old one out.

Feel free to follow up with any additional questions you might have.

Good luck!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you so much for your prompt and thorough answer.
Could you point me towards info as to how to change the HD myself?
Is there one manufacturer that you can recommend? This one is a Toshiba. The laptop is a Compaq Presario CQ56.
Thanks again!!!

I prefer the company Seagate over Western Digital, but as far as drives go, there isn't going to be much difference in today's market ... prices are similar, technology is similar, features and performance is similar ... I would simply buy the one that has the storage space and speed that you want for the best price.

As for replacing the drive, it is usually a pretty simple thing, but I can't tell/show you exactly as there are many different CQ56 models:

Compaq Presario CQ56-100XX Notebook PC
Compaq Presario CQ56-104CA Notebook PC
Compaq Presario CQ56-109WM Notebook PC
Compaq Presario CQ56-110US Notebook PC
Compaq Presario CQ56-112NR Notebook PC
Compaq Presario CQ56-115DX Notebook PC
Compaq Presario CQ56-122NR Notebook PC
Compaq Presario CQ56-124CA Notebook PC
Compaq Presario CQ56-129NR Notebook PC
Compaq Presario CQ56-134CA Notebook PC
Compaq Presario CQ56-148CA Notebook PC
Compaq Presario CQ56-154CA Notebook PC
Compaq Presario CQ56-201NR Notebook PC
Compaq Presario CQ56-204CA Notebook PC
Compaq Presario CQ56-219WM Notebook PC
Compaq Presario CQ56-220CA Notebook PC
Compaq Presario CQ56-240CA Notebook PC
Compaq Presario CQ56z-200 CTO Notebook PC

You can go to http://support.compaq.com/ and type in your model and look through the manual for the replacement procedures for your particular system.  If you need further assistance finding a drive, finding the manual, or anything else, please feel free to contact me.

Hard Drive Problems

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I can answer questions about server hardware RAID and general storage for servers and PC's - hard drive issues, troubleshooting, advice, specs, and information. While some apparent drive/RAID array failures can be recovered, I can only provide advice/recommendations in the event of catastrophic data loss. I don't assist in actually recovering from this type of data loss on this forum.


I worked as an analyst in Dell server support for 2 years, and have since worked with many Dell PowerEdge servers. I am currently employed as IT Manager. I am currently ranked in the top 5 All-Time in Server Hardware and Hard Drives in a very popular and large forum similar to AllExperts.

I have a BS in Computer Science and have earned the following certifications: CompTIA Security+, A+, Project+; CIW Web Design, Database Specialist; Microsoft Windows 7; Dell DCSE Server. I am also an expert in Windows 7, Servers, and Hard Drives (I don't normally do XP - not because I don't know it inside and out, but because I have "retired" personal support for XP, and I want to see it die :)).

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