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I have a 500GB hard drive that is about 3 years old. I've used it for video editing and it's been on and spinning for almost the full 3 years solid, with an occasional weekend shutdown every few months.

Just today, I'm able to open the hard drive folder and see the contents, but when I double click on any of the folders it freezes and hangs the OS. The only way to get out of it is to restart Windows Explorer.

Is this a sign that my hard drive is going bad?

I'm on Windows 7 x64 Ultimate.

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Not necessarily. The behavior you are describing might actually be caused by a number of different troubles and thus more information would be required to make a better assessment. However, you can check your drive health using a program like HDDScan – plco Apr 14 '11 at 15:34
If it is an important storage drive, replace it with a new one, its 3 years old and been running 24/7, don't take chances or waste time. I hope you have your important data on more than one physical hard drive also. – Moab Apr 14 '11 at 16:03
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Try running CHKDSK with a surface scan:

  1. In My Computer, right-click on the drive in question and select Properties.
  2. Under the Tools tab, select Check now... (You may get a UAC prompt; select Yes or enter your password if so.)
  3. Check the Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors checkbox.
  4. Click the Start button. If Windows states that the disk is in use, select Schedule disk check and restart the computer; the system will check the disk in text mode before the desktop loads. Note that the surface scan may take several hours to complete.

If the disk check finds any bad sectors, the drive needs to be replaced. Your problem could also be caused by a damaged directory structure; CHKDSK will find any such errors and attempt to fix them.

You can also use CrystalDiskInfo to check the hard disk status under Windows; if the program shows any problems with the drive's health, such as a high reallocated sector count, it needs to be replaced.

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