I bought my PC two years ago. One week ago my system failed to boot. I just asked my friends and they said it may have been a virus attack, but two days later I recognized my hard disk was not booting. Luckily, I have a replacement warranty.

Symptoms and Problems

  • While I am playing games, my system automatically goes to a black screen and it makes some noise like "dur dur". It has happened many times.
  • One day my friend borrowed my HDD to test his system. After that, all the problems started.
  • I have the habit sleeping in between watching a movie in my room, so my PC will automatically shut down with out my attention.
  • I have never worried about viruses.

What could have damaged my hard disk? Can a virus kill a hard disk?

I can't claim again for failure, so I'd like to fix this myself.

5 Answers 5


None of those things can harm a drive. On one hand, drives do die cause its their time - drive lifetimes usually follow a bell curve - it just happens no matter how carefully you coddle your drive.

On the other hand, if the drive had been mishandled, dropped or had something else nasty happen to it - power surges, or sudden shutdowns, there can be physical damage.

Finally, bad things can happen to data, and different OSes have different modes of failure.

Generally a 'dead' drive won't show up in bios. A slightly dead drive might still have enough life in it to croak out why its dying - though SMART - you can use gsmartctl for a graphical interface to it. If its FS corruption 'only' it should show up in windows or linux - in windows under the disk management snap in, and in linux as a device.

With the first (dead) and second (slightly dead), there's not much you can do. viruses, and software related issues,would, at most,cause the third.

  • I would argue that while viruses won't be a direct cause of a hard disk failure, you could write one that constantly moves the write head back and fourth rapidly, drastically reducing the drive's lifespan. Jul 7, 2011 at 10:31
  • 1
    oldschool viruses, maybe. modern ones are somewhat less harmful. They DO need the computers active for teh botnetz! (note, spelling intentional)
    – Journeyman Geek
    Jul 7, 2011 at 11:47

"What are the reasons for failure Hard Disc Drive"

Sometimes it just happens. The manufacturing process is not perfect for any computer component, and sometimes, you just get bad drive, even right out of the box. Usually in a case like that, it is electronic in nature, but in your case, since you have had it for a while, it sounds physical. Electronic problems, especially as time goes by, are usually related to inconsistent power...spikes in power and brown outs, either of which is not particularly good for a drive.

Typically, when a person has a physical problem, it is also due to power. This often leads to what was called a "head crash", which when the computer lost power, the heads often hit the platters causing physical damage. I actually thought that most modern drives had addressed this problem, but not according to the following article, although some have. Any Superuser users' comments regarding this would be welcome. Of course, sometimes people drop or bump drive, especially in laptops. This can also render a drive unusable.


The the best of my knowledge, a virus cannot physically harm a drive. I have had viruses that just could not be found, but I knew were hidden in the boot sector areas, and could only be removed by a low-level format (a utility that writes all zeros to the drive), and then doing a standard format, but no physical damage. For those who know more than me about disks, I realize that if I knew more about disk editing, I could have done that instead, but editing it directly was not an option for me.


"One day my friend borrowed my HDD to test his system. After that, all the problems started."

That sounds relevant to me. If your friend dropped it or did any sort of physical harm to it, that could very well explain your problems. Hard drives are fragile and can break pretty easily. I wouldn't bother trying to make your friend confess. It happens.


As the other answers already mention, it sometimes just happens.

The drive spinning up and down often can reduce its lifetime drastically. This happens when your PC shuts down, although it's unlikely that this by itself is the reason for your problem. However, extreme power saving settings can also trigger unnecessary spin downs, inevitably followed by a spin up when something needs to be read. If your hard disk shuts down after 5 or 10 minutes of inactivity, I would recommend increasing the threshold.

If your hard disk is running hot inside your PC case, that can also reduce its lifetime.

Apart from that, the obvious things like physical shock, power surges and the like can damage the drive. It seems likely that something happened to your disk during transport or installation to/at your friend's place.

Viruses typically do not damage drives, though it is theoretically possible to render it inoperable (by flashing it for example), or to shorten its lifespan by stressing it. Highly unlikely.


Have you tried to pull the drive and see if it will mount on another system?

If you plug in the power to the drive and put your ear to the drive, you should be able to hear it spin up. If you hear clicking noises (instead of a smooth spin up) then you know the drive is pretty much done for.

  • Yes I try to connect my hdd on another pc as slave(secondary),But it doesn't show any drivers
    – Gowri
    Jul 7, 2011 at 5:50
  • Check the Computer Manager while plugged in as a slave. You may have the drive letter already taken by an existing device on this machine. You should see all drives in the Drive Management.
    – kobaltz
    Jul 7, 2011 at 6:08

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