This morning I went to turn on a family member's laptop to find the SMART message displaying that the laptop's hard disk is close to failure and needs replacing.

The laptop is around 2 years old now and I have now backed everything up just in case of this 'imminent' failure.

I ran the HDTune programme to test the amount of damaged blocks there are in the hard disk.

This resulted in 24/2500 blocks (1%)

To me, (someone who doesn't know a great deal about computer hardware) this doesn't seem like a very large amount and I am not entirely sure where to go from here.

Shall I just suggest to immediately buy a new hard drive for the laptop as this one will just keep on deteriorating?

Or, as everything is now backed up, keep on using the laptop until the inevitable happens which could be; days, weeks or months, as this laptop isn't really used for anything majorly important?

Thanks in advance,


  • 1
    If you don't want to lose the info and the programs, change now.
    – Xavierjazz
    Oct 23, 2012 at 14:25
  • Now might be a good idea to decide if you want to do a nice clean installation on a new disk (no cruft, usually faster), or make a clone of the old disk before it fails).
    – Hennes
    Oct 23, 2012 at 16:39

1 Answer 1


Well, the disk will fail soon.

If all data is backed up, you can "wait for the inevitable" failure.

If you use that laptop for important things, replace the disk now, if you can remain for a few days without it... wait until the disk stops working..

EDIT: please note that you can't reinstall an Operating system on that disk because the installation usually check for SMART errors

  • It was the amount of damaged blocks that was my main concern. So it is safe to say that it is definitely on its way out then and will gradually get worse, not just stay at 1% damage?
    – JD87
    Oct 23, 2012 at 14:37
  • Yes. Once a drive reports any damage, assume it is going to very quickly get worse, and hope it lasts long enough to get a full backup. Once a drive loses it's ability to keep my data safe, the only trust I put into it is that it'll make a lovely smash with a sledgehammer :) Oct 23, 2012 at 14:48
  • I know of no operating system that checks SMART errors before installing. I know its not true for Windows 7 because I had no problem installing Windows 8 on my failing drive.
    – Ramhound
    Oct 23, 2012 at 16:24
  • windows 7 cannot be installed on a failing drive
    – AndreaCi
    Oct 24, 2012 at 7:45

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