How to Fix a Hard Disk Error on Boot

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A hard disk error on boot can be a frustrating experience for computer users. It can cause your computer to crash or fail to start up, which can lead to lost data and lost productivity. However, there are ways to fix this issue and get your computer up and running again. In this article, we will discuss the common causes of hard disk errors on boot and provide detailed steps to fix them.

What Causes Hard Disk Errors on Boot?

A hard disk error on boot can be caused by a variety of reasons, including:

Bad Sectors

The hard disk is divided into sectors, and if one or more of these sectors become damaged, a hard disk error can be caused. Physical damage to the hard disk or a software issue can cause bad sectors.

Corrupted Boot Sector

The first sector on a hard disk is called the boot sector, and it holds crucial information necessary for the computer to start up. If the boot sector becomes corrupted, the computer may not be able to start up properly.

Outdated or Corrupted Drivers

Drivers are software programs that allow your computer to communicate with its hardware components, including the hard disk. Outdated or corrupted drivers can cause hard disk errors on boot.

Virus or Malware Infection

A virus or malware infection can cause a hard disk error on boot by corrupting important system files or damaging the hard disk.

How to Fix a Hard Disk Error on Boot

Method 1: Check and Repair Bad Sectors

Checking and repairing bad sectors is the first step to fixing a hard disk error on boot. Follow the steps below:

  1. Press the Windows key + X and select Command Prompt (Admin).
  2. In the command prompt, type “chkdsk C: /f /r /x” (replace C with the drive letter of the affected hard disk) and press Enter.
  3. Wait for the process to complete. This may take several minutes or even hours, depending on the size of your hard disk.
  4. Restart your computer and check if it has resolved the hard disk error on boot.

Method 2: Rebuild the Boot Sector

If you encounter a hard disk error on boot, you can fix it by rebuilding the corrupted boot sector. Follow the steps below:

  1. Insert your Windows installation disc or USB drive and boot from it.
  2. Select your language preferences and click Next.
  3. Click on Repair your computer.
  4. Select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Command Prompt.
  5. In the command prompt, type “bootrec /fixboot” and press Enter.
  6. Wait for the process to complete and restart your computer.

Method 3: Update or Reinstall the Drivers

Outdated or corrupted drivers can cause hard disk errors on boot. You can update or reinstall drivers to fix this issue. Follow the steps below:

  1. Press the Windows key + X and select Device Manager.
  2. Expand the category of the device that you want to update or reinstall the driver for.
  3. Right-click on the device and select Update driver or Uninstall device.
  4. If you choose to update the driver, follow the on-screen instructions. If you uninstall the device, restarting your computer will automatically reinstall the driver.

Method 4: Remove Virus or Malware Infection

To fix the issue of hard disk error on boot caused by a virus or malware infection, you need to remove the infection. Follow the steps below:

  1. Boot your computer into Safe Mode with Networking. Press F8 repeatedly when your computer is starting up.
  2. Download and install reputable antivirus software.
  3. Run a full system scan and remove any detected viruses or malware.
  4. Restart your computer and verify if it has resolved the hard disk error on boot.

Some Windows users have recently complained of seeing the following error message at system boot, “SMART Failure Predicted on Hard Disk” with the name and ID of the hard drive. Though the users can proceed to system boot, there’s a chance the hard drive may fail. So, you should adhere to these solutions and find a fix for the issue. There are many possible causes that may have caused this problem, including overheating, shock, non-defragmented drive, etc.

Workarounds –

1. Force-restart the system. You can do it by press-holding the power key for a few seconds. If this is a glitch, a system reboot may fix it.

2. The first thing to boot into the system is by pressing the F1 key. This way, you can carry on to the system drive.

If you can get to your system, don’t forget to create a backup of the affected drive. In case, you don’t which drive is causing this issue, follow the next steps.

Force-boot into Safe Mode –

If you can’t boot into Windows normally due to the Smart Failure error message, again and again, you can use these steps to get there –

1. Shut down the system.

2. Then, power it ON. When the screen starts to show the manufacturer’s logo, force-shutdown the system by pressing down the power key.

3. Next, start up the machine once more.

Repeat this start-force shutdown-start operation or two-three times more and let the system restart it will go to the Recovery Environment.

4. Once it boots up in RE mode, tap “Advanced options“.

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5. Next, click on the “Troubleshoot” menu.

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7. On the Advanced options page, tap “Startup Settings” to open the complete list of options.

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8. Now, just click “Restart” to restart the system.

9. Your system restarts after this. You may see various startup settings on the next screen.

10. Here, press the F4 to use the “Enable Safe Mode” option.

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This way, you can easily reach Safe Mode.

How to specify the affected drive

If you are using a single SSD or HDD, you can skip this step. But, if the affected system has multiple HDDs or SSDs, you can follow these steps to identify the affected drive.

1. Note down the HDD ID number which shows up with the Smart Failure error message.

2. Now, boot your computer in normal mode or Safe Mode.

3. When you reach the desktop screen, right-tap the Windows icon and tap “Disk Management” to open that.

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4. Now, you will notice all the drives on the Disk Management page.

5. Right-tap the first hard disk/SSD and tap “Properties“.

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6. Here, if you go to the “General” tab, you can see the name of the disk there.

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If this wasn’t the disk, try to check other disks as well.

This way, you can identify the epicenter of the issue.

Table of Contents

Fix 1 – Copy the data

S.M.A.R.T error is a sign that your hard drive is failing. So, without wasting any more time, you should copy the data from the affected drive to another HDD.

1. Switch off the system. Make sure to detach it from the power source.

2. Then, carefully remove the cabinet and unplug the HDD from the HDD enclosure.

3. Now, you can put the HDD into a USB HDD Enclosure and plug it into another machine, or, if you have a PC, connect the HDD to the motherboard directly using one of the empty slots.

4. Now, copy the data from the affected drive to a fresh, good drive.

This way, even if the hard disk gets corrupted, you’ll have the backup to save your skin.

Fix 2 – Defragment the drive

Defragmenting the drive where you have faced this problem should help you resolve the problem.

You can do this in normal mode. But, if the system doesn’t boot up properly, you can boot into Safe Mode and then retry the fixes.

1. Open File Explorer. You can easily get there by pressing the Win key and the E keys together.

2. Now, head on to “This PC“.

3. Next, right-tap any partition of the affected drive and click “Properties“.

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4. Now, visit the “Tools” section.

5. Here, you will see the Optimize and defragment drive section. Just tap “Optimize” to optimize the drive.

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This will open the Optimize Drives window.

6. There, select the drive and tap “Optimize” to defragment the drive.

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After this, close all the windows and restart the system. You won’t see the Smart Failure error message again.

Fix 3 – Check and fix errors in the drive

If a sector is bad or corrupt, you can run the drive-checking tool to scan and repair the drive.

1. You have to open the File Explorer window and go straight to “This PC” on the left-hand tab.

2. Now, right-trap the drive and tap “Properties“.

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3. If you go to “Tools“, you will find the Error checking tab.

4. There, tap “Check” to start scanning the drive.

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Let Windows scan the drive.

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When it is complete, reboot the system.

You won’t face the issue again.

Fix 4 – Test the system files with SFC code

This can be the fault of the system file which you can solve with the SFC scan. The System File Checker scan can take care of any faults in the system files.

1. You can click on the “Search” option and begin to type “command“.

2. When you see the “Command Prompt“, right-tap it and tap “Run as administrator“.

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3. Now, input the SFC command to run the SFC scan consecutively.sfc /scannow

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You can track the progression of the scan from the “Verification 5% complete” message. Wait till the scan progression reaches 100% complete level.

In the end, you will notice the following message –Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files and successfully repaired them.

Close the CMD window. Then, you must restart your computer.

You won’t see the error message again.


What should I do if the hard disk error on boot persists after trying the methods above?

If the hard disk error during boot-up continues to persist despite attempting the aforementioned methods, it is possible that your hard disk is physically damaged and needs replacement. You should seek help from a professional computer technician for further assistance.

Can I prevent hard disk errors on boot?

Yes, You can avoid hard disk errors during boot-up by consistently maintaining your computer and ensuring that your drivers and software are up-to-date. It is also recommended to frequently scan for viruses and malware to prevent any potential infections that could result in hard disk errors.

Will fixing a hard disk error on boot delete my data?

In most instances, repairing a hard disk error during boot-up will not erase your data. Nonetheless, it is still advisable to routinely back up your crucial information to avoid any potential data loss.


A hard disk error on boot can be a frustrating experience, but it is not the end of the world. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can fix the issue and get your computer up and running again. Remember to regularly maintain your computer and keep your drivers and software up to date to prevent hard disk errors on boot from happening in the first place.

Meet Rebeca Winters, a tech writer with a passion for exploring emerging technologies. With a background in software development and a keen eye for detail, she delivers insightful and informative content that inspires readers to stay ahead of the curve.

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