2 Ways to Fix Hard Disk Failure is Imminent in Windows 11, 10, 7

What does hard disk failure imminent mean? Is the drive really dying? What should I do? Do I need a new disk at this point? Scroll down to get clear ideas and minimize your data loss.


by Delia Updated on October 18, 2022

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User case: hard disk failure is imminent please backup

If you have ever searched "hard disk failure is imminent" on the internet, you may find there are many related topics. Now, let's have a closer look at this issue.

When starting my computer, I sometimes get a message, saying, ‘Hard disk failure is imminent. Please back up your hard disk and have it replaced.  Press F10 for Setup.  F2 to continue.’
The first time I got this screen it clicked on F2, Windows opened and all seemed fine. But now my computer run into the same issues: A black screen with same message, but the F2 key is not working when I click on it.
Is the drive really dying? But I don’t have a backup for my hard disk yet. What can I do to save this situation or am I just out of luck? Any assistance will be appreciated, thanks.

- Question from Answers.microsoft

Hard Disk Failure Is Imminent

Introduction of hard disk failure imminent and SMART

“Hard disk failure is imminent” error is a common issue reported by SMART in different computers, such as, HP, ASUS, Lenovo, etc. It’s also called “SMART failure predicted on hard disk", “SMART check Failure”, “SMART Hard Drive detects imminent failure”, etc.

SMART, Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology, is a firmware that resides into most modern hard disks (HDD) and solid-state drives (SSD), which can continuously keep track of hard disk condition such as health, performance and error rates. In addition, it still has a technology known as predictive failure analyst that can report the problems to system when your hard disk is in trouble. 

So, when hard disk detects imminent failure, you may receive one of the above error messages according to your computer and its motherboard.

What does hard drive failure imminent mean?

When your computer says hard disk failure imminent, it means your hard drive right now is not yet dead, but will be sooner or later. It's just a matter of time. It could be in 1 hour, could be in a week. Who knows?

And A SMART hard drive failure may come out for many different factors such as bad sectors, higher temperature, physical damage like hardware failure and firmware corruption, virus, power issues, etc. So far, there is no reliable way to prevent.

So, you need to follow the prompts to backup your hard disk and have it replaced. Otherwise, in the future, you may loss some of your important files, or your entire dive may stop working completely.

Can you fix hard disk failure imminent?

Hard disk failure is a fact that many of us have experienced, and not with fond memories. As the SMART tell you: "Please backup your hard disk and have it replaced!" It's the sure-fire way to get rid of this issue.

Also, this problem may be caused by a software or fireware error, which can be fixed by disk check utility in Windows 7, 8, 10, 11.

*There is possibility that you have a bad hard drive driver controller or cables. You can first test with different cables or on a different computer. If this is not the problem, then try the following:

Solution 1: Make a backup in case of hard disk failure imminent 

To minimize data loss in case of hard disk failure imminent, the most secure way is to do as suggests - backup your hard disk and have it replaced. Now, all you need is to find a trust and reliable backup software. Here I recommend you AOMEI Backupper Standard

This software is very easy to use, even for beginners, thanks to its clear interface, user friendly design and fixed steps, so you can backup hard drive or data to external hard drives, networked drives, NAS devices, USB flash drives easily and quickly. Meanwhile, it still offers you some features that can bring you convenience.

Compatibility: It works with any computer running Windows 11, 10, 8.1/8, 7, Vista, XP.
Full disk backup: You can back up the entire hard drive, or back up OS, partitions, files as you like.
Backup options: Encrypt backup sensitive data, compress image file, split large backup into smaller ones.
Backup mode: The default intelligent sector mode helps you back up only used sectors to save storage space.

You can download and install the freeware to proceed:

Download FreewareWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Backup your hard disk and have it replaced

Then, connect the prepared disk and fix “smart hard disk error imminent failure” with the following steps.

1. Launch the main interface, select "Backup" -> "Disk Backup" as shown below. To backup only important files, click “File Backup” instead.

Disk Backup

2. Click “Add Disk”, then select the disk with SMART hard disk failure imminent and click “OK” to exit.

Add Disk

3. Click where the arrow point and select the prepared storage device, such as, external hard drive, USB flash drive, network drive or NAS as storage device. Then, click "Start Backup".

Start Backup

 You can configure disk backup settings by clicking "Options", and select compress level, intelligent sector backup, etc. 
• Also, it is highly recommended to schedule backup hard disk via “Schedule”. Because you cannot predict the time of hard disk failure. You can choose daily, weekly, monthly, incremental or differential backup. (Differential backup is supported by Professional edition).

4. After the process 100% ends, you can restore the disk image to another hard disk and boot from it.

Just connect the new hard disk to the computer, open this backup and restore software, click “Restore” and “Select Image File” to find the image file, tick “Restore the entire disk ”, then select the connected hard disk as destination and click “Start Restore”.

Select Image File

Solution 2: Fix hard disk failure is imminent using disk check utility

Disk Check utility is a built-in tool for Windows that can scan & fix hard drive errors, bad sectors, file system errors. Please note that the steps are  a little difference in different operating system.

Here, I'll take Windows 10 as an example to show you how to fix hard drive failure is imminent in HP/Dell/Notebook and Lenovo Thinkpad. If you are using Windows 7 or 8, you can search detailed steps online.

1. Open Computer or This PC, then right-click the disk with hard drive failure imminent and select Properties from the context menu.

2. Click the Tools tab and Check option subsequently, then tap on Scan Drive to continue. Just wait and it will repair the erro it found. If not, it will show you details.


Note: If you are familiar with command prompt, you can open command prompt window and type chkdsk /f/r and hit Enter.


Backing up hard disk regularly is the best practice to prevent hard disk failure is imminent and other disk error in Windows 7/8/10.  If you don't want to lose any of your important data on a disk, please backup your disk with schedule backup settings. It reduces the trouble of manually backup, and ensures the modified files and recently installed programs are backed up.

Once the hard disk eventually failed, you can replace it with a new hard drive and perform disk restore. If you encounter "hard disk imminent failure won't boot", you can create a bootable media on other working computers first, use it to boot the computer into WinPE and perform system restore.

Delia · Editor
Delia owns extensive experience in writing technology-related blog posts, and has been a part of AOMEI since 2020 to provide expertise in data security and disaster recovery. She works with Windows operating systems, SQL databases, and virtualization platforms such as VMware and Hyper-V, specializing in troubleshooting and advising on data protection and migration.