There are lots of things we take for granted in desktop computing thanks to the increasing reliability of hardware – that the PC will boot, that Internet connectivity will be there and that applications will be stable.

(Well, two out of three isn’t bad….)

But stuff happens sometimes and users want to know where to start troubleshooting.

That’s where knowing if your hard drive is still working can be a big help.

As Rick Broida writes, many PCs have an indicator light but often they’re not in places that users can easily see. He suggests a utility that puts a notification in Windows’ System Tray so it’s right in front of you.

Broida found Activity Indicator from SourceForge, but there are others like DriveGleam and HDD LED. Just make sure the utility works with both regular and solid state drives, as well as your operating system.