There are few things as terrifying as the dreaded "click of death" from a hard drive. That's if you KNOW what a hard drive is, and what the sound means!
It's all of your data, contacts, pictures, programs and files....gone. Possibly unrecoverable.
All hard drives (even SSD's) are prone to eventual failure. This can simply be data corruption due to sector errors or the full-blown "click of death" as described above.
The solution to the issue (let's not get into RAID drive setups) is BACKUP! By this, I mean MORE THAN ONE way in which your drive's data is copied and protected. Here are some options:
(1)Use a USB connected external drive to back up your data. These often come with backup software included. Ideally, this should be done every week and the drive then stored OFF SITE (fancy a fire, flood or quake destroying your external drive?).
(2)The above, coupled with some sort of CLOUD BASED backup system. For example, Macs have iCloud, which is free up to a point, then starts to cost you as you need more drive space. There are other options for PC users.
(3)Both the above, with some sort of NAS (Network Attached Storage) device set up to regularly back up your files. This is better than the USB system alone, as it's often not convenient to attach the USB drive and you sort of forget to do it for a few weeks....
Everybody realises the need for backup - usually after they have lost precious data, photos and files. Don't let it happen to you!
Here are the some of the signs of upcoming hard drive failure: Irregular clicking or other new noises from the drive. (listen for the regular, normal noises, so you can spot the odd ones when they happen). Long periods of drive "seeking" for basic tasks. Getting a "SMART" alert when you boot up the machine. SMART needs to be enabled in your CMOS settings for this to work, but it's a good indicator. (look this up online if you don't know how to do this.)
It's essential that you don't ignore signs like this - back up your data as soon as possible! Even putting it on CD is better than nothing, but with HDD storage so cheap these days, you should invest in a portable external drive....and USE IT. Have some Cloud Storage as well (backup drives can also fail...)