the fan has been making a lot of abnormal noises like it's sick. Could this be a sign of hard drive failure?
No, probably not. The case fan or CPU fan has nothing to do with the hard drive. It may be that a bearing on the one of those fans is failing, so it is vibrating and making the loud sound. The fan may have to be replaced which is a minor matter.
backed up my essential files on my external drive.
Very, very smart move!
started to move most of my remaining files to my external drive. I am having difficult with some of them though
If I may make a respectful suggestion, you may want to consider Macrium Reflect (free edition) as a backup tool. Not only will you have the relief of not dealing with administrator privileges, but it will create a complete partition image of your entire hard drive, including all data and system files, and will enable you to make a complete restore to your hard drive OR a new hard drive (in case of a HDD failure) so that you do not have to mess with Microsoft in the event of HDD failure and loss of your operating system with your key number; in addition, you can access every image you create at any time and retrieve data directly off of the backup file.
Is there any way to check the current health of my hard drive?
Yes there is, and it's easy to do. Download Seatools for Windows (free) from:
When the download completes, double-click on the file and the installer will launch. When the install is done (very quick) click the "Finish" button. There will be a shortcut icon on your desktop. Close all open, running programs and click on the shortcut; accept the EULA screen and the tester will launch.
> The opening screen lists all the HDD disks in your computer, which in your case is only one.
> Put a checkmark in the box to the extreme left of your HDD entry (just click in the box).
> Four columns to the right is the header, "Drive". Under that is the text string, "Ready To Test". This is where the action will be.
> At the top you will see the header, "Basic Tests" with a green checkmark. Click on it.
> You will run two (2) tests, "S.M.A.R.T. Check", and "Long Generic". Simply click first on SMART Check and let it complete, then click on Long Generic and let it complete. Do not run any other tests or features.
> As each test runs, you will see the green progress bar advance. When each test completes, you will get either "Pass" or "Fail". Post back with the results of each of those two tests.
Be sure to have your hard drive directly installed internally to the motherboard, not in an external case.
Let us know how it goes.