Need opinions. Is my hard drive failing?

Hey All.

I'm new to computer hardware repair and while I am fairly sure that my hard drive is failing, I would like some other opinions.

Right now, I'm running a Dell Inspiron 15R N5010 with Windows 7 64bit. It's a little over two years old but I use it pretty heavily. (Not gaming, but constantly internet usages, chats, graphics and video making programs, things of that nature.) Now, with that said... I have been battling with it heavily for at least two months now and for minimally for ten prior to that. These are some of the issues that I have been having over the last two months:

- Having to reinstall the OS due to freezing and lagging issues as well as slow startups and freezing during start ups. This has happened multiple times, sometimes within days of the last.

- Issues of it now wanting to let me reinstall the OS.

- Noticeable issues with copying files and windows explorer. (I try to copy certain files to my external hard drive and it will freeze. Especially when I am copying multiple files at once.)

- Slow start ups and shut downs.

I thought it had completely failed on me about a week ago because it would not load windows at all (it had been freezing at the windows logo,) nor allow me to reinstall the OS (I had just done it a couple of days before.) But, after doing some research...I changed the BIOS settings from AHCI to ATA and it let me reinstall without an issue. It seems to have been working fine until tonight. I tried to open up one of my graphics making problems and it gave me an error saying that the application could not be started correctly. It does that on programs like AIM, OpenOffice, and Photoscape, but Firefox (though slow to open) and Pidgin worked fine.

The last time or two that I ran diagnostics, it gave me an error on the hard drive. I've run chkdisk and it did not give me any errors that I noticed. (It has before, but this time, it did not.) sfc /scannow says that Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files but was unable to fix some of them.

Sound I just bite the bullet and give into my tech side geek out on NewEgg?
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More about need opinions hard drive failing
  1. It doesn't sound like a hdd error in the first place. I think the corrupted files are the result of the freezes. It could be a ram error, but first check your temps. Download speedfan from here and keep an eye on the cpu temp while working. By the way: did you update your bios?
  2. Since I changed the BIOS setting from AHCI to ATA, there hasn't really been a lot of freezing. Once earlier tonight was about all. Up until this point, everything that I have researched has led me to predict hard drive failure. I tried a system restore and it failed due to a cyclic redundancy data error. I wasn't aware that I needed to update my BIOS.
  3. By the way, I also redownloaded and installed two of the programs that are not working and they still don't work after the reinstall.
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