Top-Tips to Spot a Failing Hard Drive
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If You Recognise the Signs of a Failing Hard Drive You May be Able to Limit Data Loss
A Hard Disk Drive is Essentially Made of FOUR Components:
- 1. Data stored in a magnetic layer coating the surface of disk platters
- 2. Disk platters spin at a precise and fixed speed, driven by a motor
- 3. Data is accessed / stored by read / write heads, ‘flying’ above the surface of the disk platters
- 4. An electronic disk controller controls the read / write heads and supplies power to the motor
There are numerous ‘physical’ causes of hard drive failure (as opposed to software related issues known as ‘logical' errors), including jolting or jarring leading to misalignment or uncontrollable ‘bouncing’ of the read / write heads, which can damage the magnetic layer coating the disk platters and destroy any stored data. Overheating, a power spike, firmware damage, component malfunction or physical damage can all cause the disk controller to fail and a failing electronic disk controller supplying excessive power may cause the motor windings to burn out.
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- Listen for strange sounds – commonly indicating mechanical failure
- Watch for frequent ‘hanging’ – commonly indicating electronic failure
- Take note if your computer is running very slowly – commonly indicating media failure
- Beware of the infamous ‘blue screen of death’ - this indicates a serious issue!
- Do not ignore missing or corrupted files - could be an early indicator of failure
- Take action - to minimise the risk of permanent data loss, seek expert advice ASAP!
NB: This is not an exhaustive list and combinations of different types of failure are also possible!