Computers have become an integral part in the lives of most people. Used for everything from entertainment to work and education, these computers have to put in fair amount of work each day. It is no surprise then that after a while things can start to go wrong.

As daunting as it may be to think about potential hard drive failures the reality is that it can, and does happen. Understanding some of the common reasons for this failure can help you in your efforts to prevent it from happening or to rescue you’re your computer if it does happen.

Here are three of the most common reasons that hard drives fail:

1. Head Crash

There a certain types of hard drive failures that are considered to fairly straightforward, meaning someone who is a little computer savvy will be able to carry out repairs themselves. A head crash failure does not fall into this category.

When this happens the hard drive is unable to read/write data. Head crashes most commonly occur when the device is jarred or becomes contaminated with some sort of material. The head can also come into contact with the data plate (a crash), a problem which is generally accompanied by a scraping sound or repeated clicking sound.

A head crash does not signal the end of the world. You may still be able to rescue your hard drive, but you are likely to require some professional help. Depending on the nature of the crash you may need to manually reset the head or replace it altogether. Whatever the case you are likely to need special software, expert training, and a contaminant free room.

 

2. Stuck Spindle

The spindle’s function within a hard drive is a very important one. Traditional hard drives have multiple platters and it is the spindles job to spin these in place while giving enough room for the read/write arms to reach the data held on the disks.

If the spindle becomes stuck, the whole operation comes to a standstill. If your hard drive starts to emit a noticeable whining sound this is good indication that the spindle has indeed become stuck. There are all manner of myths and home remedies available to you including putting it into a freezer overnight. These are all great if you want to put your hard drive at even more risk.

As with the head crash failure, you will probably be better off seeking professional help. A stuck spindle is only part of the worry because this can lead to damaged data platters which means not only losing your hard drive entirely, but all your data too.

3. Electronic Damage

There are a number of different problems that can lead to electronic hard drive damage. The most common of these issues are as a result of problems with the external enclosure which houses the hard drive or your computers power supply.

Component failures are not generally influenced by any external power source, the problem usually lies within component itself or the circuit board. The motor controller chip is one component that commonly causes electronic failure. This often burns out and prevents the drive from spinning.

Some clues that your computer is experiencing electronic failure include visual burning signs to hard drive components, failing to power up or spin, and the disappearance the usual hum that generally accompanies a healthy hard drive.

This is not the end

Hard drive failure is not necessarily the end of your computer. In many cases the disk can be repaired to good working order or the data can be recovered and transferred to another hard drive.

The important thing is to recognise the signs early and seek professional help as soon as possible to prevent the devastatingly permanent damage that we all live in fear of.

Featured images:
  •  License: Image author owned
  •  License: Image author owned

By Nick Davison

Guildford Data Recovery are part of the Easy Recovery group, one of the UK’s leading authorities in Data Recovery. For more great articles about data management and storage options, check out our blog.

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