Hard drives wouldn’t be able operate if it weren’t for their read/write heads. These assemblies allow the drive to read and store information, and they operate incredibly close to the data-storing platters of the drive.
If your hard drive heads stop functioning, you’re facing a head crash–and unfortunately, that means lost data. Here’s a look at a few things that could cause hard drive heads to fail.
Hitting Your Hard Drive – Unfortunately, hitting a hard drive won’t make it work, and in fact, it’ll usually have the opposite effect. Hard drives are very fragile, and the heads are the most fragile components of all. Hitting the hard drive has a good chance of smacking the heads into the platters. As you might imagine, this isn’t good: instant data loss will occur, and you probably won’t be able to access any data on the drive.
Too Much Vibration – As mentioned above, hard drive heads operate very close to the platters of a hard drive, and vibration can offset them. Vibration can come from the computer itself, so make sure that the computer’s stabilized. Avoid running heavy cycling appliances next to a computer–although really, if you’re keeping your computer on top of your refrigerator or air conditioner, you’ve probably got bigger problems than failed read/write heads.
Electrical Problems – A power surge could cause your hard drive heads to fail. Always keep your hard drive on a surge protector. No exceptions!
You should also get an APC that can power your computer for a little while in the event of a storm. This will give you time to shut it down properly. Suddenly shutting a hard drive down is a bad idea, and can lead to a hard drive head crash fairly quickly.
Heat And Cold – Heat and cold can have a major effect on hard drive heads, as they can cause a hard drive to expand and retract. After all, a hard drive is mainly made of metals and plastics, and it’s very important to keep a hard drive running at room temperature.
Heat is usually more dangerous to hard drive heads than cold. To keep your hard drive properly cooled, make sure there’s plenty of space between the back of your desktop computer and walls or cabinets, as it needs to expel built up heat through its fan. If you have a laptop, make sure that the laptop’s able to get rid of its heat. Consider buying a bigger computer fan, if you think that you’d be able to install one. As for the cold, all you need to do is keep your computer running in a room temperature room to avoid damage.
Do you know of any other causes of hard drive head failure? Post in our comments section below.