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6 reasons why hard drives fail

Hard drives sometimes break down at the most inopportune of moments. Unsurprisingly, such breakdowns often cause headaches among afflicted users. As the famous adage goes, "prevention is the key". It is always better to prevent their failures than to have to attempt data recovery. But to prevent the cause, you first need to first know why they fail, and their accompanying symptoms. Hereíre six common reasons.

Electrical failure

The printed circuit board in a hard drive controls, coordinates and communicates the reading and writing of data between the computer and the hard disk. In laymanís term, it acts as the middleman. When power outages or spikes occur, the printed circuit board gets damaged, rendering data loss and crash.

Symptoms of electric failure include a clicking sound when the hard disk initialises; abnormal motor spinning; and absence of function even when the hard disk is powered.

Mechanical failure

Internal parts of a hard disk can, without warning, break down. The underlying reason: wear and tear over time. Look out for mechanical failures through symptoms like grinding sounds, a frozen read-write head and motor, and an odd music-like tone when you power the disk.

Logical failure

Any forms of non-physical failures fall under logical failure. They range from corrupted file systems to viruses and malwares, software bugs to accidental deletion and many other possible reasons.

Firmware failure

Within a hard disk is a software programme called firmware. Only disk manufacturers are able to access it for low-level disk testing and functions. The firmware allows them to ascertain the hard diskís functionality and health. The firmware has a code, with which the hard disk communicates with the computer. Such codes are commonly found on data platters and the printed circuit board. If the platters get damaged, the code is rendered useless. And the hard drive in question will be unusable even if it retains functional mechanical and electrical components.

Bad platter area

Commonly termed "bad sectors", this particular reason for hard disk failure is a medley of causes such as wear and tear of data platters, manufacturing flaws and tracking errors. This causes failure as data blocks or sectors within the hard disk cannot be read or written in operation.

Differing levels of bad sector severity exist. Think of them as tiers of difficulty for data recovery work. But various innovative and well-tested methods are available to ensure the best possible recovery work. Data recovery experts, in fact, will pursue the maximum data recovery yield, letting you recover most files.

Symptoms of bad platter area are aplenty, but you can look out for sluggish performance in a powered hard disk, or for inaccessible folders or files. Another symptom to which you can pay attention is constant cyclic redundancy error, which indicates some data is corrupted. This way, when you extract files, you will receive a CRC Error message.

Complex failure model

When a hard disk fails, it can be from a combination of different reasons. A mechanical failure such as a head crash can corrupt firmware code and wreak havoc on the logical file system. As a by-product of such failure modes, bad sectors will develop as well.

by: AdRC

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