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Recovering from a Hard Drive Head Crash Is Tricky Business - How do we fix this problem?

Updated: Mar 9

Suppose someone hasn't created a website devoted to all the unusual, insane, and baffling ways that computer users have inadvertently damaged or destroyed their hard drives, they really should. The closest I could find was a blog post from several years ago that compiled a few truly staggering examples.

All kidding aside, physical damage to your computer's internal or external drives can render stored data inaccessible or permanently lost. Hard drives are fragile, and even slight trauma can damage internal parts. One of the most common causes of data loss from physical damage occurs as a result of a head crash. Call us today on 0424053510 OR book through ourfacef you are facing this problem.

What Is a Head Crash?

Head crashes are among the most challenging data recovery scenarios.

Severe physical damage to drive platters makes accessing the stored data in these sectors pa rticularly tricky. However, our data recovery engineers have a wide variety of custom tools and utilities at their disposal.

Mechanical hard drive heads scratching a deep groove on platter.
Crashed Heads Digging into Platter

T,he above image shows that the heads have cut a deep groove into the platter. This is usually a permanent data loss scenario that we cannot recover from.

In a normally functioning hard drive, the read/write head floats just above the spinning platter to access stored or written data. If the arm on which the read/write head sits gets too close to the platter, the heads will make contact or “c"ash" "as is visible in the image above). If you hear a grinding or clicking noise upon booting up your device, it is more than likely that the hard drive heads have crashed. This is now an emergency scenario if you wish to get your data back and you need to contact a data recovery service ASAP. Create Ticket now! PLEASE DO NOT ATTEMPT TO BOOT UP DRIVE OR POWER ON.

If your drive makes a clicking sound when you try to access it, this could indicate damage to the read/write head or the arm on which it sits.
The image shows the inside components of a mechanical hard drive, each labelled.
How a Hard Drive is Put Together

How Head Crashes Occur

The most common way for head crashes to occur is for your driver to sustain physical trauma. If you drop your external hard drive or laptop, the impact can force the read/write head against the platter. Impact damage can also break loose other small parts within the drive that could push the read/write head against the platter when the drive spins up.

Head crashes can also occur in a hard drive due to the natural wear over many years of use.

The quality of a hard drive often determines how long it will safely operate.

Hard drives are assembled in unique clean rooms that minimize dust or other particulates in the air. This is essential for keeping the internal parts of a hard drive as clean as possible. Even a small amount of particulate could cause damage to a new drive when you start using it.

What to Do if Your Drive Clicks or Grinds

You have no doubt been told before on numerous occasions, but the point bears repeating. Back up your data. Any damage to your drive, whether by physical trauma or logical error, could result in partial or complete data loss. Regular backups ensure you have copies of important documents or precious family photos and videos.

But if you hear the tell-tale clicking, buzzing or grinding:

  1. Immediately power down your device. Continued use will only cause more significant damage to the drive and increase the risk of data loss.

  2. If caught early, a head crash does not automatically mean losing the data stored on your drive.

How Wildfire Data Recovery Services Can Help

Wildfire Data Recovery Brisbane has helped customers salvage information from even the most compromised storage devices for over four years. If you experience a head crash, you can drop off your device at one of our more than 250 partner locations across North America and Australia. Or you can ship directly to one of our labs. CREATE BOOKING NOW!

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1 Comment

Madi John
Madi John
Nov 04, 2021

I love these resources, they’re life savers.

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