- Mechanical failure of the drive caused by being dropped, bumped while in use, or manufacturer defect.
- Data corruption or directory damage caused by forgetting to eject disks before removing them (unplugging or powering them down), computer crashes, viruses, power loss, or plain bad luck.
- Accidental deletion of files by emptying the trash, reformatting the hard drive, or reinstalling the operating system.
- Environmental disasters like fires, floods, power surges, or extreme heat & humidity.
By datvat on May 23, 2012
Hard drives are incredible feats of engineering. When they were first invented fifty years ago, they were the size of a refrigerator. Now they can be the size of your thumb, and hold more data than that fridge-sized drive did. Twenty years ago you only had a few term papers on your hard drive, but now you have your email, your photos, your music and much more. It’s one very concentrated point of potential failure. Inside every hard drive are one or more platters (usually glass) coated with magnetic material. The platter is spinning at 4,200 to 10,000 RPM. There are tiny read/write “heads” floating over the platter on delicate arms. The distance from head to platter is less than the breadth of a human hair. If the head accidentally touches the platter, it acts like a snowplow, scraping the magnetic material and your data off the platter. Forever. That’s just one way they can fail. The most common causes of data loss are:
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