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Hey guys, I just wanted to talk to you about computer hard drives and how they can go bad. Basically, a hard drive is where your computer stores all your programs and data.

[Working Hard Drive]

Here I have a working hard drive that I took the lid of off. Now hard drives are sealed for a reason. If you get any dust or dirt in here it will compromise the integrity of the drive.  So don’t be doing this at home with your hard drives.



The first thing you will see in the drive is this big shiny round disk called a platter. This is where all are your data is stored. All your pictures, email and documents are store here.



In the center is the spindle and motor that rotates the platters between 5000 and 10000 rpms depending on the drive.


[Control Arm]

Over here we have the controller Arm with the read/write head attached at the very end.  As the platter spins the arm will move across writing and reading your data to the platter. The read/write head floats about 3 millionths of an inch above the platter. The distance is so small that a practical of smoke or dust or human hair could render the hard drive unstable.  

[Circuit board]

On the outside of the drive is a circuit board that controls the logic. Basically, tells all the mechanical parts, platter, arm and spindle what to do.

As you can see that a computer hard drive is very fragile mechanical device with multiple points of failure. If any one of these major components fail the hard drive will no longer function.  We have a saying in the computer business. It’s not if you hard drive will fail. It’s when your hard drive will fail. Just because your hard drive is new does not mean it can’t fail.


[Bad Hard Drive]

Here I have a computer hard drive that is bad. The read/write head has impacted the platter to the point that it was total grounded off. Basically, it was turned into dust. You can see the groves in the platter left behind by the head. Any data that was here in the center is gone. Data on the outside may be recoverable. The average data recovery charge to pull data from a bad drives at RAM Technologies runs between $65 and $150. To get any data off this drive would be in excess of $1000. This is an extreme example. Just a note, you only pay if we recover your data. If we cannot get your data there is no charge.  


I hope this video gives you an idea on how a hard drive works and with that knowledge can see how easily they can fail. Remember it’s not if your drive will fail, its when. External storage devices are really cheap. If you have any questions about backing up your data do not hesitate to call.

RAM Technologies, servicing Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls and Altoona with all their computer needs

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