Understanding Hard Drive Physical Failure

A physical recovery is necessary when the storage media device has experienced physical damage to its internal parts. In order to achieve a successful recovery, those damaged internal parts would need to be replaced inside of a clean room in order to temporarily repair the hard drive and extract the data.
The most common cause of data loss is physical media damage, whereby the hard disk drive receives a physical shock causing the head to hit the platter or damage one of the moving parts. This condition will not always cause a failure straight away but the condition of the platter and internal parts will probably deteriorate and eventually, the failure will occur. This can potentially cause the most damage if a laptop or mobile device is dropped at the same time the HDD is reading or writing data.

How Did This Happen?

Physical failure – the most severe type, involves mechanical or electronic failure of the drive itself. Most physical problems are the result of damaged disk due to abuse, wear, and excessive write operations. Other damage occurs to the electronic controller card attached to the drive.
Hard drive physical failure can be a result of a manufacturer’s defect, a physical impact such as a device being dropped or bumped while it is running, or fire and water damage. It is important to know that all electronic devices are made to fail eventually, so it’s not always something that can be prevented. The damaged chips or components manifest problems such as bad track, scratches on platters, motor seizure, head crash, burnt PCBA and other malfunctioning components.

How do I know if my Hard Drive has Physical Damage?

Common symptoms Include:

  • Disk is recognized by system but cannot be read normally
  • Disk cannot be detected via operating system
  • Disk cannot respond to system commands
  • Disk freezes due to bad sectors
  • Hard drive makes a “clicking” sound like “tick tack”
  • Hard drive makes a buzzing sound when trying to start up
  • Hard drive motor fails to spin up or has trouble spinning

What Should I do if I think my Hard Drive is Physically Damaged?

First, you should STOP using your media immediately if you sense any internal damage to your hard drive. The more you use the hard drive, the more damage you can inflict. The chances of recovery become slimmer the more damaged the hard drive is. Next, you should call TTR Data Recovery for a free consultation and price quote. We will eagerly answer any questions you may have about the failure of your device and also about our process for dealing with physically damaged hard drives. It is extremely vital that you choose a data recovery company with a clean room on site. A hard drive can only be opened inside of a clean room to ensure complete protection from outside contamination. If a hard drive is opened outside of a clean room, then the drive will become unrecoverable and there is nothing that can be done after that.
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