How to Identify and Resolve Hard Drive Failures

Feb 13 2017

How to Identify and Resolve Hard Drive Failures

A computer’s hard drive houses the system’s data, so it is the place where all your documents, photographs, videos and audio files will live. Unfortunately, when a hard drive problem strikes, professional help can often be the safest bet for the retrieval of the data.

We are therefore looking at the three most common hard drive issues and outcomes many people experience every day.

An Undetected Drive

The hard drive might be receiving power but it may be unable to detect any data. If this is happening to your computer right now, we advise you avoid self-recovery guides and simply leave it up to the professionals.

The problem is probably due to a firmware issue, as it may have become corrupted or there could be a head issue affecting the detection of data. You may be able to upgrade the firmware, but this may be impossible if the hard drive continues to be undetected in the BIOS. Your only option will be to replace the hard drive altogether and hire the services of data recovery professionals in Dallas or another US city.

A Stalled Hard Drive

Another common problem could be that the hard drive has power and can be detected, but it stalls when operated. The most common issue for a stalled hard drive could be a degradation of the platter’s magnetic storage medium, which means there are various corrupt sections on the drive that are preventing an accurate data reading, so the drive will stall as it attempts to configure the information.

Fortunately, there are high-quality software options out there that can resolve the issue; however, it could potentially damage the recoverable data even further. If you want to preserve your documents, it is recommended to select a recovery program that allows you to skip the bad sectors within the magnetic storage medium, such as a software imager. This will be the best self-recovery option if you do not want to seek the services of a professional.

Mechanical Failures

If you hear a beeping sound coming from a hard drive when a computer is powered up, it is most likely caused by one of two mechanical failures: a motor spindle failure or a stiction.

One of the least common causes of the beeping sound is a motor spindle failure, but that doesn’t mean that it is not the problem affecting your computer. The issue usually takes place when the hard drive is dropped or hit with force, as this can result in the seizing of the motor spindle. If you remember dropping or hitting your computer, it is likely that this is the problem, so there are two recovery options: the seized motor spindle can be replaced or the platter can be removed to the surrogate drive. Either way, you are going to have to seek the help of a professional to fix the computer and access your data.

A stiction is the more common cause of a beeping hard drive. The noise will occur when the heads of a hard drive fail to return to centre of the ramp, so will remain over the platter when powered down, causing the head to become stuck in the magnetized platter. The hard drive is both intelligent and complex, so will prevent the mechanism’s function to protect damaging the platter heads, providing the data with the best chance of recovery. The beeping sound is therefore sent to alert the computer user of the hard drive failure. Unfortunately, there is nothing a computer user can do to fix the issue by themselves, as the hard drive heads may need to be replaced by a professional. So, if you want to avoid losing your data, ensure you back-up files as much as possible, and consult a professional to resolve a computer problem to avoid further damage to the drive.

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post and the author's views here do not necessarily reflect those of the blog owner.

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