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Head crash is a physical defect of a disk drive that causes its read/write heads to stop working. It may be caused by various reasons, such as excessive vibration, material (e.g. dust) blocking the head from hitting the platter, or an issue with either the read/write head or actuator arm itself.
Desktop computers rarely experience head crashes due to not being moved often, but portable hard drives can be easily knocked around or dropped – in these cases, a head crash could occur.
When your computer reads or writes data, it sends an electrical signal across a tiny section of hard drive known as the platter. This platter is covered in specialized magnetic coating and contains small areas with stored values known as “0s” and “1s.” Some of these 0s change to 1s while others remain unchanged.
To write data onto a platter, a mechanical arm moves backwards and forwards over its surface. Attached to this arm are two read/write heads that read and write data respectively.
These two pieces of hardware make up the drive’s actuator arm, and they are responsible for performing various important tasks such as moving the magnetic coating on the platter to create different sectors on the drive.
From time to time, the heads of storage devices with rotating magnetic platters may come into contact with their rotating heads and cause damage to their coating. This is an unfortunately common occurrence that can happen on any storage device with a magnetic platter.
When your head strikes the spinning platter of a hard drive, it can gouge out a small portion of its platinum alloy coating – which stores your data. This coating is essential to the functioning of your hard drive and may pose an enormous obstacle during data recovery efforts.
A head-platter collision has also created a dust cloud that cannot be recovered with simple scrub and burnishing. These challenges require the expertise and equipment of a professional laboratory for repair. To avoid such issues, keep your hard drive dry by regularly backing up all important information.
Damaged Read/Write Heads
When your hard drive’s read/write heads malfunction, it can be a serious issue. These delicate parts may be affected by anything from a failed spindle motor to physical damage.
As previously discussed, these tiny read/write heads are responsible for reading and writing data to the hard drive’s platters. Each one is stacked in a stack and constantly darts across them at speeds ranging from 7200 RPM for consumer-grade drives up to 12000 RPM for enterprise-grade drives.
These spinning surfaces are constantly in motion, so it’s no shock that they’re often subject to physical stress and damage. If the heads come into contact with the platters due to mishandling or get caught between dust and dirt as the drive’s motor spins, it could cause them to crash and destroy any data stored on those platters.
However, most of the time data can be recovered from a head crash. Thankfully, modern hard drives use safeguards to avoid this from happening.
When the head assembly of a hard drive fails, it usually moves to a safe space (known as a landing zone). This helps prevent the hard drive’s heads from making contact with platters and damaging their magnetic coating.
When this occurs, faulty read/write heads must be replaced with functional ones taken from a donor hard drive. This process is similar to transplanting organs; it requires an experienced hand, the right tools, and an uncontaminated environment in order for the transplantation to be successful.
In most cases, we are able to replace the damaged head assembly with one from a donor drive. With our library of over one hundred thousand donor hard disk drives, we rarely need to wait long before finding an appropriate donor drive.
Changeing a head assembly can be an intricate and time-consuming task, so it’s essential to find an experienced hard drive recovery service with all necessary tools and expertise. Furthermore, to prevent contamination during replacement, the heads must be placed in either a class 100 cleanroom or laminar flow cabinet – making this task delicate yet expensive at SpaceRecovery.
Head crashes are most often caused by physical damage, but some can also be due to electronic malfunction. When read/write heads make contact with rotating platters, they may scrape their surface and permanently damage magnetic media that stores your data.
Signs that your drive has experienced a head crash are clicking or grinding noises when trying to access stored data. This is an alarming situation and should be addressed immediately by an expert in order to retrieve all relevant information from your computer.
If your PC was equipped with a built-in backup, retrieving the data saved before it crashed is an easy option. Macs have Time Machine, while Windows systems offer an accessibility tool which allows for accessing older versions of files.
In a crash that causes permanent damage to your hard drive’s platters, the integrated circuits (ICs) on those platters may also be damaged or destroyed. These ICs allow your hard drive to store and read information stored on its platters.
When your integrated circuits (ICs) become damaged, it can be challenging to determine the source of the issue. In some cases, they may even be irreparably damaged; therefore, you must have precise technical data regarding where exactly in the IC the failure occurred before engaging in successful troubleshooting with a certified expert.
That is why having a backup before beginning data recovery on your integrated circuits (ICs) is so important. Furthermore, having an experienced data recovery specialist handle any problems with the ICs would be wise as they are best equipped to handle any crash and can restore data from even severely damaged ICs.
When you suspect your ICs need repair, the most important step to take is to find a specialist. However, having some knowledge about how to fix ICs yourself can also prove beneficial; this way, you can determine if your issue is simple enough for self-help or requires calling in an expert for assistance.
Hard drive head crashes are a serious issue that can result in data loss. These crashes occur when the read/write heads on your drive impact against the platter where your files reside, stripping away any protective coating on its magnetic surface.
When a head crash occurs, it can be extremely challenging to recover your data since there is no memory of what occurred before the incident. However, if you have backup copies of your files, there is hope that they can be recovered from a damaged drive.
Secure Data Recovery Services’ data recovery specialists possess years of expertise in recovering lost or deleted files from hard drives with head crash issues. They utilize specialized equipment to access and retrieve your files from a head crashed drive.
Most often, engineers can salvage most of your essential data through advanced recovery techniques and tools. This includes recognizing and fixing any electronics damage, reconstructing the logical file structure, creating a full image of your hard drive or cloning it to another device.
For a more thorough and reliable data recovery solution, we suggest scheduling a free consultation with one of our highly-experienced engineers. They can inspect your device and give you an honest assessment of the best solutions to get you back up and running quickly.
Therefore, it’s always wise to turn off your device and consult an engineer if you suspect that your media storage device has been damaged due to a head crash. Doing this will prevent further harm from occurring and make it simpler to identify components most susceptible to damage in such an event. Furthermore, making sure all of your data is backed up before anything serious occurs will help guarantee peace of mind in case anything does go awry.