What Happens If I Drop My External Hard Drive?

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What Happens If I Drop My External Hard Drive?

If you rely on an external hard drive for important documents like photos or music, a drop can be devastating if the device becomes damaged and you cannot access your data.

After dropping an external drive, the first thing you should do is test it to ensure it still functions. Additionally, make sure any files on the drive that weren’t previously backed up are accessible again.

Damaged Disks

Dropping an external hard drive can damage it in several ways. It’s critical to inspect any damage since it could affect how the device functions and where your data resides.

First, you must identify the type and location of damage. If not, seek professional assistance from a certified data recovery expert.

Another way to identify damage is by inspecting how an external hard drive functions when plugged in. If it won’t turn on, chances are good that it has been compromised.

Many modern external hard drives come with an enclosure to safeguard their internal components from damage. These cases are typically constructed out of metal, plastic or rubber and designed for greater toughness than standard external hard drive enclosures – often used by people who perform tough jobs.

Even the toughest hard drives can be damaged if they come into contact with something that scratches their platters (discs coated in magnetic material). This damage will obstruct access to your data on the drive and may permanently delete it.

You might also hear strange noises when the disk spins up. These could indicate a damaged spindle or head failure.

If the data on your disk is still present, R-Studio can assist in recovering it. It does this by identifying and analyzing the contents of the drive without relying solely on its file system. This enables you to view and access your information in ways your operating system cannot. Afterward, you can restore it back onto your computer.

Damaged Read/Write Heads

Your hard drive’s read/write heads are the engine that powers every reading and writing operation on its platters, performing each operation with specific amounts of magnetic energy from each head. If one or more heads become damaged, it can impede how quickly others can do their jobs.

Heads on external hard drives are particularly delicate, vulnerable to failure due to impacts or other physical trauma. Dropping your external hard drive can be particularly problematic as the force of impact could cause one or more heads to become misaligned.

Sounds such as clicks or whirring can indicate that the hard drive has been damaged. If you hear any of these, immediately shut the device down and take it to a data recovery center for evaluation.

At Hard Drive Recovery Services, our engineers open each storage device to inspect and repair or replace delicate components like read/write heads in a cleanroom environment. This prevents the drive and its contents from exposure to contaminants that could destroy or damage your data.

Once the heads have been replaced on a drive, it can be used to retrieve your data. Unfortunately, this task requires extensive labor and requires expertise, experience, and the appropriate tools in order to be done correctly.

If your hard drive is clicking or beeping, it could be indicative of a damaged head. If the head is unable to perform its tasks properly, reading and writing to or from the disk will be impossible.

Damaged Platters

Nowadays, external hard drives are far more resistant to drops and knocks than their older counterparts were. Nonetheless, it’s still important to exercise caution when using them.

After any drop, it is essential to unplug the device as quickly as possible to avoid further physical or structural damage and irreversible data loss.

Another common issue we encounter is a spindle motor that’s not spinning correctly. This could occur if your drive’s power supply is defective or there’s an issue with its electronics.

A loud whirring sound may indicate that the lubricant in a fluid dynamic bearing has broken down and become “gummed up.”

When this occurs, the platters become unable to spin up properly and cannot read the data stored on them.

Your drive’s heads are just a fraction of a millimetre above the magnetic platters, meaning even minor knocks or bumps can lead to catastrophic head crashes.

Once a head collision into a platter, it can scratch away at the magnetic coating that stores data. If this coating is severely damaged, it could make retrieving your data much more challenging for an experienced professional.

Fortunately, head swaps are possible and often provide access to your data. But this type of repair requires the expertise of a data recovery technician.

If your device has been dropped, it’s always wise to contact a data recovery expert. Cherry Systems’ highly experienced engineers possess both the knowledge and skill set to recover your valuable data no matter what has transpired.

Damaged Motor

The motor that spins the hard drive’s platters is one of its most vulnerable components, susceptible to damage from drops, impact and even age. It must be protected against physical harm such as drops and vibrations to ensure its continued operation.

As a safety measure, external drives have an air cushion that keeps the read/write heads away from magnetic data storage platters when turned off. Unfortunately, this cushion can disappear when dropped, resulting in heads crashing into those same platters.

Another telltale sign of a failed hard drive is an audible grinding noise caused by its spindle motor seizing up. This indicates that no matter how much power is applied to it, it won’t be able to spin and thus become useless.

If you find yourself in this predicament, it is imperative to shut off your hard drive and contact a data recovery company right away. Doing so will enable engineers to take a look inside the device to assess what remains there.

It’s essential to realize that not all motor failures are created equal. Some can be fixed by moving the discs onto another chassis, while others necessitate extensive cleanroom work.

Repairing a drive’s read/write heads or burnishing the platters may involve replacing its read/write heads, fixing its spindle motor, or completely replacing its platters and chassis.

If you believe your drive has suffered from a motor failure, be sure to contact an experienced data recovery service provider immediately for assistance in recovering all of the data on it. They can offer the best solutions for retrieving your files. After all, don’t risk losing important information due to a drop!

Damaged Enclosure

Nowadays, most external hard drives come with an enclosure to safeguard their internal components from impacts. While these may be more durable than their standard counterparts, drops still pose a substantial risk and could result in data loss or drive failure.

Some people mistakenly assume they can fix a dropped hard drive on their own, but this is rarely recommended even if you possess some basic knowledge about electronics and devices. Opening up the drive may actually do more harm than good by damaging it beyond repair.

Dropping an external hard drive often leads to data loss and corruption due to deterioration of its enclosure, particularly if that enclosure is composed of plastic. A common type of enclosure for such drives is a case that sits atop them – this plastic case acts as protection from external shocks and vibrations.

If the enclosure of a drive survives impact but its internal parts are damaged, it will often make clicking noises. This indicates that platters, arms or heads have been compromised due to the drop.

Diagnosticing this problem is easy; simply look at the drive itself. If there are burns or scorch marks from impact, this indicates that the issue lies not with the drive itself but with the PC board that controls its operation (located beneath it).

Sometimes, the PC board that controls the hard drive may experience a power surge or component failure and stop working altogether. This repair is much cheaper than replacing the entire drive, and can often be completed quickly and efficiently.

Vlad Tabaranu
Vlad Tabaranu
Vlad Tabaranu is a highly experienced computer and laptop repair engineer with over 20 years of expertise in the IT industry. Vlad's dedication to top-quality IT services has earned him significant recognition. He has been ranked among the top 3 computer repair services in Birmingham since 2018. He's also been awarded the Corporate LiveWire's Birmingham Prestige Awards 2019 for Best in Independent Computer Repair Services and the Central England Prestige Awards 2021/2022 for Computer Repair Service of the Year.



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