Don’t touch that Hard Drive!

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TV program managers used to say “Don’t touch that dial,” as they cut away to commercial ads. Let’s adapt that to “Don’t touch that Hard Drive.”

Hard drives store data when your computer is turned off, as well as when it is on. They are miracles of technology, and the physical tolerances are microscopic. The distance between the record/playback head and the platters is on the order of 50/1,000,000 of an inch. Moving a computer with a hard drive in it while the power to the drive is on, can scratch the platters, and cause data loss.

The pictures below show the exterior of a hard drive for a desktop or tower computer. Laptop hard drives are designed on the same principles, just smaller, about the size of the label on the first picture. The second photo is the interior of the hard drive. Note the smooth, shiny surface in the second picture. This drive was not damaged by being moved when the power was on.

Now, here is a different drive, just the interior, that shows severe damage to the metal platters where the data is stored. Note the concentric rings where the surface was scraped away. This data on this drive was completely unrecoverable.

Interior of a Damaged Hard Drive
Damaged Hard Drive

The lesson here: Do not move a computer that has a hard drive, while the power is on. There is another technology for data storage, Solid State Drive (SSD) that has no moving parts.

If you have a laptop or desktop/tower computer, contact Quick Connect Computer Services for an assessment of your situation.