Hard disk drives use magnetism to store data. They contain magnetic disks on which the data is written for storage. Data is written on the platter by changing the magnetic properties on its surface. When it comes to the hard disk drive, and any media of data storage, there is a looming dread of losing data due to some unexpected events. Information is a core part of our personal and social lives and when it comes to business; it is everything.
Data loss is a big threat to people and institutions because you can lose information gathered over long periods of time in an instant. The process of data recovery is a heinous operation; taking up a lot of time and money. The data recovered may be incomplete or damaged during the process while some files may be irrecoverable. To avoid this eventuality, it is important you understand the causes of HDD data loss. With this knowledge, you can prevent or handle such occurrences.
Causes of HDD data loss: How it happens
The HDD relies heavily on moving parts: the read and writes heads, the disk platter itself and the motor. Normally, the head does not come into contact with the disk during reading or writing. They are separated by a small space. Data loss can occur if the head scratches the surface of the disk. This can be caused by sudden vibrations and accumulation of dust particles. Data recovery becomes difficult. Other problems can be; failed motor and spindle, but these are rarely dangerous.
The weak magnetic force due to age
Since HDD use magnetism to store data, a reduction in the magnetic force in the drive can lead to data loss. Magnets are known to lose their power over time at a speculated rate of 1% each year. Therefore, in about fifty years the magnetic field strength of the HDD will be about half. The HDD, which stores data in pockets called sectors, is unable to get the trackers for the sectors. This will make it difficult to read any information from the platter. The data contained there may be damaged or corrupted.
Interference in the magnetic field
The HDD magnetic field can be disrupted by putting an object with its own magnetic field near the drive. This may interfere with the disk reading and writing process. The field around the HDD will change in relation to the magnetic field near it. Exposure to very high temperatures and electric currents may also cause data loss by disrupting the HDD magnetism.
The host computer communicates to the hard disk drive through the HDD firmware. This is a series of codes found in the hard drive that tells the computer when the hard disk is ready and relay execute any read and write commands from the host computer. It may be corrupted from updates rendering data inaccessible or corrupt.
Another cause of HDD data loss is failed electronic parts such as the controller chip. These can result from high humidity, natural disasters, liquid spillage and power surges among others. Computer viruses may also target software, and specific data formats to corrupt or erase them.