Hard Drive Motor Failure and Data Recovery

If your hard drive is making a beeping or chattering noise, or has stopped spinning altogether, the spindle motor could have failed.

What is a hard drive motor?
Modern hard disk drives typically spin at thousands of revolutions per minute, normally somewhere in the range of 5400 or 7200 RPM for standard drives or 15,000 RPM for enterprise-class hard drives. The spindle motor is the component that allows the hard drive’s platters to spin at such high speeds. Located on the underside of a mechanical hard disk drive, the spindle motor is essential for the drive’s functionality. No spindle motor, no reading or writing data. So, if it has stopped spinning or is showing signs of damage – you should power down your hard drive and seek a professional data recovery specialist. Motor failures are one of the most common physical faults our hard drive recovery team see.

What are the causes of hard drive motor failure?
The spindle motor – like all components that make up a hard drive – is incredibly fragile. Probably the most common cause of motor failure our hard drive recovery team see is due to physical trauma like accidental drops. If a hard drive is dropped or knocked aggressively while it is running, the read/write heads can clamp down onto the platters, preventing them from spinning. Old age or general wear and tear can cause the spindle motor to fail, too; like most mechanical devices, hard drives don’t last forever. The spindle motor in a hard drive rests on top of ball bearings, which are lubricated, and this can dry out over time. The subsequent friction can cause the motor due to burn out. Excessive heat or humidity can also cause the lubricated ball bearings to fail. Although hard drives are sealed very tightly, they do have a small breathing hole to make sure the pressure is the same inside the drive as it is outside. This small hole can, over many years, allow contaminants to enter the hard drive’s chassis, again compromising the spindle motor’s lubricated ball bearings.

Is data recovery possible following a motor failure?
A motor failure can be diagnosed simply by listening to the hard drive. If there is beeping, chattering or grinding noise, this could be indicative of a failed motor. In this instance, do not try and fix the problem yourself – DIY data recovery can often make the problem even worse, and potentially cause your data to be lost forever. Instead, you should consult a professional data recovery specialist. Our data recovery library contains over 14,000 parts, and our hard drive recovery team are experienced with dealing with motor failures.

Hard Drive Motor Failure