Hard Drive Repair After a Head Crash

A hard drive repair is necessary after a physical failure where the drive’s read-write head has impacted the magnetic platter, resulting in scratching to the surface laminate. This is a potentially catastrophically damaging situation.

Inside your hard disk drive, your data is stored on several circular platters that rotate around a spindle at incredibly high speeds – sometimes up to 15,000 RPM. Data is read from and written to the platter by read/write heads, which are on the tip of the actuator arm, which hovers a tiny distance above the platter. When a hard drive is dropped, knocked, or even slightly physically disturbed, it can lead to a head crash.

Even a small disturbance can cause the actuator arm and the read/write heads to drop by a fraction of a millimetre, and when in operation, the heads can crash onto the surface of the magnetic platter. Hard drives contained within desktop machine hardly ever suffer head crashes, as they are typically kept in one place and rarely moved. But hard drives in laptops, as well as external hard drives, can easily be knocked, dropped or bumped, causing a head crash. Our hard drive data recovery team inspects large number of external hard drives, as they are typically carried around with users.

A head crash can cause catastrophic damage and irreversible data loss to your hard drive, but they’re not as dangerous as they once were. Modern hard drives feature Active Hard Drive Protection (AHDP) systems, which are able to detect when a head crash is imminent and moving the read/write heads away from the platter. Despite this technology being utilised in most modern hard disk drives, a nasty fall or shock can still cause a head crash necessitating a repair to the hard drive if the data is to be recovered. Drives that have suffered a head crash can be identified by a clicking or ticking noise coming from within the chassis, and it may not be recognised by your computer or laptop. To repair the hard drive, donor parts will need to be sourced from another hard drive.