What Causes Hard Drive Firmware Failure?

A hard drive’s firmware is essential for it to run smoothly, and symptoms of hard drive firmware failure can vary based on a drive’s model or age.

The firmware is essentially the operating system of a hard drive, allowing it to operate correctly. Stored on the platter surface, a hard drive’s firmware needs to be immediately accessed when it is booted up. If it can’t access the firmware, it cannot boot. Without the firmware, a hard drive is essentially just a collection of mechanical parts, with nothing telling them what to do. Rebuilding a damaged firmware requires specialist skills and equipment and in the event of a hard drive’s firmware failing, you should get in touch with a professional data recovery specialist if you want your data retrieved.

While it can be difficult to diagnose hard drive firmware failure, there are a few symptoms to look out for, although it can be difficult to pinpoint firmware as the exact cause. If your drive is running slowly, perhaps with a clicking or tapping noise, this could be indicative of a firmware failure. You might notice that your hard drive’s performance is impacted too. A hard drive that is not recognised by a computer’s BIOS could also suggest motor failure. As mentioned above, the symptoms of hard drive firmware failure can vary based on manufacturer, model and age of the drive. Additionally, a clicking/tapping noise and a drive that intermittently spins up and down could suggest a head crash as much as a firmware failure. For this reason, a full data recovery diagnostic test is required to confirm that a hard drive has suffered from a motor failure.

Hard drive firmware failure can be caused by a number of things. Bugs in the firmware can stop it from working correctly, or physical damage to the platters can damage the firmware. A sudden circuit short of power supply failure can cause damage to a hard drive’s printed circuit board (PCB), where some of the hard drive’s firmware may be stored. The magnetic platters, where most modern hard drives store the bulk of the firmware, can also become physically damaged, in the event of a head crash or motor failure, for example.

Our data recovery technicians have extensive experience dealing with hard drives that have suffered from firmware failure. We’ll provide a free diagnostic report, and give you a no-obligation quote to repair your firmware and recover your data.

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