What is a hard drive head crash? (Video)

02 May 2019 by Michael Nuncic

With this hard drive head crash video, we continue our blog article series that brings essential knowledge about data recovery topics and helps users be safe from data loss.

This video explains what a  head crash is in regards to hard disc drives and what results out of it.

If you experience a hard drive head crash, do not try to recover the data yourself. Do not turn on your hard drive as you will most likely do more damage to the device and the data. Contact a data recovery specialist like Ontrack. 



Video transcript 

Hi, it's Mikey at Ontrack. One of the most common problems we see here with regards to traditional hard drives is what's called a head crash. Now a head crash is when a hard drive, which by the way it looks like one of these is a type of physical damage to the drive which actually renders your data completely inaccessible unless you have the right tools and expertise.

You know if your hard drive has suffered from a head crash because you won't be able to turn your computer on and you're gonna hear usually some kind of weird noise like a clicking or a grinding noise a little bit like this.

Enough talking let's actually go into the clean room here at Ontrack and show you what head crashing actually is.

So if you couldn't tell by the computer noises and the fans whirring we are in one of Ontrack's clean rooms and today we're going to be taking you through exactly how a head crash happens on a hard drive. As we mentioned earlier a hard drive head crash is a type of physical failure on a mechanical hard drive where the read/write heads of the hard drive crashed down onto the platter surface, which is rotating inside the hard drive. Now what that means is it causes permanent damage to the platter surface of your drive, which destroys the data in the process it doesn't, however, mean in all cases that all of your data is gone. 

To give you an idea of what a head crash actually looks like we're first going to show you what a hard drive looks like when there's nothing wrong with it at all. So you can see on this one the magnetic platter surface is the reflective bit that you can see there and now there's nothing wrong with that you can see it just looks like a mirror so that is what a normal one would look like but when there's been a head crash and we'll show you what actually looks like so you can see on this drive that there are these rings going around the platter surface and that is when because the platters are rotating that's when the head has actually crashed down onto the surface and then it causes those rings around the platter.

 So that's it from the clean room. If you suspect that your drive has suffered a head crash is best to give us a call for some further advice on what to do next.