Understanding How A Hard Drive Works: A Useful Guide For Users!

How does a hard drive work guide - Learn the function, main parts, and how to maintain a healthy hard disk drive. A useful guide for daily PC and laptop users!

Table Of Content
Understanding A Hard Drive: A Useful Guide For Users!

Understanding hard disk drive Functionality will give us vital information so that we can take good care of our device! 

It doesn’t hurt to learn a thing or two about HDDs. 

So before looking for a professional hard drive data recovery service to fix your Hard Disk, and recover your important data, let’s dive into the untapped world of hard disc drives!

FACT: More and more people encounter data loss problems sooner or later -This is why the data recovery industry is starting to receive a higher demand. 

TTR Data Recovery alone faces at least 70,000 data loss cases in just one year. Those are the estimated cases in the areas we cover but you can only imagine how much total data loss cases there are across the USA.

Out of the thousands of people who experience data loss, a big percentage of that are people who mishandled and damaged their own devices. 

HDDs are what stores most of your data so the slightest bit of damage can already bring you a wide range of issues. Understanding hard drive recovery  and its function is key to keeping your amount of data safe and secure! 

How Does A Hard Drive Work [infographics] | Ttr Data Recovery

Here are some of the benefits one gets from knowing how hard drive recovery functions:

Infographics About Hard Drive System

In this article I’m going to explain to you the hard drive device, it’s main parts and function and more.

Here’s an infographics to help you visualize:

Understanding Your Hard Drive And It's Function

What Is A Hard Drive? Understanding Your Hard Drive And It's Function | Ttr Data Recovery

Hard disk drive are devices that work with the other components in your computer or server to facilitate the storage and retrieval of data.

HDDs employ magnetic fields to represent information. These fields retain their previous states when they’re not actively being maintained, so modern hard drives can recall data even after being unused for some time.

RAM, flash memory and other forms of data storage represent data in the form of electrical charges, with certain levels of charge designating those 1s and 0s you’ve heard so much about.

When these circuits lose power, they also lose whatever information they held.

While parts like your motherboard, CPU, RAM and USB bus all play important roles in manipulating information and moving it around, they don’t retain anything permanently.

Dissecting Parts Of A Hard Disk Drive| Ttr Data Recovery

Everyone uses computers, but surprisingly few understand how computer devices work, how a hard drive work, and their most essential components.

Even in the face of constant new development, HDD remain the overwhelming standard in consumer and business data storage technology. 

Understanding a modern hard drive system isn’t just useful to computer enthusiasts and network admins.

Such knowledge is helpful to anyone who wants to maintain control over their mission-critical data or recover it after a data loss.

The Parts In A Hard Drive?

What Are The Parts In A Hard Drive | Ttr Data Recovery

To learn the hard drive working system as easy as possible, we have to further into the parts of a HDD!

Here’s a list of the parts of a hard drive with illustration right after the list:

Hard drives nowadays come in many shapes and sizes. But the essential parts and function of a modern hard drive are still present, no matter the device it is in.

Hard Drive - It's Function, Parts and Principles

How Does A Hard Drive Work It's Function, Parts And Principles | Ttr Data Recovery

Hard disk drive are also known as hard disk drives because the platters they employ are disc-shaped. Each platter is coated in a special thin film of magnetic material whose field can be flipped when an external magnetic field is applied. This film is further divided into separate segments that each store a single bit of data

This is similar to what happens when you bring a magnet near a piece of iron. The iron will pick up a slight magnetic orientation as its field is realigned by the magnet’s field. In the case of a hard drive, the read-write head mounted on the moving read-write arm applies the field to write a bit.

It can also read the orientation of a previously-written bit’s field to retrieve data.

Hard Drive Swivelling Arms | Ttr Data Recovery

How does a swiveling arm reach all the areas on a round disc to fill it with information?

The platters spin in place at high speeds that are well upwards of 4,500 rotations per minute. This permits the arm’s read and write data heads to access different parts of the platter and perform operations extremely rapidly.

Of course, hard disk drive aren’t just platters, arms, actuators and high-speed motors. All this specialized hardware requires precise control circuitry that not only maintains the operation of the hard disk but also ensures that data gets transferred to other parts of the computer correctly.

Numerous Kinds Of Hard Drive Problems | Ttr Data Recovery

As you might expect, such complex systems also have the potential for numerous kinds of hard drive problems. At TTR Data Recovery, we keep up with hard drive technology so that we can help you bounce back from faults no matter which parts of your drives they impact. Learn more by visiting us online or checking out our resources.

Using Magnetism To Store Information

Using Magnetism To Store Information | Ttr Data Recovery

Hard disk basically use magnetism to store your data – A thin film inside the hard disk drive is made from a ferromagnetic material and it is being magnetized. The magnetization transitions are what make the data in the hard disk drive readable.

The magnetization direction changes and this is what you consider as the binary data bits. Encoding schemes like run-length limited encoding get to encode the data of a user. This later decided how the magnetic transitions will represent the data.

Even before computers got so high-tech, they were already able to make use of magnetic storage. Some of the forms of magnetic storage computers from back then used were the core memory, thin-film memory, magnetic drum, and bubble memory. For the secondary storage of old computers, they apparently made use of magnetic tape. 

Hard Drive Speed And It's Importance?

What Is Hard Drive Speed And Why Is It Important | Ttr Data Recovery

The average spin speed of the common hard drive that is used by consumers is estimated to be at 5,400 rpm or 7,200 rpm.

Computers or laptops that promise high performance usually have hard drives with an impressive spin speed of 15,000 rpm. Portable devices who are efficient with the energy it consumes usually have hard drive that have a spin speed of 4,200 rpm.

Why hard drive speed is important:

Those who frequently deal with huge files and complicated applications should choose hard drive with the 7,200 rpm spin speed. It may not seem like a big deal at first, but the spin speed can really allow you to get things done after.

It’s good to know about the spin speed because customers aren’t usually educated about it when they ask employees at tech stores how a HDD works.

Just like your Wi-Fi, you also have to care about the speed of your hard drive. Hard drives vary in their rotations per minute or spin speed. Your computer will basically be able to locate a file faster if your hard drive has a faster spin speed.

Choosing Between Internal or External Hard Drives

Internal hard drives are what most people have been used to using over the years. Unfortunately, the internal hard drives that come with our laptops or desktop computers sometimes don’t have enough space for what we plan to store

This is why external hard drives are becoming quite popular these days. The thing is, this two types of hard drives are not that different from each other. Find out why our external hard drive recovery service is trusted by many.

Internal Hard Drives

Internal Hard Drives | Ttr Data Recovery

Internal hard drives are basically the hard drive that are already built inside your desktop computer or laptop. All the work being done by the hard drive is all inside your device.

How to know if the hard drive works or is damaged?

There are tell-tale signs of a hard drive failure like a hard drive clicking sound. But you would really have to open up your CPU or laptop and examine the hard drive itself. Although, only licensed technicians like the ones we have at TTR Data Recovery should be doing the dirty work for you!

External Hard Drives

External Hard Drives | Ttr Data Recovery

It’s very easy to figure out how an external hard drive works because it’s basically just like an internal hard drive. The only difference is the external hard drive isn’t inside your computer or laptop. External hard drives are so portable that you can actually treat it as if it were a USB flash drive.

Even if internal hard drives are removable, it can’t be just plugged easily to other devices like an external hard drive. The external hard drive connects to any computer by using a FireWire or USB cable. External hard drives come in handy when you need to transfer huge files from one device to another.

Which Type Of Hard Drive Should You Get?

If you are still wondering which to go for, the reality is that you should actually get both types of hard drives. When you buy a new computer or laptop, there will probably be an internal hard drive that’s already built-in. You should use the internal hard drive as the main storage unit for all your files.

So why should you still get an external hard drive?

External hard drives come in handy when you need to backup your computer data. There is also no assurance that your internal hard drive will be enough for all the files you will be storing. The external hard drive will basically be like your additional storage space.

Why You Need To Backup Your Hard Drive's Data Files All The Time

Why You Need To Backup Your Hard Drive's Data Files All The Time | Ttr Data Recovery

Hard drives are often your helping hand in storing important files you may need for school or work. While hard drives are built to last for decades, problems can really arise at the most unexpected times. Your hard drive encountering problems can lead to you losing hours and hours of hard work. 

TIP: If you need with any hard drive recovery, call our hard drive data recovery experts near you!

Saving a backup is always something tech experts will recommend to you. Even if you mastered how a hard disk drive works, everything you learned will be put to waste if you forget about learning how to backup files. The easiest way to backup files is to use an external hard drive.

External hard drives vary in storage capacity but a lot of them are more than 1TB already these days. For backing up your computer, it is recommended that you get an external drive that is twice the capacity of the current internal hard drive you have. This basically makes sure that you can really duplicate everything that you have currently stored.

Backing Up Your Files Is Actually Very Easy | Ttr Data Recovery

What some of you might not have known is that backing up your files is actually very easy. In most Windows and MacOS computers and laptops, all you need to do is just plug in your external hard drive. Once your external hard drive is plugged in, the computer or laptop will automatically ask you if you want the hard drive to be used as your computer’s backup.

During the whole backup process, you shouldn’t interrupt it or shut off your computer. Backing up your computer is not just a one-time thing because you have to be doing it regularly. It is recommended that you backup your files every single day just to be extra prepared. Next time you have a hard drive or computer problem that causes you to lose data, you will be glad to have a backup on your external hard drive that is up-to-date.

The Difference Between Hard Drives and SSDs

The Difference Between Hard Drives And Ssds | Ttr Data Recovery

Technology in our world today is always evolving. While hard drives were a revolutionary invention, it was really inevitable that something better would be created. This is where SSDs step in!


An SSD or solid state drive is the more modern option people have when it comes to storage devices. SSDs store data through memory that is basically integrated circuit assemblies. When you ask an expert to describe how a hard drive work, you will discover that hard drives use spinning magnetic platters. SSDs, the other hand, make use of flash memory chips.

There are just some of the benefits of using SSDs:

Because SSDs are changing the game, many of the modern computers use SSDs instead of hard drives already. If you are an Apple user, you would notice that the latest MacBook Pros all use SSDs already. SSDs also decreases the overall chances you will experience any data loss. Check out our expert SSD recovery service today!

What’s The Difference Between HDD and SSD?

What's The Difference Between Hdd And Ssd | Ttr Data Recovery

For those who are looking for more technical differences between the two kinds of drives, here is what you need to know:

Without even knowing exactly how a hard drive works, the numbers you see above can already show you that an SSD is better. The only catch is that SSDs are more expensive than HDDs. State Drives prices were very high during 2016 and 2017.

Thankfully, upgrading to an SSD got easier because SSD prices have been going down since 2018. If Samsung 500Gb SSDs used to be worth around $169.99, today it is already down to $72. Prices are basically going down because of how the NAND Flash memory chips are being oversupplied and of course, because of the competition in the market.

What To Do When Your Data Is Lost Due To Hard Drive Failure?

What To Do When Your Data Is Lost Due To Hard Drive Failure | Ttr Data Recovery

If you really knew how a hard drive works, you would know that attempting to recover data from a hard drive failure,  or after your hard drive short DST check failed, on your own might just make things worse

Only experts who have handles hard drive problems for years should be working on your hard drive.

Fortunately, TTR Data Recovery has many services for any kind of hard drive issues you might be dealing with. The technicians at TTR Data Recovery are all licensed and have been recovering data for a decade already. The best part is you wouldn’t really wait long because they will be able to fully recover your data in a week or less.

Other than HDDs, TTR Data Recovery can also recover lost data from:

Are you in dire need of data recovery services? Feel free visit the TTR Data Recovery site and submit your case ASAP!

Tommy Kh | Ttr Data Recovery

About the Author
Tommy Khamoushi, Data Recovery Expert

Tommy Khamoushi is an IACRB-certified Data Recovery Engineer and a Certified Forensic Computer Investigator. He has more than 20 years of experience in data recovery including providing technical support for the House of Representatives.

Tommy leads a team of data recovery engineers and experts at TTR Data Recovery to recover highly sensitive data for government agencies like the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and enterprise businesses using advanced and proprietary techniques and processes.

Connect with Tommy on LinkedIn.