What Is Mechanical Hard Drive Data Recovery?

Linda J | TTR Data Recovery
By Linda J

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Mechanical Hard Drive | TTR Data Recovery

Mechanical Hard Drive Data Recovery

Mechanical recovery is necessary when the storage media device has experienced physical damage to its internal parts. If you don’t know what that means then you should get a hard drive recovery service on the line already.

In order to achieve a successful recovery, those damaged internal parts would need to be replaced inside of a clean room. The most common cause of data loss is physical media damage, whereby the hard disk drive receives a physical shock causing the head to hit the platter or damage one of the moving parts.

This condition will not always cause a failure straight away but the condition of the platter and internal parts will probably deteriorate and then the failure will occur. This will potentially cause the most damage if a laptop or mobile device is dropped at the same time the HDD is reading or writing data.

How this happened?

Mechanical failure – the most severe type, involves mechanical or electronic failure of the drive itself. Most mechanical problems are the result of damaged disk due to abuse, wear, and excessive write operations. Other damage occurs to the electronic controller card attached to the drive.

Hard drive or device physical damage can be a result of a manufacturer’s defect, a physical impact such as a device being dropped or bumped while it is running, or fire and water damage. The damaged chips or components manifest problems such as bad track, scratches on platters, motor seizure, head crash, burnt PCBA and other malfunctioning components.

Few most common cause of physical media damage:

  • Disk is recognized by system but cannot be read normally;
  • Disk cannot be detected via operating system;
  • Disk cannot respond to system commands;
  • Disk freeze due to bad sectors;
  • Hard drive makes a “clicking” sound like “tick tack”

Components of a Hard Drive

The hard drive is where all data and applications reside. Inside the hard drive casing lie four major components: Platters, Spindle, Read/Write Arm, and Actuator.

Platters

Platters are those circular magnetic discs that you see inside the hard disk drive. Platter are made from aluminum, glass, or ceramic discs where all data are stored. Depending on the model of the drive, the rate at which the platters spin vary which is measured by RPM or rotations per minute. Data is stored as 1s and 0s on each sector — the smallest storage unit of a hard disk platter.

Tracks near the center are more dense than those near the outside of the disk. This allows for a fixed amount of data that the drive can read at a time, even as the speed of tracks increases as you move farther away from the center. Tracks are divided into sectors, while a cluster consists of several sectors. A sector data size is generally 512 bytes.

The Spindle Motor

A spindle motor keeps the platters in place and rotates them when the hard drive operates. The spindle motor consists of the rotor (spindle) and the platter carrier (hat). The rotations per minute (RPM) measures the speed at which the data is written or read from the platters. Typically, a hard drive runs at 7,200 RPM. The faster the RPM the better it is at accessing, reading, and writing data.

The Read/Write Arm

The read/write arm controls how the read/write heads move. While the read/write heads are the mechanical parts of the hard disk drive that performs the actual reading and writing of data to the disk. The read/write arms keeps the heads in the right position according to where the data should be accessed or stored. Typically, there is one read/write head for each side of the platter.

Actuator

The hard disk drive actuator is responsible for moving the head arm. The actuator secures and control the movement of the HDD assembly. The actuator carries and brings the head arm along with its slider to the exact location on the HDD platter where data should be accessed or stored.

Modern actuators are controlled by a servo motor, replacing the stepper motor which tends to lose accuracy as the capacity of HDD increases and was also prone to overheating issues.

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