Disk Head Crash

When the read-write head of a hard disk touches the rotating platter, it causes damage to the platter surface thereby causing loss of data, termed as head crash. It causes the physical damage to the magnetic film on the platter’s surface. Every platter has a read-write head positioned over it, which reads from and writes data to the disk.

Very thin air layer lies between the read-write head and the platter surface, very small dust particle (present internally) could disrupt the functioning if it interferes in between read-write head and the platter surface thereby causing head crash. The damage loads onto other parts of the disk surface once the head crashes, leading to severe data loss. The head crashes only if it touches the platter surface. Head crash is also termed as disk crash.

A damaged read-write head cannot perform read-write operations. Head crash results in loss of critical data due to damaging of disk. The movement of read-write head above the platter surface is termed as flying, if flying is disrupted by the dust particles, it causes head crash. The distance between the head and disk surface is lesser than 3 nanometers.

Head crashes are destructive to hardware and cause major data loss, whereas program crashes do not cause loss to hardware. Read-write heads have thin films containing materials that can scratch the disk surface easily. The top layer of platter surface is made up of Teflon like material acting as a lubricant.

Causes of Disk Head Crash

  • Physical or mechanical shock to the disk whilst in its working condition
  • Bad parking
  • Contamination with dust particles – dust particles disrupting and causing head crash
  • Power surges – variation in power supply
  • Wear and tear due to excessive usage
  • Misalignment of read-write head resulting in collision with platter surface
  • Exposure to excessive heat and fire

Handling the Disk Head Crash

  • Stop supplying power to the hard disk once you get to know if it is crashing, else it causes more damage to the hard disk.
  • Seek help from experts, either online or through other source for providing data recovery solution
  • Don’t try to solve it by yourself, you may lose data permanently
  • Some proficient softwares make it possible to recover data from bad hard drive

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