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Hard Disk Errors vs. Hard Disk Failure

It is actually common for a hard disk to run in to errors when it is reading data. They are not one hundred percent accurate, but usually this is not a problem. Errors occur due to the limits that the hard disk is constantly being pushed to: tracks and sectors are closer together, signals are weaker to try and prevent interference and the spindle motor spins faster to try and access the data quicker. All of this means that errors can happen.

You might be thinking that you have never seen an error from your hard drive. This is because, as the component that stores all your important information, it would be worrying (and no doubt annoying) to see all the errors that the hard disk is producing come up on your screen. The manufacturers of hard disks are well aware of this and they use techniques to detect the errors and correct them. As the technology for data storage is being increased, the error correction tools that are built into the drive must match.

Error detection and correction is actually standard when it comes to the delivery of digital data, so there is no need to worry. If drives were produced to have less frequent errors then their performance and capacity would be far less. In the manufacturers eyes it is better to plan for errors and have a system in place to easily correct them than offer drives with weaker abilities.

However, you must not confuse hard disk errors with hard disk failure. These are two completely different ballgames. While hard disk errors come from reading information of the disk and are corrected without you knowing, you will certainly be very aware if you suffer from hard disk failure.

Hard disk failure occurs when the information stored on the drive cannot be accessed by your computer. It can occur for a number of reasons due to the fragile nature of the hard drive. For example, if the drive is dropped then it could lead to a head crash. This is when the internal mechanical read and write head of the drive collides with the platter and scratches the surface of it. Since the platter is where your data is stored, having any sort of damage done to it can be extremely dangerous.

Hard disk failure can be gradual or instantaneous. Signs that your hard drive could be failing include unusual noises emitting from it. Drives that have mechanically failed will often emit a clicking noise. You might also notice that certain files disappear from your hard drive or refuse to open. As soon as you suspect that something is up from your hard drive it is vital that you back up all your data instantly.

Hard disk errors are resolved in the background without you knowing. Chances are you didn’t even know they occurred. Hard disk failure, on the other hand, is something to worry about. If your hard drive is failing then it will not resolve itself – it will only get worse. Be sure to back up your data and contact the professionals as soon as signs show that your hard drive could be going down the drain.


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