> Mechanical Faults

Mechanical hard disk faults relate to the failure of a physical component inside the hard drive. They are often the worst type of hard drive fault because recovering the data means taking the hard drive apart, replacing the faulty component(s) and then rebuilding the drive. Once completed successfully the hard drive will not work again as it did before but it will be possible for the recovery company to recover the data from it.

Data Recovery Tip
Recovering data from hard drives with mechanical faults is not a trivial exercise – you need to use a specialist data recovery company. You can find one at http://www.data-recovery-reviews.co.uk


Video Diagnosis

Shown below are 3 common types of mechanical failure on hard drives – we don’t recommend you remove the top of your broken hard drive as we have done – it’s completely unnecessary – we’ve done it to simply illustrate what goes on beneath the lid. Watch the videos and you should be able to identify what type of fault your hard drive has.

Standard Head Fault

By far the most common type of mechanical hard disk failure, head faults are commonly caused by a hard drive being dropped or knocked. Nearly all types of external hard drives that are sent to data recovery companies have standard head faults as the drives often sit on tables or floors and are knocked over or kicked.


Stiction only occurs when a hard disk is powered on. The word ‘stiction’ is an amalgamation of the words ‘static’ and ‘friction’ and causes the hard disk head to become ‘glued’ to the surface of the hard disk. This halts any rotation of the hard drive and the computer will freeze. It’ll be necessary to power off and restart the system. The hard drive will not be recognised by the computer and will no longer spin – if you listen very carefully you may hear a faint noise coming from the drive. Hard drives with stiction should be kept powered off as attempting to start them will put a lot of stress on the hard drive components and make matters worse.

Seized Bearing

This relates to the motor on the hard disk that rotates the platters in the hard drive when the drive is powered on. If the drive receives a sudden jolt or a shock it can cause this bearing to seize and the drive to stop rotating. As with stiction faults above, a hard drive with a seized motor bearing will no longer be recognised when powered on. It should be left powered off as powering it on will cause unnecessary component stress on the hard drive and lessen the chances of successful data recovery.

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