108. Hard Drive Problems Explained

What I have noticed from other engineers is that SATA hard drives fail more often than IDE ones do. I am not able to show you any statistical data on the SATA and IDE hard drive fault rate. If done right, we need to take 1000 hard drives and see why they have failed. But, from what I have heard from other computer repair engineers is that SATA hard drives fail more often than IDE hard drives. We need to normalize the data since there are much more SATA hard drives manufactured today than there were before. And, this investigation will only work with statistical data.

We also need to take into account the fact that SATA hard drives have a much bigger density compared to IDE drives.

he high density of hard drives automatically make them have a higher probability of failure. Especially today, when manufacturers have switched to perpendicular recording. As I heard from a data recovery expert, head failures have also increased. The new GMR head is more complicated than the previous MR head.

http://www.research.ibm.com/research/demos/gmr/index.html

In general, the more complicated the hardware is, the more likely it is that it would fail.

There are also talks that discuss the topic of disk surface ageing. If a disk surface is located somewhere that has not been used for a long time, then the probability that it will malfunction increases. I personally do not have any data to confirm this fact. I have noticed the opposite, to be honest. As seen from many examples using HDTune, the disk surface scans are the most likely area on a disk to fail, and it is in the first half of the disk where the head writes and reads more often that on the second half.

This is the most data accessed area, meaning it has been written and read many times over. At times, you can also see a bad sector in the second half of the disk, but it is very rare.
It's also important to address the hard drive overheating problem. Many hard drive failures are related to the laptop design and thermal conditions. In earlier laptops, hard drives were wrapped in aluminum caddies or enclosures. This made the hard drive temperature conditions extreme. This design can still be found on some Acer models.
On an Acer laptop, the hard disk is located on the top of the IO chip. This makes temperature conditions extreme for the hard disk. The result is a disk surface which has a bad sector.

It's also good to mention that the power supply damages the hard drive. If  a +5 V or +12 V power line is unstable, then the first and most sensible area for power problems to occur is when the hard drive is damaged.

This is true not only for computer systems but all electronics that have a power supply and hard drive used as data storage. I repaired a CCTV system once that had a faulty hard drive some time ago which had been replaced with a new one. This new system also failed after some time. It turns out that the faulty power adaptor had a +12 V unstable (with spikes). Strangely enough, hard drives do not seem to have good enough protection.

Another factor that influences the health of the hard drive is the temperature. As mentioned above, extreme temperatures have impacts on the disk. If the temperature is high, we get material expansion. That’s why we get a disk shift and the hard drive does recalibrations more often. There is talk that cooler running hard drives last longer. Some technicians also recommend that in order to make the hard drive active, it is vital to cool the hard drive and make the environment as clean as possible.


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