Learning About Computer Services

What Happens When A Hard Drive Fails?

by Hector Meyer

Losing information can be devastating, especially if you've lost a lot of custom, self-made information and don't have any backups. There are many different ways for storage media to fail, and although people in a panic--or even a rage--may not care about how the problem happened as long as they get their information back, it's a good idea to look into the way you feel and realize one thing:

This will happen again.

As you figure out what to do with your current data loss issues, here are a few ways to get the information back from the direst to the most practical, along with potential causes and ways to keep your data safe in the future.

Cold Shutdowns Are Killing Your Data

Although times are changing as more children grow up with computers as part of their childhood, one of the most common data loss causes is turning off the computer incorrectly. There are safety measures, better ways to save information, and safeguarded vital system files built into modern operating systems (OS, such as Windows and Mac), but the problem remains.

Power outages or tripping over a cord are just accidents, and you'd be highly unlucky to suffer a data failure. This isn't about those types of accidents. This is about people who still rip computer power cords out of the wall to shut down their desktops, or people who hold down the power button to quickly shut down the system (known as a cold shutdown).

Those techniques should only be used in emergencies, and emergencies should happen less than 2 or 3 times per year. If you're unplugging a computer without a battery or performing a cold shutdown, you're essentially stopping a brain from creating memories and ruining links to existing memories.

Modern computers are networks of information. The computer's very existence is a series of processes that are constantly updating and loading, and although modern OS design cuts down on a lot of the background processes, you could accidentally shut down during a huge, vital save that could stop your computer from loading.

Even worse, you could be shutting down as something you want to save is in the process of saving, and the entire process can become corrupted in a way that can't be recovered without the original programmer in some cases.

How Can Data Be Retrieved?

If you're lucky, your hard drive or solid state drive (SSD) failure is just an issue of severed new links. This means that your core computer data is still intact and fine, but the system tried to create new ways to show you information that aren't working yet.

If you could see the issue physically, it's like having a bunch of wires pulled barely out of their sockets. You just need to plug them back up, but this is done with code either manually or with a data recovery professional who has the right set of proprietary scripting written up ahead of time.

Of course, the drive could have physically failed. Wear and tear is an issue, and the physical data platters in hard drives or the data cells in SSDs could be warped. As long as this is the first failure, the data can be covered by a professional. 

Struggling to push through the data after failure will make it harder to recover later, so contact a computer data transfer service, like Colorado Computers, to copy everything over to multiple new drives.