The #1 most asked question at cat-man-du is “How did my PC get infected?” and I’ll be blogging on this soon enough. Today I want to focus on the #2 question “How did my hard drive fail (crash)?”
The simple answer is – Because a hard drive is a mechanical device, it has moving parts and when those moving parts fail or even have a tiny hiccup – your data can be lost. The best thing to remember is this – ALL HARD DRIVES WILL FAIL. Yep, every single hard drive is a ticking time bomb and it’s not a question of “if” but one of “when”.
If you take a close look at the picture on the left, you’ll see a hard drive that a cat-man-du guru took apart so we could see the inner workings. Notice anything familiar about the design? If you guessed “it kind of looks like a record player” then you just figured out more than the average computer user knows about hard drives.
Want to learn more – read on.
A hard drive (the basic design) has many things in common with record players. The information you save and the programs you install on your desktop or laptop reside on the mirrored platter you see in the photo. The disk(s) inside a hard drive are coated with a substance which is magnetized. Attached to an actuator arm is a “head” which is very similar to the arm, head and needle of a record player. At the very tip (where the record player needle would be) is a small bead of ferrite material with a coil wrapped around it.
- Your hard drive IS GOING TO FAIL
- Hard drives are kind of like record players
- All your photos, documents, programs, music and videos are floating around on top of a metal platter
- Hard drives are imperfect mechanical machines that do awesome things with magnetism
So what do you/ should you do? You’ve heard it before – read on:
Back up your data!
Hard drive manufacturers, computer technicians and technology service providers are not responsible, nor do they warranty or guarantee your data. You are all on your own when it comes to being responsible for keeping your information from vanishing into thin air.
There are many solutions for backing up data, the best ones are the ones in the cloud. MozyHome Free, and Carbonite are two great places to setup an automated backup that will be in the safe (mostly) reliable (mostly) cloud.
Another option is to store your data in the cloud and skip the drive all together (this doesn’t replace a backup). Those with a Google account can use Google Drive to store many different types of information and Dropbox also has free cloud storage.
For businesses who need a cloud based backup solution, our business division (cat.man.du IT) has a great solution for you.
To wrap this all up, here is a great YouTube video that the Department of Design and Multimedia at The University of Nicosia put together to demonstrate how a hard drive works – enjoy!