7 questions about your hard drive that you’ve always wanted to ask

We use our hard drives everyday on our laptop and desktop computers, but most people still have things they don’t know about their drives. Have you ever wondered what wiping the drive does to your data? Or how bad sectors can damage your hard drive?

All those questions and more will be answered in our following guide. Here’s the 7 biggest questions about hard drives, answered.

1. Is data on a formatted drive gone forever?

So you’ve accidentally formatted a drive that you didn’t intend to. Or you forgot to back it up before you did. Not to worry, data on a formatted drive is not gone forever, and can usually be recovered.

This is where data recovery services or software can help you. As long as the drive is still in one piece and that the data was not on a damaged part of the drive, you should be able to recover it. This is only possible if you haven’t started using the formatted drive though. When the data sectors are overwritten, you probably can’t recover old data.

2. Can magnets wipe a hard drive?

post-it and magnets on bulletin board

This is more of an urban myth. It has some truth to it though, even if it doesn’t apply anymore. Back then, consumer computer storage was mainly in the form of floppy disks. These were storage devices that can be wiped with a magnet. This information was then passed down and applied to future storage drives, which led to this urban legend.

Computer storage technology has come a long way since then, and many advancements have surely been made. Hard drives are way more sturdier than floppy disks, and can’t be wiped with simple magnets. So you certainly don’t have to worry about those fridge magnets lying around your workspace. Unless you work with industrial-strength magnets then, because that’s a different story.

3. Do hard drives last forever?

Hard drives are indeed pretty sturdy with its metal casing and all, but they don’t “last forever”. Yes they can last pretty long, up to 5 years time. However, while they can still work and last long, their performance will drop significantly within that period. So no, they do not last forever.

Bad sectors cause permanent damage on the hard drive and this can lead to data corruption and loss. This is something all computer users can’t avoid. Bad sectors come from things like physical damage and logical faults, and will accumulate over time. Some of these bad sectors, like soft bad sectors, can be repaired. But it’s not the same for physically damaged parts.

When it gets to a point where bad sectors are so spread out across the drive, the drive will start to fail. You may start to experience errors in startup or notice a drop in performance. The only solution to this problem is to replace the drive entirely with a new one.

4. Can abrupt power shutdowns cause bad sectors?

When an abrupt power shutdown happens, like a hard shutdown or sudden power cut, the hard drive also loses its power source. In situations like this, if the hard drive is in the middle of writing data on the disk, it may create bad sectors.

The good thing is though, these should only be logical bad sectors, also known as soft bad sectors. Unlike hard bad sectors, soft bad sectors can be repaired with disk repair software. Even so, it’s always safer to keep this from happening and turn off your computer properly whenever you can.

5. Will wiping the drive get rid of bad sectors?

We all want to get rid of bad sectors. Keeping the hard drive from accumulating bad sectors is an important part of its care. Some might try wiping the drive entirely to get rid of these pesky bad sectors. Unfortunately, that will not work.

Bad sectors are physically damaged parts of a hard drive. This sort of damage is also irreversible. All you can do in this situation is to repair soft bad sectors and mark bad sectors off from the drive.

6. Are SSDs indestructible?

While SSDs do boast much better durability and longer life spans over traditional hard disk drives, they are not entirely indestructible. Solid-state drives are lightweight storage devices that do not contain moving machinery to work. This makes them sturdier and is the superior storage device.

SSDs may not be prone to shock damage or any sort of machinery-related issues, but they are susceptible to other kinds of damage. This includes extreme temperatures. SSDs are more vulnerable to overheating damage than spinning drives, which only rely on spinning rotors to work. Heat can damage the circuitry or memory chips on the SSD. It’s a good idea, not just for the sake of the SSD, to keep your system cooled efficiently. This benefits the whole system, and keeps your computing experience smooth.

7. How many backups do I need?

back up external hard drive plugged in

You definitely need at least one backup. The more the better, actually. You never know what could happen. The external hard drive might fail, or you might find yourself in a situation without an internet connection.

Backups in general are very useful for all computer users. Hard drive failure is a common computer issue that can happen at any time. You could find yourself with corrupted or lost files, or even a complete hard drive failure. To prevent this sort of tragedy from happening, having a backup would really help.

You can choose from offline backups like external hard drives, or online backups on cloud-based storage services. Both are great options that can suit the needs of every computer user.

Got more questions?

We’re happy to help! Safemode Computer Service is a trusted computer repair service in Sydney, and we can definitely help with any computer issue you have. From laptops to desktop PCs and Macs, our experienced technicians can offer you advice and the right solutions. We are conveniently located in Enmore, Inner West Sydney. Come by our store or call us for a chat today!