A recent article released on TechRadar.com discussed how to extend the life of your hard drive. It lists five easy steps to help consumers achieve the most amount of years possible in a hard drive. These steps are:

  1. Use a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) – This will prevent current surge to the drive.
  2. Check the air around the drive – This will prevent static shock.
  3. Give the drive some rest – don’t stress it when its not needed.
  4. Handle carefully – don’t drop it, especially if its running.
  5. Use SMART (Self-Monitoring Analysis Reporting Tool) – available in majority of SATA drives today.

These are all great tips in keeping a hard drive in proper running condition. Probably the most devastating and most common problem today was a hard drive falling off the table while it was in use. Most of the time it happens to the laptop or the external drive, but in the case of an external drive that was disconnected before it fell and hit the ground, the heads of the drive park immediately once the power is lost. This prevents major damage to your data but it still can harm the drive’s heads if slammed to the ground incorrectly.

Working with hard drives over the years, I was able to perform shock testing to the drives while they were running and I would then look at the disk for physical damage. When a head slams into a disk, it creates a divot upon the impact. If your data is located at that divot, there is no way to recover it.

If you end up dropping your laptop or external drive on the floor while its running and you try to turn it on with no success, it is best to take the hard drive to a data recovery tech before trying to power on the hard drive again. The more you attempt to use a damaged hard drive, the more it can become in worse shape leading to the less likeliness of data recovery.