External hard drives are computer accessories. You can either have them or not. It depends on you. However, doing without them could be a risk you’re taking. Unless you have an online backup service to rely on, you just can’t rely on the internal hard drive of your computer. You need a backup for all your files.
So, chances are, you do have an external hard drive for all your backups. That’s good. Now, the next thing you need to consider is that they fail. While it’s good to them, it’s also good to keep in mind that they’re not exactly 100% foolproof.
So, why do they fail? Read on to see the various reasons why.
Damaged recording surfaces are responsible for 70 per cent of hard disk drive (HDD) failures.
Damage is generally caused by the hard drive experiencing a physical shock; being hit, falling over or being dropped. The shock can result in a head crash or damage to the platters.
It’s, undoubtedly, convenient to have an external hard drive. You can take them with you anywhere you go. You don’t even have to take your computer with you. All you need is your external hard drive to keep your files. Unfortunately, the portability of an external hard drive is what makes it fail as well.
Who hasn’t dropped an external hard drive? You’ve probably done so several times. You see, it’s that portability that exposes it to danger. Sure, you can be careful but only to a certain extent.
If there’s one thing that’s already been proven is that hard drives fail. A huge part of the reason why they fail is because of damaged recording surfaces brought about by physical shock. So, think about it. Take a good look at your external hard drive. Honestly ask yourself how long it’s going to take until it fails you.
Circuit board failures can also end the life of your ever-reliable external hard drive.
Circuit board failures account for 18 per cent of drive failures and moisture or static electricity is typically to blame.
Here’s the thing. Your external hard drive is up against circuit board failures even if it just stays in one place. The way you store your external drive can also contribute to its chances of failing you at a time when you least expect it. So, be careful.
Another reason why external hard drives fail is because of its inactivity.
Stiction (friction + sticking) from stuck read/write head armatures is responsible for 11 per cent of the failures. Drives left idle for a long time may be susceptible because the mechanisms do not move. Keep your drive active.
Hence, don’t expect an external hard drive that’s been lying around for years in your house to work. They won’t. That’s sad but it’s true.
Drive motor failure could get your external hard drive to unexpectedly say goodbye to you.
Drive motor failure is responsible for just one per cent of hard drive failures.
It’s funny that drive motor failure contributes to just one percent of the reason why external hard drives fail. If you look at all the other reasons, you’ll notice that hard drives fail because of how they’re usually handled.
So, the question is, how can you handle them with care?
Here are a couple of tips for you to handle your external hard drive with care.
• Handling disk drives like precision machinery. Keep them in dry locations, avoid physical shocks and prevent static electricity discharges.
• Copy data onto a second drive or use a RAID scheme to protect against drive failure.
• Use erasure coding to mitigate data corruption from bit flip errors. You can get this by copying the data to an on-premises or cloud object store that supports erasure coding.
Sounds pretty basic stuff, right? The thing is, do you actually do them? Chances are, your external hard drive is your last defense to data loss. So, when that fails, your data is lost as well.
Hard drive failures could be very frustrating, to say the least. You see, if you don’t know how to deal with it, you’re bound to panic.
No matter what the reasons are for your hard drive failure, there is a solution for it. Yes, there are hard drive failure solutions. Don’t touch your external hard drive when you know it’s already damaged. Once it fails on you, the best thing to do is to call for expert help.