How to kill a hard drive

Keep Your Computer Running Longer!

We are often asked how to keep computers lasting longer and today we are going to talk about the hard drive of a computer and how to help prevent some problems that can cause your hard drive to fail.  If you need help call 01506 667990 or see our computer support page.


Hard drives are a common problem with computers and when you consider that they are the only component that has moving parts it is no wonder that they fail, after all a car needs it moving parts replaced every so often.  Here we will try and help you understand why they fail and ways to help prevent it.


  1. Dust – when the disk spins inside the hard drive it creates an air flow and very fine particles of dust can sometimes get in. When this happens it can cause the head that reads your information to get damaged and your computer will either crash or not load at all.  For desktop computers you can open up the side panel and vacuum the inside, while being careful not to hit anything.  For laptops I would recommend getting someone to do this for you as it often requires a good part of the laptop to be disassembled.
  2. Heat – Another reason to clean your laptop or computer and make sure all the fans work. Overheating can kill the hard drive and apart from cleaning you can make sure desktops have enough room around them to allow air to flow.  Also if you use laptops on your lap or bed then place them on a hard tray or something that allows all its rubber feet to stand on.  This will allow air to get into the bottom and let the fan cool it down.
  3. Bumped or dropped – The arm that I mentioned above hovers over the disks only using the air flow that is generated by the disks spinning, so when you bump your laptop down these arms move and if bumped hard enough they will crash into the disk and damage it. This will damage the disk and destroy any information on that part of the disk.  For laptops we recommend that you are careful when moving them and when you place them back down on a surface.  If you need to leave your laptop we also recommend closing the lid, this will put it into hibernation and put the arms into a safe place so they can’t be damaged.  For desktop computers we recommend that they be turned off before moving them.
  4. Mechanical failure – while you cannot prevent mechanical failure it can be detected by our monitoring system and if you get any S.M.A.R.T. errors when the computer is switched on then get it looked at quickly. While a computer can last weeks or months with this error, it will fail without any further warning and if you don’t have any backups then it could be costly to recover any information that you need from it.

With all of these problems data loss is possible and the only way to prevent it is to get a good backup system in place either to the cloud or to something in your office.


Call us on 01506 667990 for help or to book your system in.