What Should You Do with a Physically Damaged Hard Drive?

Jun 9, 2020

Hard drives continue to improve, increasing data capacity even as they stay the same size or get smaller.  It wasn’t that long ago that a terabyte of storage was the size of a server.  Now you can get the same storage capacity in a thumb drive.  That said, these IT devices are not immune to damage, and like any machinery, they could deteriorate and fail in time.

You may be more concerned about virtual threats like viruses, or loss of support that leaves you unable to integrate with newer technologies, but when your hard drive starts to suffer physical wear and tear or is subjected to damage of some kind, you could face significant problems, like slowing speeds, crashes, error messages, and missing or corrupted files, just for example.

When this occurs, it’s probably time for your North Dakota business to upgrade to new equipment, but what should you do with the old hard drives?  Here are a few steps you should take if you think your hard drives are going bad or if physical damage has occurred.

Data Recovery

The first and most important concern when you suffer a hard drive failure of any kind is recovering valuable data.  If you’ve planned ahead, you may have data backed up elsewhere, in which case recovery shouldn’t be an issue.

If not, or if backups are infrequent, you’ll need to turn the damaged hard drive over to your IT specialist or a third-party vendor that specializes in data recovery.  If you suspect physical damage or you start to see issues like missing or corrupt files, or other indicators of damage, you should stop using the hard drive immediately and move into data recovery mode before further harm can be done.

Hard Drive Repair

With fine tuning, hard drive manufacturers have reduced the number of failures year over year, but as of 2018, the Annualized Failure Rate (AFR) of hard drives stood at 1.25%.  This number is pretty low, but it’s probably still a good idea to look for a hard drive with a decent warranty.  You can typically expect a manufacturer’s warranty of 1-3 years, and a some even offer a 5-year warranty.  Retailers may offer additional warranty periods for a fee.

If your hard drive is still under warranty when a failure occurs, your best bet is to spare the potential cost of repair and simply have it replaced, supposing the warranty accounts for the failure.  If your hard drive is no longer in warranty, you should probably just upgrade to a new one.  While there are vendors who offer physical hard drive repair, and there’s nothing wrong with at least getting a quote for repair, the truth is you simply may not want to risk another failure from faulty or aging equipment.

Shredding Old Hard Drives

When you get rid of hard drives that are still functioning properly, you have the option to wipe and remarket them, if they have some value, but you can’t do this with hard drives that have suffered physical damage.  The only real option is to hand them over to your certified ITAD service provider to be shredded and recycled, in compliance with consumer privacy and environmental laws.

Whether you have a single damaged hard drive or a stockpile that you want to destroy, contact the reliable team at SEAM today at 605-274-7326 (SEAM) or online to request a quote or schedule a service.

SEAM provides IT recycling and data destruction services including onsite shredding and hard drive wiping to South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska.

Schedule a pickup or contact us for more information.