Debunking the Myths of Hard Disks

To believe or not to believeā€¦ There are many myths of hard disks out there. Is data really gone when you accidentally delete it? What happens if you reformat your computer but have forgotten to back up your data?

Myth 1: Power shortages engender bad sectors
Whenever a power failure happens, a hard disk will use certain methods to park the heads. In this regard, an unexpected power shortage would only cause logical data corruption. Usually, a severe power surge or unstable power supply would result in electronic or RW head failure, which is the cause of bad sectors.

Myth 2: Deleted data cannot be recovered
Unless data has been overwritten, it can still be retrieved. Deleted data will still remain in your hard disk until new data has been written.

Myth 3: A reformat wipes out all data
Disk formatting entails deleting certain system folders. Data contents are not deleted or destroyed and hence are 100% recoverable.

Myth 4: Magnets can destroy your data
This is only partially true. Fridge magnets and the ones we use in science experiments are not strong enough to destroy the data on your disk platter. The only ones that have the ability to do so are the degaussers found in laboratories and junkyard magnets. They can distort the data in your disk, hence corrupting it.

Myth 5: Powering the hard disk up shortens its lifespan
There is a grain of truth to this. Disk platters spin continuously the moment they are switched on. This spinning only stops when they are switched off. Many believe that protracted spinning can damage the disk. In truth, it is the excessive heat that kills the lifespan of the disk components. Heat also gives rise to problems such as thermal stress.
Computers and servers that have to run 24/7 are always kept in well-maintained, air-conditioned rooms to keep the disks cool and away from dust.

Myth 6: A reformat can help repair the bad sectors
Sadly, it does not. It only hides the bad sector so that they are not accessed. The bad sectors are marked and so the OS will not visit them during data storage.
Now that you are enlightened, be sure to share these nuggets of truth with your friends and colleagues!