In hard drives, mechanical failures occur when moving parts, such as the spindle motor or actuator assembly inside the mechanism, malfunction or simply wear out.
When a laptop or external hard drive is dropped or jarred, physical damage to internal components or a head crash can destroy the platter surface and the underlying data.
Power disruptions, viruses, operating system errors and improper shutdowns can damage directory structures and cause logical data corruption, as opposed to physical damage.
Power events, such as blackouts, power surges and lightning strikes, can short out circuitry and corrupt data. Hard drives are extremely vulnerable to natural disasters, such as floods, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes.
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