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Vibrations And It's Effect Upon Hard Drives?

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August 24, 2012 5:11:09 PM

Hello members of Tom's Hardware, coming at you with another quick question. Are hard drives or any other components affected by vibration when the computer is plugged in and turned off? My computer is on a desk near a wall that is receiving tile work on the other end, and there is a decent amount of vibration felt on the wall, but a reduced amount felt on the desktop where the computer sits on. Thank you very much for taking the time out to answer. :bounce: 
August 24, 2012 5:17:46 PM

The short answer is yes. You can google something like "hdd head crash" to get an idea of a worst case sort of scenario of what can happen.

The more nuanced answer is that it depends on how strong the vibrations are, and how much of that translates into the read/write heads on the drive. Then you have to factor in the relative rigidity of the materials constructing the arms, and a whole bunch of other stuff. So, basically you'd be well advised to try and minimize the vibrations as much as possible.
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August 24, 2012 5:30:56 PM

I appreciate the answer Scott, Is there any program that i can run to assess whether or not damage has been done to my HDD or any other component within my PC?
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August 24, 2012 8:33:07 PM

HDD problems - No, with the pc shutdown the heads of the drive would have parked into a safe zone.

PC problems - possible. The constant vibration might work connections loose, cause heatsinks to shift, or cause your add-in cards to shift up and not sit in their slot properly. Like a non-locking sata cable working loose.

I would definitely not run the pc while the vibrations were ongoing and I would open the side up and do a quick press on everything to make sure all is seated/connected properly before powering the pc up.
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August 24, 2012 10:12:52 PM

Okay, I will have to amend my earlier post to say that it applies only when the system is turned on. I missed the bit where you said it would be turned off, so my mistake there. popatim is correct in that the heads would be parked unless you have an extremely old computer before head parking became automatic in HDDs.

As for damage to the drive... Not really no. There's chkdsk, but that really is more of a filesystem level check, not physical surface of the drive. You may find issues with the filesystem as a result of physical damage, but it might just happen the damage is in an (as yet) unused section of the drive or something else.
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August 25, 2012 3:50:23 PM

Thank you very much for answering guys I appreciate it
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