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Preventing Hard Drive Overheating Issues

Hard drives are sensitive electronics and overheating can be a serious issue. Fortunately overheating can usually be negated with proper ventilation


Hard drive overheating issues can cause component failures and data loss, and in order to keep your hard drive running, you need to allow it expel the excess heat that comes from regular electronic and mechanical operation. Following these tips will help you extend your hard drive's operating life and avoid data loss disasters.

Know How Your Computer Dissipates Heat

Cooling systems vary from computer to computer. Many laptops have metal contacts that expel heat through conduction, which will not function properly if you regularly use your laptop on a surface with strong insulation. Leaving your computer on a carpeted floor may allow heat to build up inside the chassis, eventually damaging the hard drive and other components. Keep laptop computers and desktop towers on a vibration-free desk or a hardwood floor.

Most computers have several cooling fans that promote airflow. If you need to replace a fan, make sure that you match the power and size of the new fan to the old fan. Invest in high-quality cooling components and a high-quality power supply unit to keep your computer running smoothly.

Make Sure That the Hard Drive Has Adequate Ventilation

Many PC owners push their computer towers up against walls. This effectively forces hot air back into the PC. Leave at least a foot of space between your computer and any walls, speakers or other objects that could create a blockage.

Keep Your PC Clean

Dust can build up in your PC's fans and around your hard drive, affecting the machine's ability to transfer heat outside of the case. Dust can also hold humidity, which will damage hard drive electronics. Regularly check your computer for dust buildup. If you operate your PC in a dusty environment, clean it with compressed air at least once or twice a month.

Know the Signs of Overheating

An overheating hard drive will feel hot to the touch. If you have a high-quality motherboard, your computer might automatically shut off the hard disk if the temperature exceeds a certain threshold. Check your computer's BIOS to find out whether your system supports this feature. Most personal computers will shut down overheating hard drives when operating temperatures exceed 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit).

When a hard drive fails due to heating issues, you may smell burning electronics. This is the solder of the hard drive's printed circuit board. Immediately shut down any hard drive displaying this symptom, but do no try to cool the hard drive off with fans, compressed air or by other artificial means. Let the drive dissipate heat naturally for several hours before trying to boot it again.

Overheating hard drives might also suddenly turn off with no explanation or make a repetitive clicking sound. These are serious symptoms, and you should never attempt to boot a hard drive that shows signs of a physical or electronic failure. Operating the drive could cause permanent platter damage and extensive data loss.

Overheating issues do not resolve on their own, and you will need the help of a professional data recovery company to regain access to your data. Look for a company that has experience with hard drive electronics. To treat heat-related data loss, a provider needs a Certified Class 10 ISO 4 Cleanroom, firmware repair tools and an experienced engineering staff.

We offer free media diagnostics for hard drives with electronic and physical issues. If you believe that your hard drive has failed due to overheating, contact our customer service team to schedule a no-risk evaluation at one of our facilities.

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