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The following is an archive of a post made to our 'vox-tech mailing list' by one of its subscribers.

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Re: [vox-tech] HD xfer
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Re: [vox-tech] HD xfer

On Sat, 11 Aug 2001, Eric wrote:
> I had a hard drive start clicking also, is that a sure sign the
> hardware has "gone south"? Could there possibly be another
> explanation?


Depends partly on the sound and frequency of the click for some
indicators of possible problems. (Listening is not really a science, but
more like a best guestimate.)

Drive motor failure
Spindle failure
bearing (if they on on the drive) failing
drive location reader failure (seek scans over and over)
disk crash with head dragging on one of the disks
heat damage to integrated circuits on board leads to intermittent
 conductor failure
arm tracking failure
vibrations cause screws to come loose.

Many of the causes for many clicking sounds are mechanical failures. They
can be caused by wear and tear, or physical abuse, or heat, or age or ??

I have not encountered an HD that made an audible odd clicking sound which
did not eventually fail on average sooner than drives that did not make an
audible clicking sound.

Probably many more kinds of problems for a HD are possible than there are
parts in the HD.

Often, once failure of one part starts to occur, failure on other parts
start to cascade in a slow-motion domino effect.

EG: bearing failures increase friction causing the motor to draw more
power from the board which causes the motor to generate more heat, work
harder and decrease motor life and the board to generate more heat in
supplying power to the motor. Excessive heat and cooling (on for a while
and off) during pre-existing problems may cause finely tuned metal parts
to expand and contact enough to make contact in places they should not
(head/disk)... Excessive heating and cooling may case micro-circuits to
expand and contract and make the metal brittle enough to break in PCBs
during the expansion and contraction beyond temperature ranges which were 
expected for the device.

Some of above are much less common than others, but a failure in any
critical part can kills the drive.

Solid state drives will be good! Perhaps future use of DNA Polymerase, or
other enzymes to store data in "stable" molecules might be good if the
process can be sped up with higher temperature enzymes (like those used in
PCR for DNA amplification/replication in legal cases with insufficient
tissue/blood samples.) Many enzymes are too slow for serialized building
of molecules, but duplication can be very fast since you can have true
parallel work during a molecular copy process. (woohoo!)

We'll probably see solid state drives long before we see bio-engineered
drives, but once we have them, it might bring new meaning to, "my hard
drive has been infected with a virus" (tee hee ;-)


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     Systems Department Operating Systems Analyst for the SSU Library

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