When explaining data recovery to clients we generally reference 4 physical aspects of a hard drive. These are the read/write heads, the PCB board, the motor and the platters. These all work in harmony to allow a user to access and store data on a hard drive.

During conversations it can be a hard thing for someone to visualise what our technicians are referring to in their assessment conversations so we thought we would employ these great animations as produced by Animagraffs to show the different components actually operating.

Read / Write Heads

The read/write heads or just “heads” in a drive consist of a multitude of sub components but ultimately are considered to be the conduit for data being read or written to a hard drive. The heads are a physical arm with tiny magnetic structures on the end that interpret data. These heads can become damaged if a drive suffers impact or if the drive degrades. See below for how heads operate.

PCB (Printed Circuit Board)

This is a circuit board that works to maintain the drives operation and further pass data out to the wider computer system. The PCB hold critical and most often unique information specific to the given drive about operations like motor speed, amperage and caching. Our experience shows PCB failure is normally the result of surges, blackouts or a wrong supply used. See below for an illustration of a PCB in action.


This is the core of your hard drives storage a in this is actually where your files and operating system are actually stored. There can be one or many platters depending on how large the storage capacity is of your hard drive. Platters are a metallic disk/s with a series of coatings to allow them a highly even and polished surface. Our technicians may advise you on the state of these platters as part of our assessment so the below animation gives you an idea of just how these operate. 

Our team is reachable via the 0800 328 2522 free call number any time in NZ and we would encourage anyone experiencing any form of data loss or failing hard drive  to call through and have a chat with an expert about recovery options.

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