What is the logical explanation for a jammed hard drive to start working again after being knocked?

I've recently noticed that my old laptop which I stopped using for a long time (because of it's failed hard drive) works perfectly fine when I knock it exactly where the hard drive is located at. (I know I'm not supposed to do this. But a computer which was dead, came back to life magically with just a tap at the HDD spot. And I was also able to access my data and upload it to the cloud while facing no other issues and the computer is smooth as new) The laptop is almost a decade old but still works like a monster since it still has good specs (i5/8gb/1tb) I'm planning to order a new SSD for this computer but at the same time I wish to use the old HDD as an external disk for extra storage (I don't have the heart to throw a 1 terabyte disk to the trash) 

But keeping all this in mind, I still wonder why would a hard drive start working after being stuck when giving it a good knock on it's head? 

Is there any logical explanation to this weird phenomena? Technical stand point? Maybe it can be repaired? 

6 Answers

  • Shadow
    Lv 4
    1 month ago

    Laptop HDD's and 2.5" HDD's in general have a head dock for when the HDD is idle, goes to sleep or is turned off. The heads may have gotten caught in the dock and by knocking the drive, you dislodged them. It could also be sheer luck that it worked again. In any case, you should rather get a new HDD as that is the safest bet. If you don't want to toss the old HDD, then strip it and use the platters as coasters and the magnet on your fridge.

  • 1 month ago

    Copy off all data, and replace it.

  • 1 month ago

    Sheer luck. The drive was stuck, and your knock just happened to unstick it. Don't rely on it, it's on the way out and could pack up again at any moment.

  • 1 month ago

    Swinging across the surface of the data platter is a recording and reading head on an arm.  It is moved by a magnetic coil.  If it gets sticky, it might stop, then might start again.

    But knocking on a hard drive case might damage data.  The head glides over the disk with microscopic tolerance on the distance,  If it slams onto the surface, that could be very bad for data there, or the capability to record there in the future.  Sticky head swinging is a sure sign to retire that HDD to the recycle bin and just use that SSD.  Flash drives, data cards, the "Cloud" will be much more reliable than that questionable HDD.

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  • 1 month ago

    copy your files from it IMMEDIATELY.  the spindle in the HDD sticks and is no longer reliable

  • Hard disks die because the mechanism jams up.  Giving it a knock can get it going again, but don't expect it to last long.  If you want to get the old laptop working reliably, get a new hard drive - they're cheap enough and easy to swap over.  

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