Hard Disk Drive Myths Debunked
The Hard Disk Drive Myth Guide
This guide was written in response to the numerous fallacies about the hard disk drive that are still being propagated in many forum discussions. Although many articles have covered these topics, it is apparent that hard drive urban legends are still more popular than the simple truth.
So, let's get down to basics and examine some of these common fallacies or myths and debunk them!
Myth #1 :
Formatting a hard drive too many times will cause it to fail.
To put it shortly, formatting your hard drive will NOT reduce its lifespan. Yes, formatting is popularly thought to reduce hard drive's lifespan but that is nothing more than a myth.
Formatting is NOT a stressful event for a hard drive. The read/write heads do NOT touch the platter surface, so damage to the platter only occurs if there is any shock to the drive during operation.
You can format your hard drive 20 times a day, 365 days a year and it will be no more likely to fail than a hard drive that is not formatted at all.
Myth #2 :
Formatting a hard drive causes a layer of [material / dust] to be deposited on the platter surface, creating bad sectors.
Formatting will not deposit any layer of "anything" on the platter. The read/write heads are not in contact with the platters, so it is physically impossible for them to deposit anything on the platter surface.
In addition, the hard drive is a sealed environment assembled under clean room conditions, so there is very little dust inside the hard drive. Even if there is dust, why would formatting deposit anything on the platter? The platters are constantly spinning - any dust would not be able to deposit itself on the platter, much less create bad sectors or an alien colony.
Myth #3 :
Formatting the hard drive will stress the needle (head actuator).
Formatting is done contiguously. This means formatting is done in a serial order - sector 500, sector 501, sector 502, etc. There is very little movement of the head actuators. Therefore, formatting will NOT stress the head actuators, which is why you don't see jokes about psychiatrists prescribing Prozac to head actuators.