Hard drive disassembly - Overview

The purpose of this is to completely dismantle a hard disk drive, show the different components inside the drive and explain the functions of each part of the hard disk.

For these purposes we have chosen a 320 GB Hitachi hard disk drive manufactured in December 2006. The photograph below shows the drive with its lid removed.

Please note that all of this work was done inside one of our clean air cabinets and hard disks must not be opened outside of a clean air environment a single speck of dust is enough to cause a severe head crash.

Note the reflectivity of the platters above and compare that to the one below that has suffered a severe head crash. In order to function correctly, platters need to be completely flat and without any dents, scratches or dust contamination. When running they need to spin concentrically with minimum vibration.
Severe head crash
Generally data recovery from drives with damaged platters is totally dependent on the level of damage to the surface. With small indentations and low levels of damage it is often possible to work around the damaged area, however it may take several attempts to get any data as when heads come into contact with damage they too can becomes damaged. In some cases damaged areas may become worse as the damaged areas may become larger as the heads enter or pass over the damage zone.
The gouges and surface damage to this drive are so extensive that there is severe damage to the head suspension arm. The read/write head connection wires can also be seen at each side near the tip of the suspension arm.

We will now examine each part in more detail..