head crash


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head crash

[′hed ‚krash]
(computer science)
The collision of the read-write head and the magnetic recording surface of a hard disk. Also known as disk crash.

head crash

The physical destruction of a hard disk. Misalignment, faulty parts, contamination with dust, as well as excessive jostling and temperatures, can cause the read/write head to collide with the disk's recording surface. The data are rendered unreadable, and the drive has to be replaced. However, in some cases, the data can be recovered (see data recovery).

The read/write head on a hard disk hovers above the platter's surface at a distance 5,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. The analogy is flying a jet plane six inches above the earth's surface.

A Head Crash Is Destructive
The computer stops dead in its tracks with a head crash and also a regular crash, but "head crashes" are destructive to the hardware, whereas program crashes are not destructive to the machine (see abend).


Read/Write Head and Disk Surface
Head crashes used to be much more common years ago. However, they still happen, and that means the metal head scrapes the magnetic coating of the disk platter's surface. Bye bye bits.
References in periodicals archive ?
This symptom typically indicates a condition known as a head crash that can destroy your data.
In addition, PD media is considerably more reliable than a hard drive since there is no chance of a head crash and has an estimated shelf life of more than 30 years.
It is a non-contact media, eliminating the possibility of head crash and data loss, and cannot be erased by accidental contact with a magnetic field.