Hard Drive
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September 19th, 2023

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Hard Drive

In this episode, we will be destroying a Hard Drive. The chosen victim of this horrible experiment is a Seagate Model ST34313A. This is a 4.3Gbytes drive. It supposedly has 15 heads.

Here is our unsuspecting victim now:

Now, before we begin, lets try it out...

Hmm... That didn't seem to work. Maybe reversing the wires might help...

It did, it did help! Yey! Windows98, you're about to have a really bad day! Anyways, we're not here to see it work, we're here to break it. (and see what's inside).

The drive seems to be covered in some sort of a rubber jacket to protect it from something (probably me?). Anyways, it has to go!

Hard Drives aren't exactly designed to be taken apart or fixed. If one ever breaks, you don't fix it, you buy a new one. Because of that, we'll need several tools in taking it apart. Primary ones are:


Remember, a hard drive is made not to be taken apart, so sometimes we'll use plain raw force to nudge things from their place.


After a few minutes of taking out most of the visible screws, we notice that the drive is sealed to be airtight.


Using a box cutter, we gently peel the sealant away.


The side was double sealed. First top layer was this thick aluminum foil like thing, the inner layer was a clear scotch tape like seal.


Before doing this, I thought that hard drives had a vacuum inside, but when taking off the seals, it didn't seem like there was any pressure difference. Weird. Anyways. Once the seal is off, we can open the top.

Hmm... No Windows98 in there... Hello... Where are thou hiding?

The next step is seeing if we've damaged anything vital... Does it still work?


Well... No. It doesn't work (didn't boot into Windows98), but it does spin, with the head moving somewhat. We can only speculate that some dust must have damaged the head so it wasn't reading the data and was thrashing. Everything else looked in perfect order. Oh well.

Contrary to what they said:

There appears to be only 1 head!


There you go... you pay for 15 heads, and you only get 1. Hmm. You also only get 1 disk.


This seems stupid. They could have doubled the capacity by simply adding another read head to the other side of the disk. Weird. This is a very unconventional disk. Last one I've taken apart had 4 heads and 2 disks.

After taking out the circuitry board, it appears that the case is a solid block of aluminum.


Ever wonder what that little head is made up of?


At 75x magnification, it looks like a bunch of wires connected to a small black surface.

It looks incomprehensible at 600x magnification. Anyway, because there is nothing more to break, disassemble, etc., in our victim hard drive, this concludes this session.

And remember, hard drives are very fragile so don't try this at home.


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