This document contains instructions for the correct handling of any ThinkPad hard drive. Please note that incorrect handling of the hard drive, or the ThinkPad in which it is contained, can cause the hard drive to fail. Typical symptoms for failures due to incorrect handling of hard drives include bad sectors and noisy drives.
Hard drive technology
Hard drives consist of disks containing the data, heads to read the data and the spindle motor to rotate the disks. The way a hard drive works is much like a number of LP players stacked together. The main difference is that the head does not actually touch the disk, but flies above it. The amount of clearance (space between the head and the disk) is displayed in the drawing below.
Causes of damage
Whenever the hard drive experiences a shock, the head and sometimes the arm touches the disk. This can either create a dent in the disk creating a bad sector, or even send disk particles off to other parts of the hard drive causing the hard drive to fail altogether. The proximity of the head to the disk is the main reason why a hard drive is very susceptible to shocks (see drawing below), causing the hard drive to be one of the most sensitive parts of your mobile computer.
The above is true for ALL hard drives, not just ThinkPad hard drives.
Please take the following into account when you are handling your ThinkPad system or the hard drive contained in it.
Slam the ThinkPad system or the hard drive down on a surface
Never stack hard drives
Touch the electronics card on the base of the hard drive
Take care when using the ThinkPad system on the move: shocks while the hard drive is in operation can damage it
Hold the drive by its sides, not by the top or bottom
Carry hard drives in antistatic bags
Use Electric Static Device (ESD) protection when handling the hard drive