Could I damage a hard drive if I shut it down while booting?

By rodion15
Jan 28, 2016
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  1. I heard that you can damage a hard drive if you force a shut down while it's being written to (e.g.: pressing the power button for a few seconds). However, while the computer is booting from it (either the internal hard drive or booting off an USB external one), the computer is reading from it, so it shouldn't be damaged, right?

    Can the hard drive written to while booting in any way?
    I'd welcome some explanatory website.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2016
  2. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    Damage? No - As long as the PSU is properly regulating voltages, the drives are designed to protect themselves.

    Corrupt files? Yes but not likely.
  3. rodion15

    rodion15 TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 128

    Thanks for your answer, I've edited my post a little to make it more clear, it was a bit hurried.
    I meant to ask if a hard drive could be damaged during boot if you force a shutdown for example pressing the power button a few secs, since I understand the disk or ssd is being read from, and not written to.

  4. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    Damage insinuates physical or electrical damage. That is not possible as long as the machine is functioning properly, no matter how many times power is interrupted.

    The likely concern would be corrupted data from files not finishing their write cycles. Corrupted data is not drive damage. The drive will still function properly regardless of the data integrity. Nothing a quick format or system restore wouldn't fix.

    • Power grid spikes or power supplies regulating outside of specs
    • Old or faulty components
    • Physical shock
    • Water or short circuiting
    • Heat stress from inadequate cooling
    • Mishandling of components/tools during assembly/repair
    Those listed and I'm sure there are others, are a different topic that can cause damage, and be responsible for data integrity loss.
  5. rodion15

    rodion15 TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 128

    Well, I've learnt that there's some writing of cache files during startup, so forcing a shut down may jumble the directory, although this wouldn't damage the drive physically it may garble the directory.

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