I noticed this interesting post on Gizmodo with a picture of a hard drive. Cover off, and tiny shiny pieces of what was left of a platter. Reading through the comments I was surprised that very few people actually knew what the platters are made of. Glass. Plain and simple. Platters are made out of glass and coated in metal. The metal surface of course maintains the magnetic signal of all your important data. Not aluminum, not steel or any other metal. Hopefully more people realize just how fragile hard drives are. So you “only” dropped your hard drive on to carpet and it was “only” 1 foot while the drive was on, is like a death sentence to a hard drive.
Now by all accounts a shattered hard drive is an extremely rare occurrence. It takes a combination of temperature, spinning frequency, and physical shock at the right time for this to occur. It’s generally a good idea to wait for electronic equipment to reach room temperature before turning it on. Especially if it has been sitting in a courier’s truck overnight. The sudden surge of electricity pulsing through cold wires can make for interesting outcomes. Admittedly it is hard to resist playing with new gadget as soon as they arrive.