Everything Gadgets Photography

Hard Drive In Use Video

Last night I was experimenting with an old laptop hard drive.  I used a USB to PATA hard drive adapter to recover old data off of a 2.5 inch 20GB Toshiba hard drive.  When I was done, I intended to destroy the drive to prevent recovery.  After a few seconds – I had a better idea:

I disassembled the drive and I simply wanted to take a photo of the hard drive internals.  I was surprised that the drive spun up with the cover removed- and was completely shocked that it still worked without errors.  I managed to keep it working for several hours without fail while I took a few photos and more importantly video.  I used the same reverse lens mount and cheap Canon EF 35-80 1:4 as in my previous macro experiments.


  1. Hi, Brian.

    Nice to see this!

    Around 1990 or 1991, when I was working at Apple Computer, I knew a guy who had an 8″ hard drive on his desk; it was open, and it was running …for several months. As long as you don’t breathe into them (water from your breath tends to condense on the platter surface) or blow smoke or other sticky particulate junk into them, they keep themselves fairly clean because they are spinning.

    Best —

    1. I would not have guessed something like that would last for several months. I assume something like that was done just for the fun of it 🙂

      I’ve never used an 8″ hard drive, but I would imagine that given the diameter of the disc that they would build up a significant angular momentum and would be more susceptible to damage from being bumped.

      Eight months is impressive.

      Thanks for sharing!

      1. Hi, Brian.

        The angular momentum would, of course, be greater for a wider platter (with a wider hub at the center) at a given rotation rate; but remember, this was a long time ago, and hard drives rotated much slower then. I doubt that it was even as much as 5400 RPM.

        I don’t recall exactly how many months he managed to keep it, but I think it had already been going for 3 or 4 months when I saw it.

        Cheers —

Leave a Reply