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Repair information on hard drives or hard disks. Hard drives are magnetic data storage devices. They are used in most desktop, laptop, and server due to their low cost and high data density.

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Can HDDs operate upside down?

This may be stupid and obvious but, I have a hard drive that putting it in my desktop upside down would be better for cable management. would it work (reliably) upside down? it's probably a yes, but I'd rather not kill a perfectly good hard drive if not. (especially with data on it.)

@danj or @oldturkey03 I think you might know this.

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It depends on the size and the age of the drive!

A 3.5" is designed to be mounted either on its side or flat with the top of the drive up. While you can run it upside down it's not something I would do as its normal position. In the case of older drives - I wouldn't alter the basic mounting. If you do mount it differently its a good idea to reformat the drive so any slop in the heads will not mis-write or read. Moving the system or banging the drive can crash the drive very easily when its running.

2.5" drives are less sensitive on it's mounting but just like 3.5" drives moving or banging the drive can crash it. most laptops have crash guard protection systems so the head assembly is parked before any damage when the system is banged when running.

In any case make sure the drive mounts are cushioned.

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In my dell the hard drives are upside down and they work fine.


What is the size of the drive? I bet you its a 2.5"

If you replace it I would review the spec sheet of the drive you put in to see if it makes any note on mounting.


@danj All Dell computers have drives either sideways or upside down on the business lines of computers. Only Ancient 3.5" may have had issues running upside down. Those were like ....10mb (not gb) hard drives. As a matter of fact, i still have one of those ancient Western digitals. You had to actually run a DOS command / program to park the hard drive head before turning off the computer.


@avanteguarde - That was my point! A 2.5" drive wouldn't have as issue running upside down. Only the older 3.5" drives.

Even still its smart to format the drive and run it at the same direction so there is less risk of error from head slop.


It has two 3.5. One original 80GB and one 2008 iMac 250GB hard drives.


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Yes, they can operate sideways, upside down, port side down etc.

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Thanks! I'm always paranoid with HDDs


@avanteguarde one more thing... Is it OK for an HDD to be right under a DVD drive? I remember pulling apart a DVD player and finding a magnet inside.


Yes, it is fine.

Hard drives are shielded. Just don't put a real magnet directly on the hard drive.


@captainsnowball There is a strong magnet in hard drives too so it’s more than fine.


I see where you're coming from, but that magnet is very tiny so it can not destroy the HDD.


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Yep, you can have them up side down, perpendicular to the bottom of the case, at 45 degree angles are not recommended. The most important things are making sure they're secure and that their temps are cool enough.

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