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Can a power failure or forceful shutdown damage hardware?

If I turn off my computer by forcing it, can it damage my hard disk?

What is this scary noise (clam!) which the hard disk emits after being cut off?

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marked as duplicate by Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, surfasb, Nifle, JdeBP, Tom Wijsman Oct 31 '11 at 13:47

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

In general, for standard PC-type hardware, forcing power off should not cause mechanical damage to anything.

However, forcing power off may leave the disk data in an "inconsistent" state. Generally the OS should be able to recover from any inconsistency that results (though you may of course lose data (or the entire file) in any file you may have been writing at the time), but it's wise to avoid forcing power off (or pulling the plug on systems without battery backup) when reasonably possible.

The "scary noise" is likely the disk arm being driven to "park" position.

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