​​What Is the Purpose of the “Do Not Cover This Hole” Hole on Hard Drives?

Hard disk drives require a certain range of air pressures in order to operate properly. The connection to the external environment and pressure occurs through a small hole in the enclosure (about 0.5 mm in breadth), usually with a filter on the inside (the breather filter). If the air pressure is too low, then there is not enough lift for the flying head, so the head gets too close to the disk, and there is a risk of head crashes and data loss. Specially manufactured sealed and pressurized disks are needed for reliable high-altitude operation, above about 3,000 m (9,800 ft).99 Modern disks include temperature sensors and adjust their operation to the operating environment. Breather holes can be seen on all disk drives—they usually have a sticker next to them, warning the user not to cover the holes.