A hard particle interacting with a slider and a disk in the head/disk interface of hard-disk drives can produce a scratch on the disk and result in data loss. Our work emphasizes modeling and simulation of slider, particle, and disk interactions, scratch generating mechanisms, and linking of scratch to interface design parameters. Two models are presented. The Monte Carlo method was used to calculate scratch probabilities and parametric studies were performed to determine the effect on scratch probability of various parameters, such as friction coefficients, particle mean size, slider wall angles, the ion-milling (IM) etch depth from the air-bearing surface (ABS) of the slider, and the efficacy of additional ABS structures acting as particle shields. Simulation results show that the friction coefficient is a dominant parameter. If the disk friction coefficient is smaller than the slider friction coefficient, scratches are not produced. Using shallow IM depths is an effective and practical way to reduce the scratch probability. Experimental results are very close to the simulation predictions.