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A complete model of an operational hard disk drive (HDD) subject to shock loads is developed to investigate the response of the head/media interface. The model is a coupled solution of the structural components and the hydrodynamic lubrication between the magnetic recording head and the disk surface. The structural model is a finite element simulation of the HDD using commercially available software. The hydrodynamic lubrication, or air bearing, model is a numerical solution of the Reynolds equation used to solve for pressure and spacing between the head and the disk. Combining the two models gives a complete solution of the head/media interface for an operational HDD.