Hard Drive Clicking – The Most Common Causes and How to Recover a Clicking Hard Drive

Hard Drive Clicking – The Most Common Causes and How to Recover a Clicking Hard Drive

Hard drive clicking is among the most ominous noises in computing. As a data storage device, the hard drive records and retrieves digital information. When working as intended, modern HDDs are near silent. However, a damaged or defective device will emit a series of short, sharp sounds, or clicking noises.

Known as a hard drive “click of death,” these sounds most often indicate a mechanical failure. And, if left unchecked, a hard drive clicking noise could result in a complete loss of data. But it doesn’t have to. Our data recovery experts are ready to get your data back from any hard drive failure regardless of complexity with a 96% success rate and a “No Data, No Recovery Fee” guarantee.

Clicking Hard Drive Causes

Clicking hard drive causes depend on the specific failure involved. As mentioned, the leading reason for clicking sounds and other hard drive noises is typically mechanical in nature. Although, mechanical failures do not cover the entire spectrum. The following issues are capable of causing a clicking hard drive:

Read/write head crash

Read/write heads are responsible for reading and writing data directly on the drive’s platters. As the mechanism that interacts with the platter, a malfunctioning disk head will interrupt all operations. In particular, read/write head crashes can cause clicking noises. Crashes occur when a head, positioned nanometers above the platter, comes into contact with debris and drags across the platter’s surface.

Head actuator failure

Another leading cause of the low, continuous noise is related to the head actuator, which facilitates read/write functions. The actuator arm moves the read/write head stack to the appropriate area. Due to high usage, actuators wear down and, in time, reach the end of their lifespans. If the actuator fails, the read/write heads are unable to sweep the platter to access or record data. The result is a hard drive clicking sound.

Electrical issues

An array of electrical issues could affect the integrity and performance of a hard drive leading to data loss. A defective or overheating (PCB) circuit board, a faulty power supply, or a sudden power surge could cause clicking noises or hard drive beeping.

Service area & Firmware Corruption

A portion of the hard drive, called the service area, is dedicated to storing manufacturer data. If the service area module is damaged, the hard drive will click as it attempts to recover from a sequence of firmware errors.

Catastrophic failure

Causes outside of normal wear and tear, such as dropping a hard drive or exposing it to harsh elements, like liquid damage or extreme temperatures, could cause a sudden, catastrophic failure or physical damage. Even if a hard drive has not suffered from external sources, rough handling could contribute to component failure or misalignment. Each factor increases the likelihood of data loss.

External Hard Drive Clicking

External hard drive clicking is a similar but separate matter.

An external hard drive can suffer one of the failures mentioned above. It can also experience detection issues on a more frequent basis. If an external drive is not detected, it is critical to eliminate other possible problems, including the connection to the computer, a defective data or power cable, insufficient power supply, disk drivers, or flawed BIOS settings.

How to Fix a Clicking Hard Drive

Fixing a clicking hard drive is not as straightforward as it may seem.

Because HDDs are such complex, sensitive devices, it is recommended that experienced data recovery professionals conduct all diagnostics, hard drive repair or data recovery. Attempting to fix a hard drive suffering from the click of death without the proper experience or facilities could result in an irreversible hard drive data loss.

Some sources might suggest DIY approaches, such as placing the hard drive in the freezer to bring parts back into alignment or to lubricate a seized spindle motor. It is vital to recognize the difference between older models and modern devices. In short, as drives have evolved, the distance between components has decreased significantly. Even an imperceptible shift can impact the performance of a hard drive. And any condensation can leave harmful residue on the platters. As a result, the real risk for permanent damage outweighs the potential reward.

An exhaustive cleanroom evaluation is the first step in repairing a damaged or defective hard drive. It can be a challenge to diagnose the problem with a modern disk drive and requires a patient, methodical approach.

Hope is not lost!

Although repairing a hard drive’s click of death is unlikely, trained data recovery specialists can salvage the situation. DIY Data recovery software is also available but is not as applicable in cases of a clicking hard drive, as it is more likely to be a hardware issue. It is important to note that continued operation can inflict further damage on the device, jeopardizing the data. Secure Data Recovery engineers utilize custom data recovery software and perform all work inside of certified cleanroom labs to recover data from damaged or defective hard disks with full support for all manufacturers, including Seagate and Western Digital.

With expertise in data structure and systems, hard-disk characteristics, and hardware and software troubleshooting, hard drive recovery remains the best option if the files are irreplaceable.

Data Recovery From Clicking Hard Drives

To recover your data from a clicking hard drive, stop using the hard disk and power it down to maximize your chances of a successful recovery

Do not attempt to open the hard drive without the requisite cleanroom environment or tools, as it could compromise future recovery efforts. The longer the click of death persists, the more complex the data recovery becomes.

Contacting a reputable data recovery service is the best way to preserve your critical files.

At Secure Data Recovery Services, we have a nationwide team of certified technicians with the logical and technical skills to reunite you with your data. And our accredited cleanrooms meet Class 10 ISO 4 standards, ensuring a particle-limited environment that protects your hard drive during physical examination. Learn more about cleanroom data recovery.

While the recovery process can be complicated, it’s simple for our customers. We perform a free evaluation without voiding the manufacturer’s warranty, present you with a no-obligation quote, and provide a recovery guarantee based on our 96% success rate across every manufacturer and operating system. If you decide to proceed, we extract the data from the damaged or defective hard drive and transfer it to a new hard drive.

You are never charged a recovery fee if we cannot successfully restore the data from your hard disk drive.

Call us now at 800-388-1266 for a free consultation.

Article by

T.J. Burlee is a content writer for Secure Data Recovery Services. He specializes in various topics in the data industry, including data recovery technology, storage devices, and digital forensics. Throughout his career, he has covered complex concepts and provided accessible solutions for users. Before joining Secure Data, he worked as a freelance technical writer.

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