Hard drive clicking?

A clicking noise is not something to ignore. Often weird noises can be attributed to the cooling fan which can pick up dust and debris. A failing hard drive is very different.

The noise from a clicking hard drive is attributed to the actuator arm. When healthy, the disk head moves smoothly on this arm. If there’s a fault this becomes erratic and the actuator arm ‘bumps’ back to its parked position.

Most failures are simply attributed to age. Hard drives have a recommended lifespan in terms of hours, but how many users pay any attention to this? They are generally not replaced until they fail.

So how to fix a clicking hard drive?

The bad news is that unless you have the necessary hardware tools, replacement parts and a clean room, this is not something you can do yourself. The hard drive needs to be repaired and then ‘nursed’ through an imaging process.

The repair is carried out in a class 100 clean facility. This ensures that there are no dust particles. To a hard drive, a dust particle is akin to a meteor hitting the earth! Once the replacement heads have been fitted, the hard drive can’t be powered up normally using random access. Specialist software reads the data bit-by-bit and creates an ‘image’ of the data which is served on a replacement healthy hard drive. The data parameters are calculated, and the data restored.

Given the expertise, replacement parts, necessary hardware and software a full recovery is probable. If you are experiencing the dreaded ‘click of death’, cut the power supply immediately…don’t go through the shutdown process. Fingers crossed everything will be recoverable.