Why has my Hard Drive Stopped Spinning?

If you power up your machine, and you don’t hear the familiar noise of the hard drive spinning, you won’t be able to access the data stored on it or even the operating system. So what could be the cause?

It’s an incredibly common problem – you power up your machine, and your hard drive does absolutely nothing. The usual spinning noise you’d hear upon start-up isn’t there, although you may hear a beeping noise as the platters attempt, and fail, to spin. While it might seem daunting, it doesn’t mean your data is lost forever, and data recovery may certainly be possible. However, the success of data recovery comes down to what you do next – these steps in identifying the issue are crucial.

There are a number of scenarios that can cause a hard drive’s platters to not spin on start-up. Firstly, there could be damage to the printed circuit board (PCB), which is a problem our data recovery team see a lot. However, if you suspect a faulty PCB board, you should under no circumstances attempt to swap the PCB board yourself with one from another drive. Replacing a PCB yourself might result in your data becoming completely unrecoverable. Furthermore, the information on the PCB ‘s controller chip is unique to that drive with a particular firmware. With older hard drives in the late 1990s and earl 2000s, it was possible to simply swap a PCB board from any drive and get it magically working again. But because hard drives now contain unique ‘adaptive data’ stored in the PCB, this is no longer possible.

Another possibility for your hard drive not spinning could be a head crash, which is one of the most common reasons for hard drives not spinning we see in the data recovery lab. Data is written to a hard disk drive onto magnetic platters, and hovering a fraction above these platters are the read/write heads. They should never come into contact with the hard drive’s platters – and if they do, it’s known as a head crash. Sometimes, a head crash won’t be so severe that it will stop the hard drive spinning altogether – you’ll hear it spinning, but there will be a ticking, scratching or clicking noise. On other occasions, the heads could have clamped down so much, the platters won’t even be able to spin.

The third possibility is that the hard disk drive has suffered a motor failure, and like all internal components, the hard drive’s motor is incredibly delicate and prone to damage. A hard drive’s motor can fail due to physical trauma, or it could fail simply due to old age – hard drives have a limited lifespan. The motor is what spins the hard drive’s magnetic platters at speeds of up to 15,000 RPM, so that could be a reason why your hard drive isn’t spinning.

If your hard drive isn’t spinning and you’re worried about your data – don’t be. Data Recovery Specialists are on hand and deal with hard drives that have stopped spinning suddenly daily. Get in touch for a free, no-obligation quote.

Hard Drive Recovery