Hard Drive Recovery Associates

Hard Drive Clicking Noises – Causes?

Call now for expert help with your clicking hard drive:


No matter which brand of hard drive you own, a clicking sound is usually a sign that your data is in grave danger. This hard disk based noise, which can also sound like a “buzzing”, can be a major sign indicating that your hard disk is going to crash. So, your question may be, what if my laptop/desktop’s drive is making this sound? Here’s the answer:

hdcnFirst, it’s important to mention that the hard disk clicking noise is internal, and 99 times out of 100 means that the drive will be dead within the next 7 days. It is NOT repairable for long term use, at least not without professional tools.

Naturally, saving a mechanical hard drive should not be your focus here. Nowadays, most drives are very cheap, and non-SSD drives tend to have huge capacities, for an extremely low cost-per-GB.

Your focus when you have a clicking or degrading drive should be to back up all of your data (external USB-connected hard drives are very good for this) right away. Your main backup locations for a Windows PC usually include My Documents and the files on your desktop. Back those up while you still can. Once you have backed up all of your data, you can simply replace your hard drive and move on from this difficult situation, without any major problems.

What If You’re Too Late?

Unfortunately, often a clicking hard drive can be a signal of immediate failure. This is just a fact of life. While some hard drives do hang on for a while, that click is a signal telling you that this drive’s time as a functioning storage device is over. So if your drive cannot be seen by your computer, and for example stops your computer from booting (starting), you’ll probably need professional help to get back what is on your drive.

Go here to get a free hard drive assessment, or call our 24 hour toll free helpline at the number above.

Example Drive Failure Messages Include:

  • Disk Not Found
  • No Hard Disk Found
  • Disk Boot Failure – Insert System Disk
  • Hard Disk Not Detected
  • Or other messages similar to this…

If you cannot back up your data because the disk is inaccessible, your best bet is simply to power down your system. The quicker you get a clicking or failing hard drive to a professional data recovery service, the lower the cost for complete data recovery. This is simply because the click you are hearing may in fact be your drive’s mechanical parts colliding with each other. What this means is that the longer the device is experiencing these issues, the worse the damage becomes.

Can I Get The Data On My Drive By Myself?

Well, there is one last thing you can try. You can remove your hard drive from your PC and connect it to a USB hard drive enclosure case (2.5″ form factor for laptops, 3.5″ for desktops). If it turns out that your drive is inaccessible mainly because of Operating System issues, you should be able to copy files from the USB enclosure to another computer.

We would warn, however, that the hard disk clicking sound you’ve experienced (and that likely brought you here) means you have a hardware failure, and using an enclosure will not help.

In the end, getting a professional opinion is best. (Why be uncertain about your precious data when a quick call can help you keep your data safe?)

How Do I Recover A Clicking Hard Disk Drive?


Well, the best way to answer this question is simply to tell you what you should NOT do. First of all, despite some sites claiming it can be done, the hard drive freezer trick (see here) is a bad, bad idea. We’re not sure where this mythology came from, but what we can tell you is that it usually only serves to make your data more difficult to recover.

This is because the number one cause of that “click” is misaligned internal parts. This, of course, is a huge and potentially damaging problem. Meanwhile, the Freezer Trick takes an already toxic hard drive situation and makes it worse by exposing the drive to moisture and contracting and expanding metal parts.

So what you’re doing in this case is taking a badly aligned mechanical device, and making it much, much worse.

Not The Time For Do It Yourself
Secondly, the most important thing to remember is that a hard drive should not be physically opened if it’s not in a sterilized environment. At HDRA, we only open drives in a specialized clean room, which ensures that no dirt or dust can contaminate your drive’s platters.

Everyday we receive calls from people who have tried to “pop open the hood” on their drive. In most cases, we simply refuse to take these drives. We have found that in most cases, they are simply not worth recovering. The amount of damage created by exposing a hard disk to an unclean environment makes recovery a very difficult task.

Replacing The PCB Board?

Although there are many Youtube videos claiming that swapping out your hard drive’s PCB board is a great idea, we would wholeheartedly disagree.

First of all, finding the exact match for your hard drive is simply not easy – the esoteric nature of finding and ordering a PCB is very difficult for most users. Secondly, even if you find the correct PCB for your particular drive model (and make no mistake, it must be the EXACT PCB), there’s something you should know:

We, as professional hard drive recovery technicians, RARELY replace PCB boards when the drive has clicking symptoms. So if a professional doesn’t bother with this, why would you?

When a hard drive fails, do the right thing:

Get Smart, Find An Expert

Again, your best move is always to contact an expert. The technicians at Hard Drive Recovery Associates are trained to minimize the cost and hassle of recovering your data. Often, a simple, free phone call can mean the difference between a free, easy recovery, and an expensive, multi-week data disaster.

So make it easy on yourself… Call us now, or give us an in depth idea of your issue here.

Hard Drive Recovery Associates
12 Mauchly #7
Irvine, CA, USA
Local: (949) 258-9465
Toll Free: 1-877-443-2821