Is the hard drive on your computer acting up? Making clicking or beeping noises? There are several ways in which that may develop. Unfortunately, there is no real easy do-it-yourself solution. Even if you have seen some online tutorials, when your computer has a hard drive beeping or clicking, it spells trouble but is not exactly the end of the world.
Before we look at the three main reasons why your hard drive may be clicking, let’s look at some of the causes. After all, your computer didn’t just decide to give you a problem when you need it the most. Although they are well constructed and contained inside a protective case, hard drives are actually quite fragile and can be damaged in several ways including the following:
It happens. Sometimes you may drop a hard drive when moving it from one location to another. It may also be knocked over and this can create a hard drive clicking noise. Any kind of trauma to the housing that holds the hard drive can potentially damage it.
Firmware is basically the software required to operate your hardware. If your hard drive firmware has become corrupted in some way, there is a possibility that it can mess up how it makes your hard drive function. Regular firmware updates can help prevent this.
Have you ever wondered why surge protectors were invented? If you do not have your computer system connected to some kind of surge protection, you risk damage to hard drives and most other components. A power surge, even minor, can destroy delicate electronics.
The service area in which your hard drive sits inside of your tower or laptop can become damaged or dirty. Essentially your hard drive requires a clean space to operate properly. Trauma to the casing can affect the service area space causing the hard drive to act up.
Head-Stack Failure & Misalignment
The reading and writing heads do get worn out over time. Dirt, dust, and debris that collect over time will also have an effect on the lifespan of these finicky little things. Once they start to wear, they have difficulty doing their job and can damage a hard drive as a result. The reading and writing heads can fall out of alignment in many different ways. Being dropped or otherwise man-handled can knock heads out of their proper placement. When this happens, they have difficulty operating properly and require proper alignment.
But What About The Actual Hard Drive Clicking?
We did say there are three main reasons why the hard drive may be clicking or beeping. Now that you have a better understanding of what causes this problem, let’s look at the technical reasons for that clicking to take place.
Reason #1 – Not Powering Up
When the hard drive does not receive enough power to fully spin up to speed, it will try to spin up with the level of power available. The hard drive may attempt to do this several times hitting different speeds but not full speed. This produces the clicking or beeping sounds as the hard drive tries to power up. As this may be a problem related to the printed circuit board of the hard drive or maybe even the hard drive enclosure (in external drives) you will need professional assistance to correct this. Plus, as soon as you recognize the clicking or beeping sounds as a hard drive issue, stop trying to power it up. In fact, disconnect the power source to prevent further damage from occurring.
Reason #2 – Head Stack Failure
This is a good news/bad news problem. The bad news is that when the read and write heads weaken or are worn (as noted above) they fail to do their jobs properly and create a clicking noise. This is a serious problem that requires the use of clean room facility. In the dust-free environment, a new set of heads would be installed and data recovery could proceed. The good news is that although this particular repair is time-consuming and can cost more than other hard drive failure types, this is cause for about 60-percent of the repairs required for hard drives.
Reason #3 – Platter Scratches
A scratched platter will always, always cause a hard drive to beep or click. There is no nice way of saying it. A scratched platter is the most complicated of the repairs to a hard disk drive. It requires a special surface treatment to clean the platter of debris, that awill also reduce the success rate of data recovery. There is some good news, though. As traumatizing as a scratched platter may be, a qualified data recovery expert can provide some relief. With proper surface treatment and correct head stack replacement, some of the data stored can still be recovered.
Hard Drive Clicking Repair Is Not A DIY Job
Hard drives are durable but they need to be taken care of when in use. While accidents do happen and hard drives can be dropped or damaged from power surges, there are solutions to data recovery. However, the success rate of that recovery improves greatly if you do not attempt to do the work yourself and put your trust in a professional; recovery specialist. Do not attempt to open your hard drive for any reason whatsoever. You risk causing more damage to the data and the hard drive assembly. The next time you hear hard drive beeping or clicking noises, shut off the power to the unit and seek professional assistance.