Clicking Hard Drive Recovery Is Difficult? Absolutely No

Hard Drive Is Clicking, Now What

Case 1:

"I have a failing HDD...keeps making clicking noise and I just want to know if I should create a system image even though the HDD is clicking? Should I just backup anyways since it's failing anyways?? I have 250gb I want to backup and that can take quite a while to backup to my external drive...about 30 to 45mins while the fail drive clicks away. Should I just proceed and hope for the best?"
– by f12ostii at Tom's Hardware

Case 2:

"My external hard drive made by Toshiba started making clicking sound and I am unable to recover data. I am looking for a possible solution. Geek Squad quoted me a price range for the work $250-$500 and no guarantee of data recovery. I appreciate any help I can get. Thank you."
– by triveak at Tom's Hardware

Is any one of those familiar to you? We typed "clicking hard drive" in Google and found about 4,380,000 results within 1 second. What does this mean? It's clear that a large number of people care about this. Many of them find their hard drive making clicking noise and some of them are even suffering from hard drive click of death.

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At this critical moment, what should they do? We have 2 suggestions on this:

a). transfer/backup data from clicking hard drive quickly if the clicking hard drive still works;
b). carry out clicking hard drive recovery as soon as possible.

Your hard drive is dying; you must speed up to rescue your valuable data!

We strongly recommend MiniTool Power Data Recovery for clicking hard drive data recovery on Windows. This is a program chosen by over 1 million people, so you have nothing to worry about. And it can help you finish clicking hard drive repair only in a few simple steps (no professional knowledge is required). You can download the free edition to experience yourself and then make your decision on whether you'd like to buy it or not.

Note: the free edition of Power Data Recovery has a 1GB free data recovery limit. A license purchase is necessary to break that limit.

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After telling you the ways to recover clicking hard drive, we'll focus on the causes for clicking hard drive noises. And at the end of this passage, we'll list some common mistakes people often make after hearing clicking noise.

Useful Methods for Clicking Hard Drive Recovery

After finding your hard drive is making a clicking noise, you should stop using it for other purposes immediately, except for hard drive crash recovery. Avoid any changes that could bring secondary damage to your valuable data on clicking drive and start recovery immediately by following the tutorials given below.

Here, we'll mainly discuss how to recover data from clicking hard drive in 2 different situations.

Situation 1 – How to Fix a Clicking Internal Hard Drive

As we have mentioned at the beginning of this passage, you may also encounter this: hard drive is clicking but still works. Under this circumstance, making a quick move to transfer/backup data is way better than trying to fix clicking hard drive at once.

But in fact, hard drive clicking and won't boot is the most common symptom we can see when the internal & bootable hard disk is corrupted. People can't boot into system, losing access to all data in internal hard disk, this may drive them crazy. But calm down, here's an easy way out.

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Follow this tutorial to finish clicking hard drive repair with Power Data Recovery:

Part 1 – create a bootable CD/DVD or USB disk.

Step 1: acquire Power Data Recovery Boot Disk by purchasing a license which includes a snap-in media builder on a computer that works well.

Step 2: make a bootable CD/USB disc with the MiniTool Media Builder (which is included in the installation folder of MiniTool Power Data Recovery V7.5 – Registered):

  • Find and open the installation folder. Then, double click on "MTMediaBuilder" application.
  • Select media type, choose media destination (you should connect the CD/DVD or USB flash drive to computer before this step or during this step & click on "Refresh").

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  • Wait for the building process to finish automatically.
  • When the disc has been made successfully, you should click on the “Finish” button in the lower right corner.
  • Take out the bootable CD/DVD or eject the bootable USB device and then connect it to the target computer (which has clicking hard drive and can’t be started successfully).

Part 2 – boot from the boot disk you've just made.

Step 3: restart your computer and press corresponding button (if you don't the exact button, please search your computer models in Google) to enter BIOS settings. Adjust the USB drive to be the first boot device under "Boot" option. Then, save changes and exit.

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Step 4: after waiting for a while, you'll see the following interface. Now, please select the first option to launch the data recovery software.

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Then, you’ll see its main interface and you should choose “Damaged Partition Recovery” here (or choose “Lost Partition Recovery” when you need to recover data from a partition disappeared unexpectedly). After that, please complete the hard drive click of death recovery by looking at the operation tips in each interface.

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Note: if you have a second system installed on another hard drive connecting to the same computer, you can choose to boot the computer from the other system and then perform failed hard drive recovery just by treating it as an external hard drive.

This also works when you desire to know how to recover data from laptop hard drive that won't boot.

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Situation 2 – How to Fix a Clicking External Hard Drive

In contrast, hard drive clicking and not detected turns into the most common symptom when it is the external hard drive that has been damaged somehow. When your external hard drive starts to make clicking noise and becomes not able to be detected on Windows, you should firstly try to figure out whether it is really not detected (check in Disk Management).

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You should read the "Can't See External Hard Drive in Computer" part of Recover Files From Dead External Hard Drive With Actionable Way to know possible causes for this and read the "How to Recover Files from Dead External Hard Drive" part to know exact steps to recover data from it.

When you encounter hard drive click of death on the external drive that can be found in Windows Disk Management, you can easily recover data from it with free edition of MiniTool Power Data Recovery.

Follow this tutorial to finish failed hard drive recovery with Power Data Recovery:

Step 1: download free edition of Power Data Recovery to local disk or another removable disk.

Step 2: launch this software and choose "Damage Partition Recovery" (or choose "Lost Partition Recovery" if you found a whole partition is missing) from main window.

Step 3: select the target drive to scan by clicking on "Full Scan" button.

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Step 4: look through the found files at the end of scan and pick out the ones you need to recover from clicking hard drive. Then, press "Save" button and choose a safe storage path for them.

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Note: if the size of files you selected to recover exceeds 1GB, you'll be asked to provide a license to upgrade your software from free edition so as to continue recovery. At this time, you can save the scan result by pressing "Export Scan Result".

After upgrading your software to an advanced edition, you can choose to run software -> open "Damaged Partition Recovery" -> click "Load manually saved scan result" to access your last scan result and then continue recovery.

Some people would suggest repairing clicking hard drive by opening it in dust-free environment. But we don't think it is a good idea for mainly 3 reasons:
  • Opening hard drive requires very professional and careful operations to avoid any errors.
  • Hard drive opening doesn't guarantee 100% of data recovery, so even data recovery expert could fail.
  • Once the drive is opened, it will never be trust worthy again.

As a result, you don't necessarily have to and you're not suggested to open hard drive to recover data off when hearing clicking noise.

The Most Possible Causes for Clicking Hard Drive Noises

Basically, the clicking noise on a hard drive is also known as hard drive click of death, it means that the System Area cannot be read anymore (the SA is set aside by manufacturer for the purpose of storing critical parameters; it contains very useful information necessary for the normal usage of drive).

But what are the specific reasons for causing this? After a series of researches, we found following 4 possible causes, please read them carefully if you're stuck in hard drive making clicking noise issue.

Cause 1 – Head Is Dead

Magnetic head in a hard disk is also known as a read/write head or RW head. According to Wikipedia, head is the small part of a disk drive that moves above the disk platter and transforms the platter's magnetic field into electrical current (read the disk) or, vice versa, transforms electrical current into magnetic field (write the disk).

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So once the hard disk head is damaged, data read and write will become impossible. There're 4 reasons to explain why a head stops working:
  • Aging of head: the magnetic head may become aging with hard disk reaches its service life; the head may also become aging abnormally due to hard disk design defects.
  • Broken of head: when hard disk falls to the ground, its magnetic head inside is likely to crash against the platter, resulting in irreversible physical damage.
  • Damage of head: the magnetic head is easy to fall victim to unexpected water or fire.
  • Misalignment of head: if the head in a hard disk is out of alignment, clicking noise will also be generated.

Cause 2 – Preamplificator Is Dead

There's a small component, located on the head of hard drive, called preamplificator (or preamplifier/preamp). It is used to simplify the signal read by head (since data are often encoded as sound wave, a preamp is required to decode the signal).

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Preamplificator is easy to be damaged if the heat is too high or the hard disk is suffering from a shock. Once it is dead, data read and write will be affected and clicking noise will appear.

Cause 3 – SA Is Corrupted or Scratched

As we said before, the SA (System Area) of hard drive is used to storing critical parameters and useful information which is needed for the normal usage of drive. Obviously, normal usage of disk (like data read) will be affected if you have a corrupted/scratched SA.

When that happens, you can turn to MiniTool Power Data Recovery or a live PCB swap for data recovery.

Cause 4 – Firmware Is Damaged

Firmware is also another indispensable part of hard drive. When your hard drive firmware is not updated or damaged due to uncertain reasons, you may also hear clicking noise coming from hard drive. A PCB swap (replacement) may work for firmware issue on PCB; it is adopted by most people stuck in PCB firmware problem.

Mistakes People Often Make after Finding Clicking Hard Drive

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1. Restart computer repeatedly: when the computer can't boot or the hard disk can't be identified, most people will choose to restart the computer repeatedly, wishing to see hard disk self-healing after a certain restart.

But the probability of this thing happening is very small. On the contrary, if you keep trying to restart for a long time, you may lead to scratches on platter because of long-time contact between head & platter, thus affecting the data recovery effect.

Note: the result would be exactly the same if you choose to power on the hard disk for a long time.

2. Copy data forcibly from all hard drives: current high-capacity hard disk is equipped with multi-disc and multi-head, and the possibility of all heads on the same head assembly damaged at the same time is very small.

When a single head is damaged, the hard drive can often be identified and you can read the data directory structure. If you choose to copy data forcibly, crash or blue screen may be caused; if you do not turn off it in time, the damaged head may continue to scratch the platter.

3. Open the hard drive casually: just like we said before, some people prefer to open hard drive to recover data and repair disk. But the problem is we can hardly find a proper environment to finish this operation. Therefore, irreversible damage will be generated, making both data recovery and further use of hard disk impossible.

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After reading this page, you need to understand 2 things:

a). Hard drive is making clicking noise sometimes because of different failures.
b). Clicking hard drive recovery is not impossible; you can even finish it by yourself independently.

When you hear a sudden clicking noise, you could try to copy data off hard drive quickly to rescue important files. But when you hear a lasting clicking noise, you'd better give up this idea and turn to MiniTool Power Data Recovery to do a complete file recovery from clicking drive.

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