Beeping or Buzzing Hard Drive? Causes and How to Fix it

Beeping or Buzzing Hard Drive? Causes and How to Fix it

Have you ever heard that your hard drive is beeping? If you haven’t, lucky you. The beeping inside your hard drive means that your disk is struggling to read and write data (struggling to spin, the drive needs to gain the required speed to start reading the data). This is considered a potential data loss problem, and it gets worse if affected hard drives are not treated in a professional manner.

Unfortunately, there are not any beep codes for hard drives, regardless of what vendor they are. This means all disks have some common root causes and potential fixes. These beeping sounds might occur because of a different reason such as damaged read/write heads, seized disk platters, seized/stuck/burned-out spindle motor hub, or even shorted PCB (this is a very rare case, but it could happen). In a normal operational situation, the read/write head is supposed to be in a “parking area”. The buzzing/beeping sounds come when the read/write head is in the wrong position, or to be precise, when it is stuck on the platters.

There are a few fixes you can try on your own, but we at Platinum Data Recovery do recommend you look for a professional data recovery service.

DIY (Do It Yourself)

Fixing the broken stuff by yourself was always an interesting task. Don’t you agree? Whatever your answer is, things are very much different when it comes to faulty hard drives. Before taking any further actions on beeping hard disk, you should be aware that a huge risk is involved and that you might permanently lose your data. There is less than a 20% of chance to fix it using any of the DIY methods. And you will see why.

First and foremost, if your hard drive produces a beeping sound, you should immediately, turn your computer off or disconnect the hard drive from the motherboard (if possible) or if you are using the external drive, remove the USB cable and power cord (if any). Running a beeping hard drive can overwhelm and burn internal components. When the buzzing hard drive is running, the motor is trying to spin the drive. The read/write will be stuck on the platters, and that will result in damaging the platters because read/write is being dragged over the platters.

This decreases the possibility of recovering your private and/or business data even to data recovery professionals.

This is a physical problem, which means no data recovery software can help you to fix it. Any vendor claiming that their software product can solve a beeping problem is not necessarily true.

If you decide to open your hard drive and fix some of the hardware components, please don’t. The hard drive has four main components inside its casing including the platter (for storing data), the spindle (for spinning the platters), the read/write arm (for reading and writing data), the actuator (for controlling the actions of the read/write arm) and PCB (allows electricity to pass between various components).

This problem can occur on the internal and external hard disks. When it comes to the internal hard disk installed in computers or notebooks, there are two things you can try. The first one is replacing IDE/SATA cable/s with a new one. If this doesn’t help, and you have a spare power supply, you could replace it and verify if you are maybe having a problem with lack of power.

In DIY environments, one of the challenges users experience is to move read/write heads when they are stuck. When users try to move read/write heads, the end of the actuator arm gets bent. That is a bad situation because when users turn on the hard drive, read/write head will, instead of hovering over the platter, scratch the platter and potentially make data unrecoverable. To be more optimistic, partially recoverable, and very expensive.

If you are experiencing buzzing/beeping sounds with the external hard disk you can try the following solutions:

  • Verify if your external disk is working properly – you can easily do it by using IDE/SATA USB adapter. You need to connect your disk to the adapter and then the adapter to your computer or notebook. If you don’t have the external adapter, you can remove your disk for its case and connect it directory to your motherboard using IDE/SATA cables and power supply.
  • Use proper cables and power supply adapters (older disk models) – every storage manufacturer recommends using only original cables and/or power adapters that come with the disk or that can be purchased as a part of the disk. Not only that you need to avoid third-party USB cables, but you should also avoid using cables that are longer (e.g. 3 m) than recommended. Older external disks come with a dedicated power adapter. You should only use original ones, and not third-party, also called universal power adapters. The diagnosis you might try to do with third-party cables or adapters wouldn’t be very promising and valuable.
  • Check your power socket – Check if your power socket or power hub can deliver enough power to your external disk.

How do data recovery professionals fix beeping hard drives?

Every single job that involves opening a case is done in the certified clean room. These rooms are equipped with all hardware and technologies that help to recover data from faulty hard drives. If a single grain of dust enters the magnetic plates (normal case in non-clean rooms) that can damage the mechanism and cause the read/write heads to touch the platter surface and permanently destroy and loss of the data. We at Data Platinum Recovery have ISO 5 class 100 certified clean room to perform all types of data recoveries.

Once the data recovery professional diagnoses a problem, they will replace broken components with healthy ones and make a disk clone before any further operations on the original disk. In other words, data professionals will remove read/write heads without dragging them over the platter by using special data recovery tools. And then, in the next step, they will install a new healthy read/write heads from the same disk model, part number, close manufacture date, etc.

Due to the fact that the read/write head was stuck on the platter, there is a possibility that a small area of the drive could be damaged. In that case, data professionals will extract all the sectors around that area and then work with the damaged area. We already mentioned that for this kind of physical problem, using data recovery software is not very helpful. The software will continuously try to read from the faulty area and that will additionally damage the drive.

You need to admit, this would be very challenging in DIY environments. Agree?

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