The Most Common Causes for a Clicking Hard Drive

The Most Common Causes for a Clicking Hard Drive

External Hard disk drive connect to laptop

If you’re reading this, probably the hard drive inside your computer is making clicking or beeping noises. This is a common problem that may develop due to several reasons. With technological developments, the hard drives manufactured today are much improved in terms of storage capacity, speed, compact size, etc. But since they are heavily used, the issue of clicking noise still persists due to any physical damages or logical corruption.

Hard disk drives are one of the most important parts of your computer. They store all of your valuable documents, pictures, music files, videos on your computer. There are actually different reasons for different clicking sounds and you need to understand what’s happening in your hard drive. The older hard drives, either external hard drive or internal, have the tendency to create clicking sounds, but in case of a new hard drive, there could be different reasons for this problem.

Reasons for a clicking Hard Drive

The cause of clicking noise can be traced by first understanding the disk read/write head. The read/write head hovers over a hard drive’s platters and if those platters get damaged, such as a head crash, the read/write head is unable to perform its tasks. The most common causes of clicking noise of a hard drive are:

  • Wear and Tear
  • Power Surge
  • Physical Damage
  • Electrical Problems
  • Read/Write Head Misalignment
  • Service Area Issue
  • Damaged Disc Platter
  • Manufacturer’s Defect

Wear and Tear: The problem with heads, the magnetic parts on a hard drive, is one of the major reasons for clicking. Both bad and degraded heads are responsible for creating odd sounds. When a new drive starts clicking, usually within first two months of use, it indicates a bad head due to a manufacturers’ defect. On the other hand, with continuous use, heads start degrading. After two years or more, a hard disk failure is linked to its degraded health due to old age. A problem with new bad head leads to sudden hard drive failure, while a degraded head is likely to give warnings.

Power Surge: Another common cause of unusual clicking sound is related to power supply. When you have connected multiple devices to a single port, the insufficient power supply leads to creating noise on the hard drive. On the other hand, power surges can damage both the PCB (Printed Circuit Board) and the HSA (Head Stack Assembly) while it is in motion. To prevent this, invest in a good UPS.

Service Area Issue: Sometimes, there can also be a problem with the Service Area of a hard drive. It is similar to an OS for a computer and any damage to it may produce clicking noise due to bad modules. A corrupted Service Area needs both logical and physical data recovery work.

Physical Damage: If accidentally you have dropped a hard drive when moving it from one location to another, it starts making noise. The clicking noise, in this case, is due to misaligned HGA (Head Gimbal Assembly) which results in damaging the HSA (Head Stack Assembly).

Manufacturer’s Defect: Sometimes, hard drives also make noise and prematurely fail due to manufacturing errors or faulty parts. Moreover, using long USB cable or any issue with the firmware can degrade the performance of hard drive. If your new hard drive is making noises, then most probably it’s because of the manufacturer’s defect or long USB cable. If wrong or too long USB cable is used, the signals tend to degrade and the system fails to sync with the hard drive.

These were the most common causes of clicking sound produced by hard drives. Now that you know the reasons, it’s important to know what to do. If the hard drive begins clicking, power down your computer. The longer you leave the drive running, the more likely damage will be done to the hard drive’s platters, making data recovery more difficult. To address clicking noise and recover lost data, a professional data recovery service is the only resort. The professionals use special tools to ensure that you get your data back in the most cost-effective way possible.