The Most Common Causes for a Clicking Hard Drive

If your hard drive is making odd sounds, it’s possibly the click of death. But what’s this unusual noise and why your hard drive is making it? Let’s find out!

The hard drive is undeniably the heart and soul of computers. It is your PC’s hard drive that stores all your valuable documents, pictures, music files, videos and a lot of other important data. Considering the crucial function performed by a hard drive, it’s imperative to keep your drive in top working condition. And that’s why a strange clicking noise coming from your hard drive is a serious matter of concern.

The modern hard drives are designed and manufactured in a way to stay quiet. So, if you hear any unusual clicking noises, it makes sense to start worrying. If your hard drive is new and you’re noticing odd sounds, it is a sign of hard drive damage and an imminent crash. A hard drive may start making clicking sound for a variety of reasons. So, understanding the cause of this sound can help you identify the problem. By identifying the exact cause, you can take the right step to make your hard drive functioning again or at least recover the valuable data from it.

Most of the time, a hard drive clicking noise is linked to the defective movement of the disk’s read-write actuator. A hard drive may also start clicking if it has been dropped, moistened, exposed to fire, or subjected to high magnetic fields.  Firmware failure and PCB damage are also responsible for making your hard drive start clicking.

There are several reasons also that may cause a clicking sound. An experienced hard drive recovery specialist can determine the cause by listening to the type of clicking. Here are some common causes of hard drive clicking.

Power Failure or Surge

A power surge is a common cause of hard drive failure. When the drive is in motion, a power surge can damage both the PCB (Printed Circuit Board) and the HSA (Head Stack Assembly). Due to this reason, it’s vital to connect your PC with a reliable surge protector. It is best to invest in a good UPS to prevent this from happening. Hard drives may also get damaged due to an insufficient supply of power from a defective power supply unit. To prevent this issue, you may use an alternate power supply.

Misaligned read/write heads

If not handled properly, the read and write heads may get damaged or misaligned. If the heads or spindle arms of the drive can get misaligned, the drive may start producing a clicking sound. The read/write heads also get worn out over time due to dirt and dust accumulation. When this happens then also the read and write heads can fall out of alignment.

Damaged Platters

When a platter is damaged or scratched, the drive will make odd noises. When platter gets damaged, it hinders the operations of the actuator arm which constantly swings back and forth to find an intact platter. If your drive is making noise due to this reason, you’ll need the assistance of a qualified data recovery expert. This is because repairing and retrieving data from a scratched platter is quite complicated.