Clicking Hard Drive Repair

We often receive hard drives where the report is that the drive is making a repetitive clicking sound, much louder and more regular than normal. This is sometimes known colloquially as the “click of death” and usually involves a fairly loud click every second or so.

This clicking noise is causes by the hard drive’s head assembly arm undergoing a regular motion as it unsuccessfully seeks for the track on the drive. The click occurs when the arm hits the end stop which prevents the arm from moving the head off the hard drive surface.

The most common cause of this clicking is head failure. This means that in order to recover the data the hard drive must be disassembled in a clean room, so that the head can be swapped with a working one, or the platter transplanted into a new working hard drive.

Recovery prospects are good, and the chances are that if the swap is successful, a complete recovery will be likely. However, recovery is not certain because in some cases of head failure, the head can impact the platter causing surface damage and contamination. In these cases we will check the platter first to determine whether there is any visible damage. Where damage is localised, it may be possible to recover data from the undamaged part of the platter, but this does depend on the severity of the damage.

If you hear a hard drive making a regular clicking noise, it is best to turn off the computer immediately, as leaving the hard drive powered up may result in platter damage. Powering down the hard drive maximises the chance of recovery, and the hard drive should not be turned on again, but should be delivered to Cambridge Data Recovery. We will begin the cleanroom repair and recovery process and, if possible, let you know what can be recovered from the drive within a few days so you can decide whether or not to proceed with the recovery.