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Clicking noise is one of the most popular mechanical failures among hard drives. The clicking is an abnormal sign of a physically damaged hard drive that any computer user can notice immediately.

If you own an external hard drive and you hear a hard drive clicking sound, it can be an alarming experience. The hard drive click of death is a common issue that plagues many computer users. It’s a sign that something is wrong with the hard drive, and ignoring it can lead to data loss.

One of the worst things you can do when you hear an external hard drive clicking is to ignore it. The hard drive clicking sound is often an indicator of mechanical failure, which means that the read/write head inside the drive is having trouble reading the data. Continuing to use the drive can cause further damage and can even render the data on the drive irretrievable.

Hard Drive Failure Types

Generally, we split hard drive problems into three categories.

The first category is called logical failures. These include data corruption, data deletion, encryption issues, etc. These kinds of situations happen on physically working hard drives.

The second category is called physical failures, which include a broken USB port, damaged SATA interface, burned PCB, etc.

The third category is mechanical failures, including head failure, motor failures, and platter damage issues. This category comes with the most challenging and time-consuming cases.

Clicking Hard Drive

About 50% of the hard disk drive we receive at the data recovery lab come with clicking problems. A clicking hard drive is always challenging and requires a cleanroom environment, high-precision tools, and experienced data recovery engineers to recover data successfully.

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Cleanroom Environment for Hard Drive Repairs

There are broken parts within the mechanically failed hard drives. So the data recovery technician should identify those parts and replace them to repair the hard drive.

However, the interior part of the hard drive is immaculate, and there are no dust particles. Any dust particles within the hard drive will damage it. 

So while working with the hard drive, the work must be conducted in a cleanroom environment where dust particles do not exist. We do the removal and installation of the hard drive parts only in the cleanroom. It helps us to achieve a 99% success rate and recover all critical customer data.

Another mistake people make is trying to fix the hard drive themselves. Unless you have experience in data recovery, attempting to fix the issue can do more harm than good. Opening the hard drive can expose it to dust, debris, and other contaminants that can cause further damage. It’s best to seek the help of a professional data recovery service to ensure that your data is recovered safely and effectively.

In some cases, people try to fix the hard drive by freezing it. This is not an effective solution and can actually make the problem worse. Freezing the drive can cause condensation to form on the platters, which can damage the drive beyond repair.

Hard Drive Click of Death

But sometimes, before the hard drive gets to us, it goes through a lot. As a result, some customers try to recover data by opening a hard drive at home and playing with internal parts without knowing the risks.

It is not only customers, but some computer repair stores also try to do something, and they open the hard drive in a non-cleanroom environment. But, unfortunately, they do not know that opening the hard drive in a standard room brings many risks to the data recovery process.

They attempt to repair the hard drive without knowing the risks by touching the magnetic surfaces and forcefully moving reading writing heads. Unfortunately, doing this way will not help to get the data off from the clicking hard drive.

There are many amateur hard disk drive repair videos on Youtube that customers and computer repair engineers follow. Unfortunately, as a result, the hard drives get severe damage that professional data recovery companies cannot recover the data.

Recover Clicking Hard Drive

We want to increase awareness about the risks and educate what you should not do when your hard drive makes a clicking sound. Below are some common myths and actions you should not do for mechanically failed hard drives:

Powering On Clicking Hard Drive

The more the hard drive clicks, the more damaged reading heads create physical damage on magnetic surfaces. These heads should never physically contact the platter surface; they float on 100 nanometric layers of air just above the magnetic surfaces. When anything is stuck between the platter and heads, the head assembly will grind off the data from platters physically.

Opening the Hard Drive at Home

A hard drive is a susceptible media storage device. People are curious what things. But being curious and opening the hard drive outside a cleanroom environment will expose external contamination. Dust particles, humidity, or fingerprints can all lead to significant problems. A mechanically failed hard drive requires physical intervention but only in a cleanroom environment.

Putting the Hard Drive into a Freezer

We have heard that customers tried this way. However, this method is a myth, and it will not help you recover data from a clicking hard drive. Instead, it will create additional moisture within the hard drive. So we do not recommend trying this option.

Replacing a Native Printed Circuit Board

When a hard drive collapses and has strange clicking noises, many computer users suggest that the printed circuit bird if the cause of the clicking, but it is not correct. Replacing the native PCB with a compatible donor PCB will worsen the situation.

Modern models of drives store a lot of specific information on the control board, which is why it starts to make fluttering sounds when you try to run it.

The reason for it is that the control board stores unique head adaptive data for the magnetic head assembly and service area addresses. Therefore, even if the PCB is the same model, it will not help to repair the clicking hard drive.

Hard Drive PCB Recovery and Repair

Most Common Reasons Why Hard Drives Click

  • reading writing heads damaged due to physical damage
  • water damage inside of the hard drive
  • amplifier failure of the magnetic head assembly
  • strong magnetic impact on hard drives
  • PCB failures

What to Do if Your Hard Drive Clicks

If you suddenly hear that your hard drive makes a clicking noise, we recommend disconnecting it and taking it professional data recovery company to recover data. Please note that repairing modern clicking hard drives is not possible. Data recovery companies can only recover and transfer data to another brand-new hard drive.

If you’re experiencing an external hard drive clicking, the best thing to do is to turn off the drive immediately and seek the help of a professional data recovery service. They can diagnose the problem and provide the best course of action for recovering your data. Ignoring the hard drive click of death can lead to permanent data loss, so it’s important to act quickly.

PITS Global Data Recovery Services offers a risk-free evaluation and fast shipping to its customers nationwide. We will recover your critical data from a broken hard drive with professional data recovery tools with the help of certified experts in advanced lab facilities.

You can fill out a request help form to inquire about our evaluation services or call us at (888) 611-0737.

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