How do you fix a clicking hard drive?

If you’re reading this, we think it’s a pretty safe bet that there’s a clicking sound emanating from your hard drive and, if this is the case, you should power the drive down immediately! Here’s why:

Why your hard drive’s clicking

In order to store and retrieve data, all hard drives have a read/write head which, as its name suggests, both writes data to and reads it from the drive. This data is both written to and read from what are referred to as platters, thin discs coated in a magnetic material. Most hard drives contain several platters.

If you hear a clicking sound originating from your PC, laptop or any other device that contains a hard drive, the most logical source of this sound is the read/write head continuously returning to its original starting point because it’s unable to read the data it needs to initialise. As a result of this, it continuously reattempts to fulfil its boot process. This can occur for any number of reasons but the most common are the drive having suffered physical damage, faulty firmware, a problem with the drive’s service area or the read/write head being out of alignment.

Every time the read process is reinitialised, the likelihood of the read/write head failing completely increases and, should this happen, the drive will be unusable until this component has been swapped. Furthermore, in order to replace it, the drive will need to be opened and, as this must be done inside a clean room to prevent the data held on the drive’s platters being lost permanently, swift action is of the essence.

So, how do you retrieve data from a clicking hard drive?

Once a hard drive has uttered the infamous ‘click of death’ it’s only a matter of time before it ceases to function entirely and – if you’re one of the many, many people who haven’t regularly backed up their data – the cost of data recovery is significantly lower when the need to physically open the drive can be avoided.

This is why, in the first instance, we will always look to transfer the data from a failing drive to a brand new one without the need to open it. This can see us employ a multitude of tools and techniques but our goal is always consistent: to recover all of the drive’s data whilst keeping our client’s costs as low as possible. There are times when, in order to recover data, it’s essential that we open up drives in the sterile environment provided by our clean room and, whilst this results in increased costs, it’s something we always avoid unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Why DIY data recovery is a false economy

Because the bill for hard drive repair and data recovery usually runs into several hundred pounds, people regularly attempt DIY recoveries and it has to be said that they produce consistent results: the total and irreversible loss of data.

From the much discussed ‘freezer technique’ to powering up the drive for a short period of time to transfer data and everything in between, DIY data recovery jobs consistently do little more than make existing problems worse.

If your data is truly precious, get in touch with Fields Data Recovery today. 

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