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How to Recover Data From a Clicking Hard Drive

How to Recover Data From a Clicking Hard Drive

When your hard drive starts making that dreaded clicking noise, a wave of panic can instantly hit you, especially if you haven’t backed up your data. As someone who has experienced the trepidation of hard drive failure, I understand the importance of ensuring your precious data is not lost forever. This article will explore whether it’s possible to recover data from a clicking hard drive and will provide a detailed guide on how to do so, using a popular software called Disk Drill.


Common Scenarios:

Accidental Drops & Bumps 🛠

  • Physical damage from accidental drops or bumps can cause the hard drive’s read/write heads to misalign, leading to that clicking sound.
  • Immediate power off is essential to prevent further damage.
  • Opening the hard drive outside of a professional cleanroom is not recommended due to risk of dust particles.

Wear & Tear Over Time

  • Continuous use over several years can lead to components wearing out, resulting in the click of death.
  • It may occur sporadically at first but can become more frequent if not addressed.
  • A professional evaluation is advised to determine if data recovery is possible.

Power Surges & Outages 🌩

  • An unexpected power surge or outage can cause your hard drive to click due to abrupt stoppage or electrical damage.
  • A surge protector is recommended to minimize such risks.
  • It’s important to assess whether the drive’s electronics or other components are affected.

Step-by-Step Guide. Recover Data From Clicking Hard Drive:

Method 1: Immediate Actions 🚨

  • Immediately power off your computer or external hard drive to prevent further damage.
  • Disconnect the hard drive and avoid moving it to prevent the heads from scratching the platters.
  • Refrain from repeatedly powering on the drive in a bid to access the data.

Note: These steps are crucial for minimizing further damage to the hard drive and potentially losing more data.

Conclusion: In some cases, these immediate actions may allow the drive to be recognized long enough for data recovery in subsequent steps.

Method 2: Use Disk Drill Software 💻

  • Download and install Disk Drill from the official website:
  • Connect the clicking hard drive to another computer as an external drive.
  • Launch Disk Drill and select the clicking hard drive for recovery.
  • Click Search for lost data and wait for the scan to complete.
  • Review the found files, select the ones you need, and click Recover.

Note: Disk Drill’s effectiveness will depend on the extent of damage to the hard drive. If the drive is not recognized by the software, professional data recovery services may be required.

Conclusion: Using data recovery software like Disk Drill can be an effective solution for logical damage, but may not work for severe physical damage.

Method 3: Professional Data Recovery Services 👨

  • Research reputable data recovery services with experience in handling physically damaged drives.
  • Contact the service provider and describe the issue with your hard drive.
  • Follow the service provider’s instructions for shipping or dropping off your hard drive.

Note: Professional data recovery services can be costly but are often the only option for severe physical damage.

Conclusion: This should be considered as a last resort if other methods fail, as professional services often have a higher success rate for recovery.


Precautions and Tips:

Preventive Measures 🛡

  • Regularly backup your data to avoid the risk of loss due to hard drive failure.
  • Use surge protectors to shield your computer from electrical damage.
  • Handle all storage devices with care to prevent drops and bumps.
  • Pay attention to early warning signs such as slower performance and strange noises from the drive.

Understanding Hard Drive Failures

Hard drives are delicate instruments that store our most valuable data. They consist of platters, read/write heads, and a spindle motor, which all work in tandem to store and retrieve data. Physical damage, wear and tear, power issues, and manufacturing defects can all lead to a hard drive failure, commonly signaled by a clicking noise.

While the clicking sound is often an indicator of a severe issue, not all clicking hard drives are beyond repair. Sometimes, the issue may be caused by a faulty cable or an easily solvable power supply problem. Before declaring the data lost, it’s worth trying different cables or connecting the hard drive to another computer.

However, if the drive is still clicking, it is either a problem with the drive’s firmware or a mechanical issue. The firmware – the drive’s built-in software that controls its operations – can become corrupted, causing the drive’s heads to fail to find the data, leading to the clicking sound. Mechanical issues could be anything from a damaged head assembly to spindle motor problems. These problems are more serious and will likely require professional attention.

The risk of data loss due to hard drive failure can be mitigated by practicing regular data backups, preferably in multiple locations including cloud storage. It’s also advisable to use hard drives within their recommended operational parameters to avoid premature failure.

For more information on how hard drives function and tips on preventive maintenance, please visit the StorageCraft Blog and the BackBlaze Hard Drive Stats.


In conclusion, a clicking hard drive can induce a state of panic, but there are methods you can try to recover your precious data. Immediate actions, software like Disk Drill, and professional data recovery services can make the difference between lost data and a successful recovery. Prevention is always better than cure, so take the necessary steps to protect your data before disaster strikes. Don’t forget to stay informed and educated on the subject by visiting authoritative resources such as Data Recovery Group or the HGST Drive Assessment Guide.


Immediately power down the computer to prevent further damage. Avoid rebooting and do not attempt to open the hard drive or recover data yourself.

Software solutions are generally ineffective for physical damage. Clicking noises usually indicate mechanical issues that software cannot resolve.

No, freezing a hard drive is an old myth and can cause condensation, leading to more damage and reducing the chances of successful data recovery.

A clean room is a dust-free environment where professionals disassemble and work on damaged hard drives to safely recover data without contaminants.

DIY methods are not recommended as they can exacerbate the damage. Professional data recovery services have the appropriate tools and expertise.

Look for services with positive reviews, a track record of success, and transparent pricing. They should also offer a no-data, no-charge guarantee.

Success rates vary depending on the extent of damage, but immediate action and professional services increase the odds of recovering your data.

The cost can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the complexity of the recovery process and the damage severity.

Explain the circumstances of the failure, any previous recovery attempts, and the importance of specific data needing recovery to aid the process.

Yes, you can visit the ACE Laboratory for professional insights or DriveSavers for recovery services.