When you hear a weird sound coming from your computer, please stop using it immediately; otherwise, the damage will be brought to your computer as well as the data saved here. You should follow the tips mentioned in the following content to recover data first. Then, take a glance at the possible causes to know better about this situation.

Hard Drive Is Clicking, Now What

Let’s start with 2 true examples:

Case 1: HDD is failing.

I have a failing HDD…keeps making clicking noise and I just want to know if I should create a system image even though the HDD is clicking? Should I just backup anyways since it’s failing anyways?? I have 250gb I want to backup and that can take quite a while to backup to my external drive…about 30 to 45mins while the fail drive clicks away. Should I just proceed and hope for the best?– by f12ostii at Tom’s Hardware

Case 2: external drive is making clicking sound.

My external hard drive made by Toshiba started making clicking sound and I am unable to recover data. I am looking for a possible solution. Geek Squad quoted me a price range for the work $250-$500 and no guarantee of data recovery. I appreciate any help I can get. Thank you.– by triveak at Tom’s Hardware

Is any one of those familiar to you? I typed “clicking hard drive” in Google and found about 243,000,000 results within 0.49 seconds. What does this mean? It’s clear that a large number of people care about this. Many of them find their hard drive making a clicking noise and some of them are even suffering from hard drive click of death.

clicking hard drive

Tips on How to Deal with a Clicking Drive

At this critical moment, what should you do? I have 2 suggestions on this:

  1. Transfer/backup data from clicking hard drive quickly if the clicking hard drive still works.
  2. Carry out clicking hard drive recovery as soon as possible.

Your hard drive is dying; you must speed up to rescue your valuable data!

I strongly recommend MiniTool Power Data Recovery for clicking hard drive data recovery on Windows. This is a program chosen by over 1 million people, so you have nothing to worry about. And it can help you finish clicking hard drive repair only in a few simple steps (no professional knowledge is required).

You can download the trial edition to experience yourself and then make your decision on whether you’d like to buy it or not.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery TrialClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

Please note that the trial edition of Power Data Recovery can’t help you really recover lost data from HDD; it is only suitable for disk scanning and result preview. If the lost files you need can be found by this edition, you may as well obtain a license for a full edition so as to continue the recovery.

software editions

After telling you the steps to recover clicking hard drive, I’ll focus on the causes for clicking hard drive noises. And at the end of this passage, I’ll list some common mistakes people often make after hearing a clicking noise.

Useful Methods for Clicking Hard Drive Recovery

After finding your hard drive is making a clicking noise, you should stop using it for other purposes immediately, except for crash disk file recovery. Avoid any changes that could bring secondary damage to your valuable data on clicking drive and start recovery immediately by following the tutorials given below.

Here, I’ll mainly discuss how to recover data from clicking hard drive in 2 different situations.

Situation 1 – How to Fix a Clicking Internal Hard Drive

  • As I have mentioned at the beginning of this passage, you may also encounter this: hard drive is clicking but still works. Under this circumstance, making a quick move to transfer/backup data is way better than trying to fix clicking hard drive at once.
  • But in fact, hard drive clicking and won’t boot is the most common symptom you can see when the internal & bootable hard disk is corrupted. You can’t boot into the system, losing access to all data in the internal hard disk, this may drive you crazy. But calm down, here’s an easy way out.

Follow this tutorial to finish clicking hard drive repair with Power Data Recovery:

Stage 1: create a bootable CD/DVD or USB disk.

Step 1: acquire Power Data Recovery Boot Disk by purchasing a license or downloading the trial version on another computer.

Step 2: make a bootable CD/USB device with the Bootable Media Builder (which is included in a full edition of Power Data Recovery).

Firstly, you should run the program by the following ways:

  • Run “MTMediaBuilder” from the installation folder to create a boot
  • Click on the “Bootable Media” button in the lower left corner of software interface to create the disk.

make a bootable CD/USB

Secondly, you should do the following things to get a bootable flash drive or CD/DVD disc.

  1. Disconnect your CD/DVD or USB flash drive from the current computer and connect it to the computer which has a clicking hard drive.
  2. Choose to create ISO file, bootable USB Flash Disk or CD/DVD.
  3. Choose “Yes” in the Warning window (all your data on that USB flash drive will be destroyed).
  4. Click on the “Finish” button when the disk building process is over.

build boot disk

Stage 2: boot from the boot disk you’ve just made.

Step 1: restart your computer and press corresponding button (if you don’t the exact button, please search your computer models in Google) to access BIOS settings. Adjust the USB drive to be the first boot device under the “Boot” option. Then, save changes and exit.

change boot order

Step 2: after that, you will see the screen resolution changes window and the software launch confirmation window. You can choose to ignore them & wait for the countdown or click on the corresponding button to continue. At last, you’ll see the following window in which you are expected to select the first option to launch the software.

click to launch software

Stage 3: recover data from the clicking internal hard drive.

Please follow this to recover data with the bootable disk.

  1. Select “Hard Disk Drive” from the main interface.
  2. Double click on the target internal hard disk.
  3. Wait for the scan and browse the found items carefully.
  4. Check all the data you need to recover and press the “Save” button to store them in a safe place.

check the needed data to recover

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Situation 2 – How to Fix a Clicking External Hard Drive

In contrast, hard drive clicking and not detected turns into the most common symptom when it is the external hard drive that has been damaged somehow. When your external hard drive fails to be detected on Windows when making a clicking noise, you should first try to figure out whether it is really not detected (check in Disk Management) and then fix it.

When you encounter hard drive click of death on the external drive that can be found in Windows Disk Management, you can easily recover data from it with MiniTool Power Data Recovery.

Follow this tutorial to finish failed hard drive recovery:

Step 1: get a full edition of Power Data Recovery (Personal License is recommended) to local disk or another removable disk.

Step 2: install & launch this software to choose “Removable Disk Drive” (or choose Hard Disk Drive”) from the main window.

Step 3: select the target external hard drive to scan by clicking on the “Scan” button (you can click on the “Settings” button to scan for needed types of files before clicking on the “Scan”).

scan for needed types of files

Step 4: look through the found files at the end of the scan and pick out the ones you need to recover from the clicking hard drive. Then, press the “Save” button and choose a safe storage path for them.


Some people would suggest repairing clicking hard drive by opening it in a dust-free environment. But I don’t think it is a good idea for mainly 3 reasons:

  1. The action of opening a hard drive requires very professional and careful operations to avoid any errors.
  2. Hard drive opening doesn’t guarantee 100% of data recovery, so even data recovery expert could fail.
  3. Once the drive is opened, it will never be trustworthy

As a result, you don’t necessarily have to and you’re not suggested to open a hard drive to recover data off when hearing a clicking noise.

Physical Damages on a Clicking Hard Drive

Basically, the clicking noise on a hard drive is also known as hard drive click of death, it means that the System Area cannot be read anymore (the SA is set aside by manufacturer for the purpose of storing critical parameters; it contains very useful information necessary for the normal usage of the drive).

If the clicking hard drive is damaged physically, you can hardly fix it, nor recover data from it. What are the specific reasons for causing this? After a series of researches, I found following 4 possible causes, please read them carefully if you’re stuck in hard drive making clicking noise issue.

Cause 1 – Head Is Dead

Magnetic head in a hard disk is also known as a read/write head or RW head. According to Wikipedia, the head is the small part of a disk drive that moves above the disk platter and transforms the platter’s magnetic field into electrical current (read the disk) or, vice versa, transforms electrical current into a magnetic field (write the disk).

So once the hard disk head is damaged, data read and write will become impossible. There’re 4 reasons to explain why a head stops working:

  • Aging of head: the magnetic head may become aging with hard disk reaches its service life; the head may also become aging abnormally due to hard disk design defects.
  • Broken of head: when hard disk falls to the ground, its magnetic head inside is likely to crash against the platter, resulting in irreversible physical damage.
  • Damage of head: the magnetic head is easy to fall victim to unexpected water or fire.
  • Misalignment of head: if the head in a hard disk is out of alignment, a clicking noise will also be generated.

Cause 2 – Preamplifier Is Dead

There’s a small component, located on the head of hard drive, called preamplifier (or preamplificator/preamp). It is used to simplify the signal read by the head (since data are often encoded as a sound wave, a preamp is required to decode the signal).

Preamplifier is easy to be damaged if the heat is too high or the hard disk is suffering from a shock. Once it is dead, data read and write will be affected and clicking noise will appear.

Cause 3 – SA Is Corrupted or Scratched

As I have said before, the SA (System Area) of the hard drive is used to storing critical parameters and useful information which is needed for the normal usage of the drive. Obviously, the normal usage of the disk (like data read) will be affected if you have a corrupted/scratched SA.

When that happens, you can turn to a live PCB swap for data recovery.

Cause 4 – Firmware Is Damaged

Firmware is also another indispensable part of the hard drive. When your hard drive firmware is not updated or damaged due to uncertain reasons, you may also hear a clicking noise coming from the hard drive. A PCB swap (replacement) may work for firmware issue on PCB; it is adopted by most people stuck in PCB firmware problem.

Mistakes People Often Make after Finding Clicking Hard Drive

avoid the mistakes

  1. Restart computer repeatedly: when the computer can’t boot or the hard disk can’t be identified, most people will choose to restart the computer repeatedly, wishing to see hard disk self-healing after a certain restart. But the probability of this thing happening is very small. On the contrary, if you keep trying to restart for a long time, you may lead to scratches on a platter because of long-time contact between head & platter, thus affecting the data recovery effect.
  2. Copy data forcibly from all hard drives: the current high-capacity hard disk is equipped with multi-disc and multi-head, and the possibility of all heads on the same head assembly damaged at the same time is very small. When a single head is damaged, the hard drive can often be identified and you can read the data directory structure. If you choose to copy data forcibly, crash or blue screen may be caused; if you do not turn off it in time, the damaged head may continue to scratch the platter.
  3. Open the hard drive casually: just like I have said before, some people prefer to open hard drive to recover data and repair disk. But the problem is you can hardly find a proper environment to finish this operation. Therefore, irreversible damage will be generated, making both data recovery and further use of hard disk impossible.

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After reading this page, you need to understand 2 things:

  1. The hard drive is making clicking noise sometimes because of different failures.
  2. Clicking hard drive recovery is not impossible; you can even finish it by yourself independently.

When you hear a sudden clicking noise, you could try to copy data off hard drive quickly to rescue important files. But when you hear a lasting clicking noise, you’d better give up this idea and turn to MiniTool Power Data Recovery to do a complete file recovery from clicking drive.

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