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Hard Drive Clicking Noises: Common Causes and Resolve

Isn’t it annoying to hear a continuous “click, click, click” sound when working on your computer? Hard drives often make strange buzzing, clicking, or grinding noise. Sometimes this sound is harmless but most of the time it is a warning sign of potential failure.

HDDs have moving parts which may create sound when they work. In some cases, the reason behind this sound is the malfunctioning of the drive’s fan or any part of your computer.

But this noise becomes the “click of death” when the drive’s internal components fail which leads to hard drive failure and complete data loss. Typically, the cause can be either software or hardware.

Most hard drives make clicking noise due to the defective movement of the disk’s read-write actuator. The disk head of a properly functioning hard drive moves smoothly across the platter to track data. But when the disk head or any other component gets damaged, then these movements become erratic.

hardrive clicking noise

When the drive fails to read data, the disk controller keeps bumping back to the home position repetitively, making a clicking noise.

Whether it’s WD or HP, all hard drives make some sort of sound at some point. Typically, a low-pitched whirring sound is normal when the computer boots up.

But the noise that results from the heads sweeping back and forth across the platter surface and the actuator arm hitting a limiter can cause trouble.

To get rid of this noise and prevent complete data loss, it’s important to understand the actual cause of this sound. You can consult Atlanta IT Services provider for more details. So when you hear any strange noise, your hard drive may be having any of the following issues.

External Damage

If you’re using an external hard drive or using an internal HDD with a hard drive enclosure then your drive is at the risk of physical damage.  You may drop your hard drive or spill liquid on it. When any mechanical device gets exposed to moisture, fire, or a bump, it suffers severe damage.

Due to dropping, the read/write heads get misaligned and that causes the clicking noise. Hard drives also get damaged when subjected to high magnetic fields. If the cause of the noise is physical or environmental damage then you might need to repair or replace some component of the drive.

In this situation, only a data recovery professional can help you.  Depending on the make and model of your drive, find a specialist like a data recovery WD hard drive service provider.

Read/Write Head Misalignment

When the read/write head is out of line due to dropping or not effectively manage the hard disk, so you’ll hear the hard drive noise clicking on it.

If a read/write fault occurs on a hard disk and requires repair, the particular failed head cannot read or write data on the disk.

If this occurs, the drive may be partly usable with a specialized data recovery system, or it may not be able to initialize at all.

Wear and Tear

All mechanical devices eventually die because they suffer wear and tear with continuous use.

Sometimes, the drive makes noise when it completes its lifespan while some new drives develop issues and begin to malfunction. The drive’s platter or actuator arm can become worn out and that results in a hard drive clicking sound.

Power Issues

A power surge or insufficient power supply from a malfunctioning power supply unit can also be responsible for this noise. The voltage fluctuations may damage the printed circuit board in your hard drive and that makes the drive produce a clicking or ticking sound.

To solve this issue, you may need to fix or replace your power supply unit. Besides the power surge, there can also be service area issues.


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