A Clicking Drive is a Dead Drive

Today I got a call from the Sefton Tech Services, over in Southport, Lancashire who sent me the following: “Drive is identified on connect then clicking noise follows and displays HDD cannot be accessed. Suspecting home user accidental drop or disconnect while in use. Data recovery was attempted using test disk/photorec repair and recovery software, drive contents could be seen but scanning and recovery process was taking endless time.”

A data recovery labWhen your hard drive clicks it’s a sign of a serious internal fault. A clicking drive is indeed a dead drive, but sometimes, resurrection is possible! If the drive is completely unresponsive, nothing can be done with it. The hurdle where people fall in trying to understand the problem is they believe their hard drive is still working because it’s identified when connected to the computer. (The logic goes like this: if I connect the hard drive to the computer and the computer identifies it then the hard drive must be working.) This is intact incorrect. The actual device that is identified is not the hard drive, but the USB device that connects to the hard drive.

When this happens the above symptoms will be shown. The most important point to remember is it’s the USB interface not the hard drive that is responding. The USB interface is working fine, it’s the hard drive that is giving problems. Ticking hard drives are very rarely repairable by our in-house ICT staff – it’s sometimes possible to recover them by following the advice on Data Recovery Tips, and I advise you to be at least semi-tech savvy before you attempt any of the recommendations on that web site.

Most of the time though a ticking hard drive is serious enough that even the information on the Data Recovery Tips site isn’t enough. Instead you’ll need to find a company that specialise in hard drive repair and recovery services. You all know my recommendations, or you can call me for advice on a case by case basis.