Clicking the hard drive is one major issue most users experience. It’s an internal clicking noise that indicates that your hard drive will be dead within a week. You can not repair a hard drive without professional assistance or tools. 

Click, ding, bang, and ping are all common noise that comes from a problematic hard drive which must not be ignored. However, you must not focus on saving your drive instead take instant measures to create data backups on your desktop. You may replace the drive but if the data is lost on a dead drive that would be a trouble to cover. 

In this blog, you will find out the common symptoms of clicking hard drive and measures to recover it along with how a mechanical hard drive works. So, read on. 

Table of Contents

How Does Mechanical Hard Drive Work?

Today, almost every server and desktop computer has hard drives. The supercomputers even contain hundreds of hard drives to record data. They store digital information and even let computers remember functions when it’s turned off. 

The two important parameters of a hard drive are:

Data rate– The number of bytes/second a drive delivers to the desktop. 

Seek Time– The amount of time between when a CPU requests a file to the first byte of that file is sent to the CPU from the drive. 

Furthermore, to understand how the hard drive works you have to get deep into its accessories. It will help you recover the sound of clicking hard drive. 

Electronic Board

It’s an aluminium box having controller electronics on both sides of the box. These electronics handle the read and write mechanism of the motor which spins the platters. There are vent holes to let out external and internal air pressure equalisers. 

clicking hard drive

The Platters

When the hard drive is operating the platters spin at 3,600 or 7,200 rpm. 


The arm holds the read and writes heads helping the hubs to move from the edge of the hard drive. The arm has the ability to move from the hub to the edge (back and forth) 50 times per second. 

Data Storing

Platters inside the hard drive store data in tracks and sectors. The sectors are pie-shaped wedges while the tracks are the concentric circles. Here’s the image showing what the tracks and sectors look like. The yellow circle is the track and the blue one is the sector. These sectors are grouped together into clusters either on the operating system or at the drive.

Two main processes are involved- high-level formatting and low-level formatting. The high-level formatting writes the file-storage functions that include tables for file allocations into the sectors. Whereas, the low-level instructions write the functions on both the tracks and on the sectors. 

clicking hard drive

How to Recover A Clicking Hard Drive?

When you hear the strange noise coming from your desktop you need to first check other accessories than directly jumping on accusing your hard drives. It can be the sound of your desktop fan. If not, and you are sure it’s coming out from the hard drive, you need to get alert to take measures. The persistent noise of clicking hard drive is also referred to as the “hard drive click of death” as it indicates an impending crash due to hard drive failure. The average lifespan of a hard drive is around 4 years, hence, it’s advisable to get it replaced during this time. 

Common Symptoms of Clicking Hard Drive 

Here are some common symptoms to detect the problem:

  • The hard drive works perfectly fine but you hear a faint clicking sound.
  • Your hard drive is having connection issues and is making a faint clicking sound
  • Hard drive clicking excessively with loud noise 
  • The operating system fails to detect your hard drive 

Possible Explanations For A Clicking Hard Drive 

When a fault appears in the hard drive’s read/write actuator, the drive starts to make clicking noises indicating the signs of failure. When the hard drive is performing well, its actuator runs smoothly. However, if its motions become unexpected and erratic, the hard drive controller tries to reset its position by bumping back to the former position repeatedly, and this causes noise. 

In the beginning, it’s hard to note the clicking sound although there is a major degradation going on inside your hard drive. Here are a variety of ways that can result in clicking the hard drive. 

  • The inefficient power supply is a major issue
  • The use of incompatible cables leads to troublesome connections
  • Issues with a hard drive that involves damaged service area, broken PCB, or misplaced dish head. 
  • Physical harm like extreme temperature or fire

Ways To Fix A Clicking Hard Drive 

When encountering issues with your drive, you need to check these two kinds of instances that are involved: 

  • Clicking hard drive but its fully functional
  • Clicking hard drive is undetected

Now, here are the steps you need to follow:

Step #1- Check the Power Supply

You must check whether your hard drive is getting enough power. Check the cables and the USB sockets. Make sure your drive is not overloaded. Plug out unnecessary cables. Do check the cables to be compatible with your drive specifications. 

Step #2- Recover Your Data 

The next most important step is to recover your data and create backups. It’s good if you can access your files on the HDD. Go for safeguarding them by creating full backups. 

However, note that if your drive is continuously clicking then it means you have minimum time left to create backups as it can crash at any moment. 

clicking hard drive

Step #3- Get A Data Recovery Service 

Recovering hard drives requires professional help. If you lack technical insights, it’s better not to get your hands on the drive and make matters worse. You can get in touch with Jet Data Pro for help. It’s a renowned data recovery service provider that can help you swiftly safeguard your data. 

Once you have recovered the hard drive you can make it work again by following the below-mentioned steps. 

Step #4- Change the Connection

You need to change the USB of your drive as lack of sufficient power can cause clicking. Next is to inspect the cable connections and data cables as sometimes incompatible connections can also cause noise. For external hard drives, only a single cable is used. You need to check if the cable is broken or has corrosion on it. Replace it with a new one before turning on your desktop. Lastly, if your USB cable version is 2.0 or 3.0 you need to make sure that this cable is not attached to the USB 3.0 hard drive as it will not work properly. 

Whereas, if your drive is internal it’s best to take it out from your desktop and use it as an external drive. You can use drive enclosures to connect it properly.

Step #5- Cool The Hard Drive 

This step is recommended if the above-mentioned tricks do not work. When the drive is overheated, it starts making a clicking noise. Hence, you need to cool it down for some time and make sure it’s not exposed to heat. Shut down your desktop and maintain a cool temperature in your room to vent out the heat. Once the desktop is back to a normal temperature, you can turn it on again. If the issue persists you have to jump to the next step below. 

clicking hard drive

Step #6- Repair the Clicking Hard Drive 

After following all the above steps, your hard drive continuously makes the clicking sound, you have to consider that its reader is broken or it has damaged components. In this case, you need a professional technician to help you out.

Wrap Up

Avoiding the sound of clicking hard drive can prove dangerous to your work as it indicates that your drive is about to fail. And with that, you may lose all of your important files and data. So, the moment you hear the noise you have to go create data backups. After which, you can analyse the causes and symptoms and think about the plan of action.