When it comes to a clicking hard drive, the web seems to be pretty chock full of “things to do when your hard drive is clicking.” Unfortunately, 98% of the stuff that is out there is either a myth, or simply dangerous to your hard drive (but most importantly, the data contained within!).
So, we figured we’d instead create a Top 3 list of things NOT to do when you hear your hard drive clicking, because clearly there is no shortage of “To-Do” advice. Most of this advice is very unfortunate, however, because in some cases it can take what would have been a perfectly recoverable hard drive and make it absolutely worthless. No more pictures, no more emails, no more files. Gone. You do not want to be in that kind of situation, where your drive is dead and hard drive recovery is NOT possible, but believe us, it happens more often than we would like. It happens a lot, in fact, to people who:
1. Attempt To Fix Hard Drive Problems On Their Own
Hey! That guy on Youtube looks pretty cool as he pulls out a screwdriver and opens his hard drive case right in front of you, right? Well, although he may be cool, he’s likely also an idiot. There is a reason why clean room data recovery exists, and that is because hard drives are ultra-sensitive to contamination of any kind. That means dust. That means moisture. That means microscopic particles in the air. They are all around you, believe us. So when someone tells you that by simply swapping out a circuit board or removing a head mechanism from a similar drive is going to help, STOP! Put the tools down for the sake of your data. It’ll save you time and tons of money.
2. The Hard Drive Freezer Trick?
Does this work for dead hard drive recovery? Uh, sometimes… But this is really something we like to call ‘lottery ticket data recovery’, and is certainly not the be all and end all when it comes to how to fix a hard drive failure. The problem with the Freezer trick, of course, is that the condensation created within the hard drive during the melting process is extremely dangerous to the data on the disk. Basically, water kills anything electronic, and if you freeze the air surrounding a typical spindle and platter system, you’re going to get a lot of it. If you do this, you are likely to find yourself with an unrecoverable drive. So don’t!
3. Continue Working
Yep, this is from the ‘”if I don’t do anything, that noise will go away”-school of thinking. And while this may work for your 1978 Datsun, let’s just say your hard drive is a little more complicated. So as soon as you hear your hard drive clicking, turn that computer off! An important thing to understand is that the quicker you power down your drive, the easier the data recovery is going to be. This is because typically the sound you’re hearing is a misaligned drive head, and each click may be the head crashing into the platter. So to sum up, act quickly, and your hard drive repair will be cheaper, more complete, and just better!
Oddly enough, when it comes to a hard drive crash that has been the result of a clicking hard drive, inaction is often the best policy. That means taking your tools you were planning to use for this “dead hard drive recovery” and throwing them aside. That may mean turning your computer off even when your first inclination is to use whatever fix you can find in Google. Now, take a deep breath. If you have had a failed hard drive, you are going to need some professional data recovery help.
There is no way u can format your hard drive and keep the current windows xp. Formatting wipes out all data on a disk. Just back up your important files on removable storage devices such as blank DVDs, USB devices (pen drives) or zip disks (if u have a zip drive) and contact your supplier for the windows xp backup CD (they owe u one!). Then format the HDD and install a fresh copy of windows.
^ Zip disks… Wow, forgot about those back in the 90’s. I’d recommend not using Zip Disks as they’d be about as reliable as your failing hard drive by this point.
Good article. I worked in Information Technology for IBM Global Services at the Storage Division in San Jose, Cal, and mainly focused on servers and raid storage. San Jose was the city in which that first hard drive was invented by IBM in the 1950’s. I have successfully recovered data on several dead hard drives that would not spin up by replacing the logic board with the correct firmware. Clicking driving however 9 out 10 times are probably the internal actuators and read and write heads, and I would send it in to a professional hard drive recovery company like yours.
Jose F. Medeiros