Hard Drive Clicking Sounds

Hard Drive Clicking - Vertical DriveWorking as an IT Professional, I often have to resolve hard drive faults and failures.  One of the common hard drive faults that comes up time and time again is a hard drive clicking sound.  There are a number of different hard drive clicking sounds and there are many different causes.  Some of the hard drive clicking sounds are normal sounds for the drive, some are due to software or drivers, some are due to other hardware issues and sometimes, unfortunately, the hard drive clicking sound may be due to a mechanical (or system board) fault on the hard drive itself.

I have created this website to provide a single location with information about the different causes to help people diagnose and resolve hard drive clicking sounds.

The information provided on this website is provided free of charge and is not provided as a service.  By using or viewing this website you agree that any information, advice or procedures you use from this website are at your own risk.  We are not liable for any data loss, hardware damage or liability in any way.  You are fully responsible for you own actions.

Verify that it is the Hard Drive Clicking

If you are reading the information on this website you most likely have a hard drive making a clicking sound or another funny noise.  You may need to open your computer’s case to check, but you should verify that it is in fact the hard drive making the noise and not a fan or optical drive.  Once you have confirmed that it is your hard drive making the noise, please read on.

Backup Data and Professional Hard Drive Recovery Services

Do you have backups of any important information on the hard drive?

All businesses, no matter what size, should be backing up any important modified data at least once a day.  These backups should be monitored to ensure they are successful and test restores done regularly to check that the backups are working correctly.  Unfortunately personal or home computer systems are very often not backed up at all, or not backed up often enough.

If your computer is making a hard drive clicking noise and the hard drive is still accessible you need to make a decision now of whether or not to try and get a backup of the data on this hard drive.  Not all hard drive clicking sounds mean that the drive is about to fail, however unless the hard drive has no important data on it at all now is the time to think about backing up any data.

Hard Drive Clicking - Open DriveIf the data on the hard drive is extremely important to you or worth a lot of time or money to you then you may wish to use a Professional Hard Drive Recovery Service.  Hard Drive Recovery Services would normally charge around $1000 or more per drive.  If you data is worth more than this amount to you then you need to decide whether to just shutdown your computer system (or external drive) to “play it safe” and let the professionals look at your hard drive or try to get a copy of the data now while the hard drive is still running.  Different Hard Drive Recovery companies recommend different things here.  Some recommend that you shutdown your systems to lessen the chances of damage to the hard drive platters and others recommend that you try to get a copy of the data while the hard drive is still running.  Personally, I would quickly try to get a copy of any important data if possible, but this is your personal decision to make!

If you cannot justify the costs of Professional Hard Drive Recovery Services then now is the time to backup any data you may want in the future.  Copy the data you require from the clicking hard drive as soon as possible to another data holding medium.  This could be another hard drive (internal or external), USB thumb drives, backup tapes, blank or rewritable DVD’s or CD’s etc.  If you do not have any of these options but have an internet connection you could signup for a free online service that provides storage space such as Microsoft Skydrive.  Backing up to an online location will take longer than backing up to a local physical medium so I would only use an online destination if you have no other choice.

Hard Drive Clicking - External DriveItems you may want to consider backing up are:

  • Documents
  • Spreadsheets
  • Presentations
  • Email
  • Email contacts information
  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Music
  • Software licenses
  • Application data
  • Software installation files
  • Game profiles and game saves
  • Internet favourites/bookmarks
  • Password and system settings information

If you have now backed up your data (if required) or were unable to do so, we can now look at some causes of hard drive clicking sounds and maybe we can help find a solution to your problem.

Causes of Hard Drive Clicking Sounds

The following list contains known causes of hard drive clicking sounds.  This list will be updated and more information on each cause (with possible fixes) will be added when possible.  If you know of any other causes not listed below, please let me know via the contact us page.

As stated previously, there are many different hard drive clicking sounds and therefore many different possible fixes.  As with most computer problems the cause of the problem can be found by a process of elimination, therefore you can work through the items in the list below to see if anything applies to you.

Some causes of hard drive clicking sounds are:


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