Hard Drive Clicking: How to Fix Clicking Hard Drive and Recover Data in 2021

Roxanne updated on Dec 11, 2020 to Data Recovery Resouce | How-to Articles

A hard drive keeps making a clicking noise always causes panic among users who encounter this issue. Based on our experience, a clicking hard drive may result from minor connection issues or serious hard drive damages. Follow to see why your hard drive is clicking, how to fix a clicking hard drive, and how to recover data from it with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

  • Reading Duration: 3-5 minutes. 
  • Difficulty Level: Medium.
  • Supported OS: Windows 10/8/7, Windows Vista/XP, etc.
  • Applies to: Fix hard drive clicking, repair hard disk clicking sound, and make clicking internal/external hard drive work normally without losing any data.

Is your hard drive making noise once you boot up your computer? Do you hear "click, click, click" noise once your external hard drive is connected to your computer? Don't worry.

This page covers everything that you need to know about the hard drive clicking issue and reliable fixes for this issue.

Pick up a reliable solution here to fix a clicking hard drive. You can jump to the part you're most interested in a quick view:

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. Recover Data from Clicking Disk Run EaseUS recovery software > Scan and recover data from clicking disk...Full steps
Fix 2. Change Clicking Disk Connection Reconnect clicking disk > Change connection cable > Change computer...Full steps
Fix 3. Freeze the Hard Drive Clean the dust >Add an extra fan > Stop running computer...Full steps
Fix 4. Send the Hard Drive for Repair Contact hard drive manufacturer or local repair center to repair clicking drive...Full steps

Overview of Internal/External Hard Drive Clicking

"When I plugged my WD external hard drive into my laptop, it kept making a clicking noise. A lot of important stuff, including years worth of my kids' pictures on there, were all lost. Does anyone know how I can fix this or get my data back?" 

Are you having a similar issue as the case shown here? If your hard drive keeps clicking or making clicking noise on your computer, don't worry. 

Hard Drive Structure

In this part, you'll learn:

  1. 1. What does it mean if your hard drive is clicking
  2. 2. Is hard drive clicking normal
  3. 3. What causes hard drive clicking

Normally, hard drive clicking is regarded as a sign of a failing hard drive. So is it normal that a hard drive or an external hard drive keeps clicking? No, it's not normal.

When you install a hard drive or connect an external hard drive, you should only be able to see its light blinking without any clicking noises. Check out what does it mean when your hard drive is clicking:

  • Hard disk light is on, having an extremely low running sound: the disk is all right.
  • Hard drive clicks slowly with a small sound: it means it has some connection issue.
  • Hard drive clicks fast, making a loud noise: it could be a "click of death".

How does the clicking sound come into being? Actually, the clicking hard drive can either caused by minor issues or severe hardware damages, including:

  • Power supply issue: Insufficient power supply, hard drive spin error.
  • Problematic connection: Incompatible or problematic connection cable.
  • Physical damages: Fire burned, water drowned, high temperature, etc.
  • Hardware issues: Worn/misplaced disk head, damaged service area, damaged PCB, etc.

So how to fix this issue when your (external) hard drive is clicking? Continue reading and check out what to do with a clicking hard drive.

Also Read: How to fix external hard drive blinking but not working issue.

Fix (External) Hard Drive Clicking: Repair Hard Drive Clicking, No Data Loss (5 Fixes)

So how do I fix my clicking sound on my hard drive? If you are having the same question in your mind, check out the state of your hard drive:

  1. #1. Hard drive clicking but still works (accessible)
  2. #2. Hard drive clicking and not detected

And follow to repair the clicking hard drive on your own, with no data loss issue.

Note that if your clicking hard drive is still working and accessible, follow Method 1 or 2 to get data out of your drive first. If the drive is not detected or not recognized at all, jump to Method 3 to start fixing this issue.

Method 1. Recover Data from the Clicking Hard Drive That Still Works

Applies to: Bring data out of clicking hard drive, rescue vital data.

If your hard drive is still detectable and openable, go ahead to back up all your files with free backup software to another secure device immediately. The drive may fail anytime. 

However, if the clicking hard drive is detectable but you see no files shown up, you need to recover data from the clicking hard drive. Reliable hard drive recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard can help.

As long as your clicking hard drive can be recognized by the computer, you can restore data with the following 3 steps. It will fully scan and recover all found data from the clicking drive at once:

Step 1. Launch EaseUS hard drive recovery software.

Run EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard on your PC and select the drive on your hard disk where you lost or deleted files. Click "Scan" and let this program scan all lost data and files on the selected hard drive.

select a location and scan hard drive

Step 2. Check and preview all lost hard drive data.

Find lost hard drive data from "Deleted Files", "Lost Files" or use "Filter" to quickly navigate the lost data. Check and double-click to preview these found files.

Find and preview all lost hard drive data

Step 3. Restore lost hard drive data to a safe location.

Select wanted files that you lost on the drive and click "Recover" to save them. Choose a safe location on your PC or other external storage devices to save these restored hard drive data.

Restore lost hard drive data.

With EaseUS data recovery software, you can also recover data from other file loss issues, such as recover data from failed hard drive.

If data recovery software fails to restore data from your clicking but detectable hard drive, you can turn to a reliable data recovery service in Method 2 for help. 

Extended Tips: Data Recovery Software vs. Manual Data Recovery Service

If you don't know how to pick up a data recovery solution for your clicking hard drive, watch this video to learn the differences.

Method 2. Turn to Manual Data Recovery Service

Applies to: Restore vital data from a clicking or problematic hard drive that could not be restored using data recovery software.

Do You Need Specialized Data Recovery Services?
You may need further help for tough data loss situations like reformatting drive, RAW disk, partition loss, repartition failures, and system boot error. Consult with EaseUS Data Recovery Experts for cost-efficient one-on-one manual recovery service. They could offer the following services after FREE diagnosis:
1. Unformat the drive
2. Repair the RAID, RAW disk, or operating system
3. Recover lost partition (the one that cannot be recovered by software)

If both Method 1 and Method 2 failed to restore your data, your hard drive will need a manual repair. Follow the fixes below one by one, you may get your clicking hard drive work again.

The following fixes also work to fix hard drive is not showing up, SD card not detected, USB not recognized issue. 

Method 3. Change Hard Drive Connection to Fix Clicking Drive

Applies to: Check and fix problematic hard drive connection cable to fix hard drive clicking issue.

The clicking sound could be an indication of underpowering. Mostly, the insufficient power supply is likely to result in a clicking hard drive, changing the USB port is helpful in some cases. Also, a broken or an incompatible connection cable may also cause a disk clicking error.

Here are the troubleshooting steps for you to try:

Step 1. Check if the connection cable is broken.

If yes, purchase a new cable and reconnect the clicking (external) hard drive to your computer.

Step 2. Check if the power cable is loosened.

If yes, unplug and replug the power cable, connect it to your computer and the drive tightly.

Change hard drive connection cable

Step 3. Check if you are using a compatible drive.

If you connected a USB.30 external drive via a USB 2.0 cable, the drive may not be recognized and even making clicking noises.

Step 4. Connect the clicking (external) hard drive to another computer.

If the drive still keeps clicking on your computer, try to connect it to another computer.

Step 5. Take the hard drive out of the disk enclosure and connect it as an external disk.

These tips can exclude all the connection issues that may exist. If the clicking noise remains, continue to try other fixes detailed below.

Method 4. Freeze or Cool Down the Hard Drive

Applies to: Fix hard drive clicking issue caused by the overheat or high temperature on disk. 

When the hard drive is overheating, you may hear a clicking sound coming out of your computer. Freezing your hard drive can, on one hand, cool down your device, and on the other hand, shrink the components inside to free up the stuck or trapped ones.

To freeze your hard drive, there are several steps that you can follow:

Step 1. Open your computer case or laptop case, check if the fan is covered with dust.

If yes, clear all the dust on the fan.

Step 2. Add an extra fan to your computer and cool down the drive.

Step 3. Stop using the computer and wait for the drive to cool down.

Once the hard drive works again, back up your data or recover data from the hard drive immediately.

Step 4. If the hard drive is too old, replace the old drive with a new one. 

Fix 5. Send Clicking Hard Drive for Repair 

Applies to: Send clicking hard drive for repair due to physical damage, like a broken head reader, components, etc. 

If the clicking sound persists, I'm afraid there are significant hardware issues on your hard drive. In this case, you may need help from specialists to fix the clicking hard drive and recover data from it.

To do so, you have two options for clicking hard drive repair:

  1. #1. Contact the support team of your hard drive manufacturer for help.
  2. #2.  Take clicking hard drive to a local hard disk repair center.

The specialists can replace the control board if there is an electrical failure or replace the disk head if it is weak or damaged. Or you can directly send the defective hard drive for a replacement if it's still under warranty.

If the clicking hard drive is beyond repair, switching to a new one is the only choice for you.

The Bottom line

On this page, we explained why is your hard drive clicking, guided you to recover data from a clicking hard drive, and offered 3 fixes for hard drive/external hard disk clicking issue.

Once again, don't ignore the clicking sound on your hard drive. It may be a serious problem. You should first restore data from your drive with reliable EaseUS data recovery software.

Later, you can try to change its connection cables, cool down the drive, or take it for repair based on the causes of the clicking disks. If you still have questions about this issue, check out the questions and answers below for help.

Hard Drive Clicking FAQs

1. What are signs of a failing hard drive? 

Here are some signs of impending or failing hard drive:

  • Strange noises, like clicking or humming.
  • Repeated program or disk errors.
  • Frequently popping up error messages.
  • Device not detectable, not recognized, not working.
  • Unable to load data nor system.

2. Why is my pc making a clicking sound?

  • Low clicking sound: computer is reading and writing data to the hard drive.
  • Loud clicking sound: hard drive is clicking with malfunctioned hard drive head. 
  • The computer and hard drive are overheated.

3. What to do with a failing or dying hard drive?

If your hard drive is failing or dying, making a clicking noise, there are some fixes for you to try:

  • Recover data from failing hard drive if it's bootable.
  • Back up data from failing hard drive if it's unbootable.
  • Review dying hard drive by changing power cable, update disk driver, etc.
  • Send drive for repair if it's under warranty.

For a step-by-step guide, you may refer to: What To Do with A Dying Drive

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why choose EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard?

"EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best we've seen. It's far from perfect, partly because today's advanced disk technology makes data-recovery more difficult than it was with the simpler technology of the past, but it's fast and efficient..."PCMag

"The first thing you'll notice about EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is that its interface is very clear and uncluttered, with only a small collection of self-explanatory controls. You won't find lots of extra options hidden in a system of hidden menus, either; what you see really is what you get."techradar

"Recover lost files, even after deleting a partition or formatting your drive."Macworld

2. Why cannot I recover 2GB data for free?

It is recommended to check the version installed is Free or Trial because they are different versions.

Trial has data preview function but cannot save any files, while the Free version enables to recover 2 GB files. The default free space is 500 MB and you may share the product on social media to get another 1.5 GB.

3. Why cannot the recovered files be opened?

A file is saved as 2 parts on the storage device: directory info (which is comprised by file name, time stamp and size info, etc.) and data content.

If the files with original file names and folder structures cannot be opened, one possible reason is the corrupted directory info. There is still a chance to recover the data content with the RAW Recovery method in our software.

4. Why isn't it suggested to recover the files back to the original drive?

The storage structure of the lost files would be altered or damaged by any changes on the drive. If you save the recovered files back to the same drive, the original data structures and data content would be corrupted or overwritten, which causes permanent data loss. So you should prepare another disk to save the files.

5. How can I check whether my data is recoverable or not before purchase?

The Free version helps you save 2GB files, so verify the recovery quality of our product before purchase.

6. How long does it take to scan the drive?

It strongly depends on the capacity of your hard drive and the performance of your computer. As reference,most drive recoveries can be completed in around 10 to 12 hours for a 1-TB healthy hard drive in general conditions.

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