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How to Fix Clicking Hard Drive and Recover Data

Updated on Jul 15, 2019 by Abby Haines to Resource


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.

External Hard Drive Keeps Making a Clicking Noise
Before the Fix: Recover Data from the Clicking Hard Drive
Fixes for a Clicking Hard Drive

Hard Drive Structure

External Hard Drive Keeps Making a Clicking Noise

"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?" 

Many users have come across the situation of a hard drive making a persistent clicking noise, which is always annoying and frustrating. How does the clicking sound come into being? Generally, the disk head moves smoothly to track data on the hard drive. When the movement becomes irregular, the disk controller will attempt to reset its position by bringing it back to the home position repeatedly. As a result, the clicking noise occurs. A lot of users have referred the clicking noise as a "click of death". Is that necessarily true? Actually, the clicking hard drive can either caused by minor issues or severe hardware damages, including:

Insufficient power supply: If your hard drive isn't getting enough power, it will fail to fully spin up.

The data cable is faulty or incompatible: If the cable is not for the hard drive, a clicking noise may occur on the hard drive.

Physical damages: Have your hard drive ever been exposed to fire, water, high temperature, or other environmental contaminations? All these are possible causes of hard drive clicking.

Hardware issues: Worn/misplaced disk head, damaged service area, damaged PCB, and more can all result in a clicking hard drive.

Thus, similar to external hard drive blinking but not working, when your (external) hard drive is clicking, it doesn't always mean there is a major mechanical problem with it.

Before the Fix: Recover Data from the Clicking Hard Drive

If your hard drive is still detectable, don't hesitate to back up your files right now before you applying the methods provided below to fix the clicking hard drive. Although you can back up the files by copying, we recommend you try free backup software to get things done. Why? If your hard drive keeps making a clicking noise, a hard drive failure may be imminent. Thus, back up your data as fast as you can.

However, if the clicking hard drive is detectable but the files are not seen in the storage device, you need to recover data from the clicking hard drive using the reliable hard drive recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. Being similar to recover data from failed hard drive, most people will think recover data from a clicking hard drive is difficult and should be done with a professional. It is absolutely not true! As long as your hard drive can be recognized by the computer, you have a high chance to retrieve your data using the data recovery software.

Step 1. Launch EaseUS hard drive recovery software

  • Run EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard and select the drive on your hard disk where you lost or deleted files.
  • Click Scan to start scanning all lost data and files.
Select hard drive disk to scan

Step 2. Scan to find all lost hard drive data

EaseUS hard drive recovery software will scan the whole selected drive and find all lost files, including all existing and hidden data.

Scan to find all hard drive data

Step 3. Preview and restore lost hard drive data and files

  • You can find your deleted and lost files in "Deleted files", "Drive" (with your device drive letter).
  • "Lost Partition Files" or "Extra Files" will list your formatted and RAW data there.
  • You can double-click found files to preview them.

After the preview, please select wanted files that you lost on the drive and click Recover to save them to a safe location on your PC or other external storage devices.

Restore lost hard drive data.

If your hard drive is not showing up on your PC, you need to fix the clicking hard drive first before you can get back your data.

Fixes for a Clicking Hard Drive

The fixes for a clicking hard drive vary in difficulties. Depending on the causes, there are different ways for you to fix a hard drive that is clicking.

Fix 1. Check the Hard Drive Connection

The clicking sound could be an indication of underpowering. Some users found the clicking hard drive is fixed by connecting their hard drive directly to the USB port on the computer instead of a USB port. That's because compared to the USB hub, the USB port provides more stable and sufficient power supply. Since the insufficient power supply is likely to result in a clicking hard drive, changing the USB port is helpful in some cases. Other troubleshooting tips to fix a clicking hard drive caused by connection issues include:

  • Use the original USB cable to connect your hard drive to the computer or try another USB cable
  • Connect your hard drive to one of the rear USB port on your computer instead of the front ones
  • Connect your hard disk to another computer
  • Take your hard drive out of the disk enclosure and connect it to the computer directly

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

Fix 2. Put the Hard Drive Upside Down

Don't laugh. If your disk head is out of alignment, you will hear it's clicking. Putting your hard drive upside-down has a chance to reset the needle head on to the disk. Therefore, it's a method well worth trying to fix your clicking hard drive.

Fix 3. Freeze the Hard Drive

Both overheat and trapped components can make your hard drive keep clicking. 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 things you need to pay attention to:

  • Don't put your hard drive into the freezer barely. Use a ziplock bag or something similar to seal out moisture
  • Keep your hard drive in the freezer for a couple of hours
  • Once the hard drive works again, back up your data or recover data from the hard drive immediately
  • If the hard drive starts clicking again after a period of time, re-freeze it until you keep all your files safe

Fix 4. Send the Hard Drive for Repair

If the clicking sound persists, I'm afraid there are major hardware issues on your hard drive. That's when you need to ask help from specialists to fix the clicking hard drive and recover data from it. 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

A clicking hard drive is often related to a hard drive failure. When the problem attacks unexpectedly, the question gains the most concern from users is how to fix the clicking hard drive. Or more importantly, how to recover data from the clicking hard drive. That reminds us of the importance of backing up our files regularly. With the backup available, we can avoid complete data loss when an issue like hard drive failure happens.