Hard drive making clicking noise is a problem that many people have faced at one point in their life.
You might wonder if you should turn off the computer or how much data will be lost if you do.
It’s important to know that these clicks are not indicative of any major problems with your system and most likely just need a few tweaks to fix them.
Here are some of the top ways to fix a hard drive making a clicking noise.
Related: How to Make Keyboard Quieter
Is Hard Drive Making Clicking Noise Normal?
A hard drive consists of mechanical components that are designed to spin and read/write data.
These parts may wear out over time, which can cause some clicking noises as the drive tries to process your requests.
Some people find these clicks distracting or even annoying, but they usually do not result in any long-term damage to the device itself.
If you hear a clicking noise coming from your hard disk, it is likely something else – such as failing bearings on fan blades or other equipment failures resulting in loud noises and vibrations within the computer case.
Reasons why Hard Drive is Making Clicking Noises
When your hard drive has issues, it usually makes some type of rattling or clicking noise.
This noise often comes from the read/write heads bumping off the platters, part of the drive’s internal mechanics.
If you hear your hard drive clicking away, it could be one of three things causing the noises.
Faulty Spindle Motors
When your hard drive’s spindle motor malfunctions or is making odd noises, this can cause your drive to become unstable.
If you are experiencing these issues, then it would be best to replace the motor and the drive.
Faulty Read/Write Mechanisms
One of the first reasons your hard drive could be making those odd sounds is because its read/write heads are wearing out.
The heads are what actually read and write data to the platters; if the mechanisms become faulty, they can cause all sorts of noises.
Generally, it is best to back up any important data and replace your hard drive immediately if you hear these types of sounds coming from your system.
Bumps and Jostles
Sometimes, it is not your hard drive’s motor or mechanics that are causing the rattling and clicking noises coming from inside your computer.
Many people find this strange, but it is very common for these noises to be caused by outside forces such as getting bumped or jostled around.
It has even been known for mice and other rodents to cause damage to a system’s internal components if they decide to take up residence in someone’s computer case.
Faulty Platter Surface
Finally, a faulty platter surface can cause the physical components of your hard drive to make odd noises.
If you hear clicking sounds from your hard drive, it is most likely that the platters are not seated properly and need to be replaced.
This type of noise can also indicate damage from overheating or corrosion.
How To Fix Hard Drive Making Clicking Noise?
RULE OUT OPERATING SYSTEM ISSUES.
If you’re running Windows 7 or higher and all of a sudden, your hard drive starts ticking like crazy, odds are the culprit is something in the operating system rather than an actual hardware failure on the part of the drive.
In other words, the drive is still fine, and the problem is with the OS. This doesn’t mean you’re out of luck entirely, though.
Regardless of whether you use Windows or a Mac OS X, there are things you can do to fix an operating system that’s on the fritz.
For example: If your hard drive clicks when it first boots up, chances are good that something in your computer’s BIOS needs to be tweaked.
In Windows, this includes checking for proper power management settings and any software or hardware conflicts from disconnected drives and memory cards.
Also, make sure your SATA controller supports Native Command Queuing (NCQ) and has it enabled if possible (usually turned on by default).
Run Disk Utility (Mac OS X) or CHKDSK /F (Windows) to fix any file system errors on the drive.
If that doesn’t help, reformat the hard drive and reinstall Windows from scratch or do a fresh install of Mac OS X from an external bootable disk.
When it comes to fixing clicky-sounding hard drives in laptops specifically, many experts recommend using compressed air to clean out your machine’s fans and heat sinks rather than opening up the case yourself.
In other words, try blowing out any dust or dirt that might be clogging up your computer’s cooling vents before going through the trouble of taking anything apart.
Hard Drive /SSD Click of Death
Hard drive click of death is the dreaded sound of a Windows PC on its way out.
You might hear these clunky, repetitive sounds seemingly coming from inside your hard drive, and the cause is typically mechanical in nature – either your hard drive is on its way out, or something is impeding its normal operation.
The click of death can take many forms, but there are some common identifiers you can use to determine if your hard drive needs to be replaced or if something else is going on:
1) Clicking sound immediately upon turning on the computer – This sounds very much like what it is – indicating that your hard drive isn’t working correctly. If this happens when you first turn the computer on, then shut it back off immediately. If you don’t, your hard drive will likely fail completely, and you could lose everything stored on it.
2) Clicking sound during operation – This is a little trickier as it could indicate a bad sector, failed hard drive, or something else entirely. The first thing I would try is to open the Event Viewer and look for Event ID 43 from source “Disk,” which indicates a bad sector:
3) Repeated clicking sounds at regular intervals – See #2 above. You can also use Performance Monitor (perfmon.exe) to watch your hard drive and file system for any changes to the “Average Disk Queue Length” parameter. This should be at or below 2 when everything is working normally:
If you happen to be running RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks), make sure you monitor all of the individual disks in the array, not just the RAID controller. If this value starts getting close to 10 or more, then it’s time to start thinking about backing up your data because a failure isn’t far off.
4) Clicking sound during startup AND Event ID 43 from source “Disk” – A clicking sound during startup sometimes accompanied by Event ID 43 means problems with your hard drive. A new drive isn’t going to fix this one. Your PC will have to be taken in for repair, or you’ll have to replace the drive yourself.
5) Continuous clicking sound while running – This is another sign of a failing hard drive, and it’s time to get your data off that thing before it fails completely. Using robust backup utilities like Cobian Backup can make backing up all of your files quick and painless.
6) Clicking sound during shutdown AND Event ID 70 from source “srv” AND Event ID 71 from source “Security System Driver” (or any other three-digit number with SW\ prefixed) – This attack typically happens when someone tries hacking into your PC by brute force, which is why you’ll see a login screen while the hard drive is clicking. Often this attack will fail, but if it succeeds, your PC could be compromised and have to go in for repair.
In most cases, any one of these sounds can signify that something serious is going on with your system, so you should take immediate action.
If you’re lucky, it’s just a bad sector or other minor problem that can be fixed relatively easily by replacing the hard drive.
In other cases, however, complete failure looms, and if this happens suddenly without warning, then there’s a good chance you won’t get anything off before everything goes kaput, and your data is lost forever (unlike my luck).
Keep this in mind next time you think about not backing up your data because you don’t want to spend any more money on external hard drives.