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My Seagate Drive is Clicking

User guide to data recovery

Modern hard disk drives are complex devices and while usually last three or more years they do fail for one reason or another. Hard drives have seen great improvements in recent years achieving greater speeds and storage capacities. Today these are made in variety of shapes and sizes and for less money. Hard drives are prone to vibration and to produce a sound different than a computer fan. However, continuous clicking noise coming from your internal or portable Seagate is suggesting a malfunctioned drive.

If you start hearing noises that you’ve never heard before — like clicking, grinding, vibrations, or squealing — your hard drive may be failing.

Hard drives are mechanical or better “mechatronical” devices. They are assembled from high precision parts and therefore are also nearly silent. While in operation hard drives do make a faint click-like sounds when they’re being accessed or when turned off which is completely normal. However, continuous clicking noise often results from the defective disk’s read-write assembly. While in regular use, a disk head will fly to track data on a disk. In cases when movements become erratic and unexpected, the disk controller tries to reset itself by positioning heads back to the default “zero” position repeatedly. These “calibration attempts” causes a distinctive clicking noise.

My Seagate External Hard Drive is not visible to my computer. It turns on but all I hear is this clicking noise for a few seconds. Then it turns off for a bit but then turns back on but I could tell it isn’t running properly, what should I do? I need my files!

There are three major reasons for a hard drive to start “clicking”. From power related issues to internal software to malfunctioned part or hardware problem. For professional data recovery engineer data from a clicking Seagate hard drive can be recovered if platters have not been compromised.

Clicking Causes with Seagate Drives

Since a hard drive has moving parts and during its lifetime these parts will undergo normal wear and tear, resulting in a eventual malfunction.

  • Power Related Issues – Insufficient Power could lead to creating noise on the hard drive while power surges can damage the PCB (Printed Circuit Board) – electronic component and/or the HSA (Head Stack Assembly) – heads, actuator and “pre-amplifier”.
  • Issues with Service Area – “Service Area” is a zone of a disk which stores manufacturer specific data required for hard drive operation. Like any other data it can get corrupted/damaged resulting in inability to interpret correct information from/to the drive.
  • Hardware failures – As we mentioned above modern hard drives are fabricated of parts designed to be as perfect as they can possibly be. However, over time elements, wear and tear and components such as R/W Heads, Spindle motor or even Electronic components all of which can fail. Misalignment, weak or malfunctioned heads are most common causes of such behavior usually when hard drive is dropped or handled roughly.

DIY Data Recovery for Seagate Hard Drive

We do not recommend DIY method. Read about unrecoverable drives.

In most cases, a clicking noise coming from a hard drive shows mechanical problem with the drive. Opening the drive in order to repair read/write heads requires a cleanroom facility. Without it, the drive platters will be exposed to dust making the recovery much harder or unrecoverable.

Clicking hard drive is very rarely ever caused by a controller board. Replacing a control board may only work for an electrical failure, especially very old hard drives but on newer drives it can cause more problems and require more than just swapping out the board. Also a clicking hard drive is very rarely ever caused by a PCB or controller board.

Using data recovery software to obtain the files and transfer them to a new drive will not work and continuing to operate the drive can cause platter damage and only make data recovery more difficult, or impossible.

Data Analyzers Can Recover Clicking Seagate Hard Drive

We treat hundreds of devices including: Seagate internal or external and portable hard disk drives each month. We have dozens of specialized tools to safely work with sensitive data storage media. Our lab offers free media evaluations for standard Seagate data recovery, and if your device fails unexpectedly, we can quickly provide you with a price and turnaround estimate without risking accidental platter damage.

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