HDD 160GB IDE makes clicking sound

Asked By 510 points N/A Posted on -


I have an HDD notebook with 160 GB IDE. Sometimes, I connect it to a USB port using external HDD Case. The problem is, several weeks ago, it was accidentally dropped by a friend of mine after he unplugged it from the USB port. And ever since it happened, every time I tried to plug it in to a USB port, it always make a clicking sound and cannot be loaded inside Windows. I have checked the BIOS and apparently, the HDD was recognized by the BIOS system. But after login to Windows system, it did not load properly.

I already tried to check in Computer Management ( Control Panel -> Administrative Tools ) under Storage -> Disk Management., But unfortunately, it was not listed there. I have also tried to install the HDD directly inside the Laptop without using the external HDD case, unfortunately, it didn’t solve anything.

For your Information, I’m using Windows XP SP3. I have tried connecting it to USB port of a Desktop PC and boot it using Linux CD but the partition was not recognized. Is there anybody who can give me suggestions or ideas on how to solve this problem? The HDD contained my movie collections and some personal files that are hard to replace.

I am looking forward to your best solution.



Best Answer by Gerard Baylor
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Answered By 0 points N/A #91907

HDD 160GB IDE makes clicking sound


Hi Mstephen1978,

I’m sorry to hear that your friend accidentally dropped your external drive. All the important files that you want to recover seemed like a big task. You mentioned that your drive was making clicking noises when you plugged it in. Well, you just encountered the dreaded “noise of death”. Don’t lost heart though, as your BIOS can still detect the hard drive. Now. let’s get to work and try some solutions.

The clicking sound you mentioned could be one of these two things, the hard drive heads can’t read the data, or the heads have become non-aligned and may have scratched the metal disk plates inside. The good thing is that, the BIOS can still recognize the drive. Follow this guide, using a Linux Live CD to extract a raw image of your damaged disk to a new one.

The actuator arm inside the drive was locked into a certain spot and needs to be jarred a bit. Take a rubber mallet and “gently” strike the side of the hard disk with it. Do this several times until the clicking sound disappears. If the clicking sound persists, bring it to a data recovery specialist to prevent more damage from occurring.

Sometimes the impact caused by the fall has caused micro fissures on the logic board underneath the main hard drive mounting. The logic board controls the spindle motors, read heads and actuator arms. All you have to do when that happens is replace the logic board with the same type and model as the one that has been damaged.

There are cases when the clicking sound is caused by the actuator arm breaking free which has now swung over from side to side. The spindle drive servo motor could also be a possible suspect here. Don’t attempt to open the hard drive in this case, just bring it straight to a specialist to recover. Thing is, both defective parts can be replaced and made functional once again. It’s just that the drive needs to be disassembled in a clinical dust-free environment so the magnetic fields around the platter would not be disturbed during repair.

There is a workbench level solution named HD HPE Pro that offers a repair kit, allowing DIY hard disk repairs. It includes a repair workbench, a platter exchange tool, and an actuator remover that ensures easy removal of the actuator magnet, otherwise it would be difficult to dismantle on normal conditions.

Answered By 0 points N/A #91909

HDD 160GB IDE makes clicking sound


Hi Mstephen,

Sadly, base on your story I can agree with Mr. Gerard Baylor, that it is the “noise of death”. The clicking sound is a sign of deterioration in a normal life span of the hard drive or in your case it was dropped so the metal disk plates inside might be displaced.

Practically, the best thing I can suggest since your operating system can still detect the external drive is for you to back up your important files. You can still use it as long as it’s working but to avoid further inconvenience and shortcomings in saving your important file the option of getting a new one is in your hands.


Answered By 577235 points N/A #308075

HDD 160GB IDE makes clicking sound


If the hard disk really appeared in the BIOS, it means the storage device was detected properly. In this case, there’s no way for the drive to not appear in Microsoft Windows after booting the computer. If you hear a click or clicking sound coming from the hard drive when you connect it to the USB port, it is a sign that the drive has bad sector.

This is probably the result after the drive was accidentally dropped. If the drive really doesn’t appear in Microsoft Windows, remove the jumper on the side. Unplug the drive from the USB port then remove the jumper from the pins. Next, plug the drive again to the USB port then see if the drive appears.

If this doesn’t work and it doesn’t appear in the system, connect the jumper again to the pins and make sure it is set to “Cable Select” or connect it to where it was previously connected. See if this works.

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