Clicking external 1TB HD

Kage

Golden Master
Messages
13,873
My dads mate's 1TB drive has just packed up, with A LOT on it, and I mean A LOT.

He has given it to us to see what I can do. Its an external drive, so it plugs into USB, and is made by Western Digital.

When you plug it in, the device is recognised by Windows, as an external drive with that unplug logo on the taskbar, and appears as if it'd work, yet no drive appears in Explorer.

Meanwhile, the drive itself powers up and starts to click....a pause, and then a click. After around 6 clicks, the clicking stops, and I can still hear the drive spinning if I put my head close, though not very audiable.

What should I do? Open the external drive up and place the drive in my computer and test it that way?

Any advice would be appreciated, and many thanks to you. If I can get this up, I can simply copy the data from this to a 1.5TB I've been given to back up to.

Any way of accessing the data before Windows starts if its mad like that?

It doesn't have Windows or anything on it though. Its purely used as a data drive.
 

Kage

Golden Master
Messages
13,873
So, theres no chance at all?

I'm going to try to take it out of the casing, and if worse comes to worse, freezing it. I've heard that can work...

I could do with some more ideas though? :)

I tried using a program called Find & Mount, and that found the drive (its also found in Disk Manager), but doesn't find any partitions after a scan...
 

berry120

Fully Optimized
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3,434
Location
UK
Ah, the click of death. I remember this clearly from the days when zip drives were in common use, but if you're hearing it on a hard drive it's pretty much the same issue - the actuator arm is going back and forward, bouncing off the stop and going back again looking for positioning information but never finding any. (This bouncing is what's causing the click.) After around 6 clicks it's probably giving up and just sitting there rotating not doing anything. Generally speaking it's a dodgy head that causes this issue - and in this case I'm afraid there's not much you can do to fix it.

Freezing will sometimes work, and may well be worth a go since it's unlikely to make the problem any worse. Sometimes these sorts of failure occur if the connections to the motor that spins the platters have shorted out against each other, in which case freezing it can help free up the connections (this moves the platters slightly which can cause the wires forming the short to move away from each other) and get the thing going again. If you want to go down this route, place the thing in a waterproof bag to prevent condensation and leave it in the freezer for around 24 hours.

Another cause of the problem is if the head becomes stuck to the platters, in which case hitting the hard drive can free it up. Again though - not likely to do much as this isn't the usual cause of the problem.

Taking the drive out of its external housing probably won't help since if it's clicking that's almost certainly a physical problem with the drive itself (and probably the head) rather than a problem with the interface to it. Whatever you do don't take the cover off the actual drive and expose the platters - this WILL kill it and will greatly reduce the chances of getting anything off of it!

The only sure fire way (or at least your best chance by far) of getting the data off is to send the drive off to a data recovery agency. They can physically remove the platters from your drive and put them in a working housing to get the data off - but as you've probably gathered, it costs.

Sorry, that's probably not what you want to hear and while I do really hope one of the above techniques sorts it for you, I personally think the chances of you recovering anything from the drive yourself are pretty slim. As they say, there's two types of people in this world - those that make regular backups and those that have never had a hard drive fail :(
 

Air

In Runtime
Messages
108
If you have another hard drive of the same model, Do you think the average person be able to put the platter from the broken one on the working one?
 

berry120

Fully Optimized
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Location
UK
If you have another hard drive of the same model, Do you think the average person be able to put the platter from the broken one on the working one?
No way. As I said before, the second you expose those platters to air you expose them to all the dust and airborne debris that's floating around, and even the slightest bit of minute dust can damage the platters and corrupt data yet further. This is before you run into all the problems of handling the platters, getting them on and off the spindles and positioning them correctly - all of which takes a lot of care, knowledge and specialised equipment.

Try this process yourself and chances are the only thing you'll achieve is worsening or destroying the chances of a data recovery company getting the data off.
 

Kage

Golden Master
Messages
13,873
Thanks all,
berry120, Remeniz for the pointers.

I have managed to get it out of the packaging, and yeah, its a standard SATA II hard disk.

Going to try and plug it up now. Wish me luck!
 

GibsonSGKing

Daemon Poster
Messages
1,384
Thanks all,
berry120, Remeniz for the pointers.

I have managed to get it out of the packaging, and yeah, its a standard SATA II hard disk.

Going to try and plug it up now. Wish me luck!
Good luck! Although to be honest, I doubt it will work. I'm not very optimistic with hard drives though :eek:
 

ndg2006

Baseband Member
Messages
63
Good luck! Although to be honest, I doubt it will work. I'm not very optimistic with hard drives though :eek:
Sometimes it does :).

But yeah...any time you get a clicking sound it's pretty much over. One thing I have noticed is to never buy external hard drives from a factory (ie, Western Digital MyBook). I have had 3 total MyBook's fail on me, as well as my close friend has had his fail as well. Each of these had clicking failure problems. Talking with a few of my closest IT friends, the best you can do is build an external drive. Get a server rated hard drive, buy an enclosure, done.
 
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