External hard drives, though incredibly useful for backing up and transporting large amounts of data, are not immune to issues. One such problem that has perplexed and alarmed many users over the years is the dreaded ‘clicking noise’. This sound, often likened to a ticking clock, can send chills down the spine of anyone who stores precious data on their drive. But what does external hard drive clicking noise signify? More importantly, can it be fixed without drilling a hole in your wallet?

In this article, we’ll demystify the reasons behind the mysterious clicking noise of external hard drives and introduce you to an easy, and most importantly, free method to address this concern. So before you consider abandoning your trusty drive, give this guide a read. Your data, and your peace of mind, might just be a few steps away from salvation.



Signs of Hard Drive Clicking

1. The drive’s light is on, accompanied by a faint and soft clicking noise.
2. There appears to be a connection problem with the hard drive as it produces a muted, slow click.
3. The drive exhibits a “click of death” symptom, generating rapid and loud “Click, Click, Click” sounds.

external hard drive clicking

Reasons for (External) Hard Drive Clicking

1. Power issues: Not enough power leading to hard drive spin errors.
2. Connection problems: Faulty or incompatible connection cables.
3. Physical damage: Exposure to fire, submersion in water, extreme temperatures, etc.
4. Hardware complications: Degraded or misaligned disk head, damaged service area, faulty PCB, and more.

external hard drive

5 Solutions for External Hard Drive Clicking Noise

Typically, when a hard drive clicks, it’s an indication of potential failure. Wondering how to address a clicking external hard drive? Begin by assessing your drive’s condition:

1. Hard drive clicks but remains functional (can be accessed)
2. Hard drive clicks and is undetected

If you can access your clicking hard drive, prioritize data retrieval using Methods 1 and 2. If the drive goes undetected or isn’t recognized, proceed to Method 3 for resolution.


Solution 1: Cool or Freeze the Hard Drive

An overheating hard drive may produce clicking noises. Freezing the drive can not only temper the device but also contract internal components to release any that might be jammed.

To implement this:

Step 1. Open your PC or laptop, and clean out the dust from the fan.
Step 2. Incorporate an additional fan to cool down the drive.
Step 3. Pause your computer usage and allow the drive to cool.
Once operational again, prioritize data backup or retrieval.

Step 4. If the drive is dated, consider purchasing a replacement.


Solution 2: Seek Data Recovery Service for Retrieving Data from Clicking Disk

Should data recovery software be unable to retrieve data from your detectable but clicking hard drive, you might need to resort to a professional data recovery service. Once data is recovered from the malfunctioning drive, proceed with the subsequent fixes to repair and rejuvenate your clicking hard drive.

There are several reputable hard drive recovery software tools available that can help users retrieve lost or accidentally deleted data. Here are some of the most popular ones:

1. Recuva:

Download Recuva>>>

– Developer: Piriform
– Description: A user-friendly tool designed for Windows. It’s known for its simplicity and can recover deleted files, photos, videos, and more from hard drives, SD cards, and external drives.

2. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard:

Download EASE US>>>

– Developer: EaseUS
– Description: A versatile recovery tool available for both Windows and Mac. It can recover lost files, pictures, documents, videos, and more from deletions, formatting errors, partition losses, OS crashes, virus attacks, and other data loss scenarios.

3. Stellar Data Recovery:

Download Stellar Data Recovery>>>

– Developer: Stellar Information Technology
– Description: Available for Windows and Mac, it’s a comprehensive tool known for recovering lost or deleted data, including from corrupted or inaccessible drives.

4. Disk Drill:

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– Developer: CleverFiles
– Description: This tool offers data recovery for Windows and Mac. It supports a wide variety of file formats and storage devices.

5. R-Studio:

Download R-Studio>>>

– Developer: R-Tools Technology
– Description: A more advanced tool designed for data recovery professionals but is also available for casual users. It can recover data from local disks, removable disks, corrupted disks, unbootable disks, clients connected to a local area network or the internet.



– Always back up your data regularly to prevent data loss.
– If you suspect your drive is failing, stop using it immediately to prevent further data loss or damage.
– It’s usually a good idea to make an image of the affected drive before attempting recovery. This ensures you can always go back to the original state in case something goes wrong during the recovery process.

While software can be effective in many cases, severely damaged drives or complex data loss situations might require professional data recovery services.


Solution 3: Alter Hard Drive Connection to Address the Clicking Drive

Often, a deficient power supply can lead to a clicking hard drive. In some instances, shifting the USB port can rectify this. Additionally, a faulty or mismatched connection cable can induce disk clicking errors.

Here’s how to diagnose a clicking hard drive:

Step 1. Inspect the connection cable for any damage.
If found defective, obtain a replacement and reconnect the clicking external hard drive to your computer.

Step 2. Examine the power cable for looseness.
If so, disconnect and then reconnect it securely to both your computer and the drive.

Step 3. Ensure you’re using a compatible drive.
For instance, connecting a USB 3.0 external drive using a USB 2.0 cable might lead to non-recognition and even clicking sounds.

If you need a new cable for your hard drive, check out the following article>>>

Step 4. Try connecting the clicking external hard drive to a different computer.
If the noise persists on your computer, test it on another.

Step 5. Extract the hard drive from its casing and link it to the PC externally. Following these steps will rule out potential connection issues. If the clicking continues, consider the subsequent solutions provided. If data access becomes problematic, refer to Solution 1.

Solution 4: Retrieve Data from a Functional Clicking Hard Drive

If your clicking drive is recognized but doesn’t display any files, it’s essential to use trustworthy hard drive recovery software to first restore the absent disk data.

Learn more on how to recover your hard drive: External Hard Drive Data Recovery (Easy FREE Way).

Solution 5: Seek Professional Repair for Clicking Hard Drive

Should the clicking persist, it likely indicates severe hardware malfunctions like a malfunctioning head reader or compromised drive components.

In such scenarios, you might require expert intervention:

1. If under warranty, consider sending the problematic hard drive for a replacement.
2. Reach out to the support team associated with your hard drive’s manufacturer.
3. Consult a local disk repair center.

Specialists at these centers can substitute a malfunctioning control board or replace a compromised disk head.


If you own a Mac and face problems with external hard drive, here are some articles that might help you:


Have You Managed to Solve External Hard Drive Clicking Noise Problem?

In the realm of external hard drives, the unsettling ‘clicking noise’ is more than just a minor hiccup; it’s a sign that prompts immediate attention. Throughout this article, we’ve navigated the underlying causes of this notorious sound and explored a straightforward, cost-free solution to tackle it head-on. It’s essential to remember that timely intervention can not only extend the lifespan of your drive but also safeguard your invaluable data from potential loss.

So, the next time your external hard drive starts its ominous ticking, you’ll be armed with the knowledge and tools needed to address the issue. Remember, with the right guidance and a proactive approach, your drive can continue being a reliable repository for your data.



Thank you for reading this guide! I hope that it was helpful in teaching you everything you need to know about external hard drive clicking noise:)

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