Can you fix a failing clicking hard disk?
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  1. #1
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    Can you fix a failing clicking hard disk?

    I realise unlikely but just wondering

  2. #2
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    Re: Can you fix a failing clicking hard disk?

    All sorts of possibilities, none of which may work:
    - mount the hard disk in the box sideways;
    - mount the hard disk in the box upside down;
    - put the hard disk in the fridge or freezer for half and hour and then return it (I've never tried this one, so not recommending it);

    Basically, in my own case, if the hard disk signaled it's demise, it's a "back up data" situation for stuff that's not backed up, so that's what I've tried to do in the past, with varying success. But in latter years, I replace hard disks every 5 years regardless, and since then have never had an issue.

    To discover issues:
    - use the hard disk utilities like smart and fsck to see what gives;
    - download the manufacturer's analytical tools, or purchase the commercial hard-drive repair tools.

  3. #3
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    Re: Can you fix a failing clicking hard disk?

    Thanks, curiously putting the disc into different positions helped, a new one from eBay is on the way..

  4. #4
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    Re: Can you fix a failing clicking hard disk?

    the freezer trick does not work with modern drives and will actually just increase the speed the drive will die at. It condensates ALL parts of the drive internally. you are risking catastrophic drive failure if you spin it up before all the ice crystals have melted*, electrical arcing and corrosion of circuits.

    *The clearance of the drive head and platters in modern drives is so low, any ice crystals formed would actually prevent the head from moving over the platter.

  5. #5
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    Re: Can you fix a failing clicking hard disk?

    I had a clicking drive.
    I was successful with restoring it,s use by just inverting the drive, and then doing a reformat. That drive has been working now for around 3 months.
    I use it daily as a scratch drive. (A big /tmp). So, if it fails, there is nothing on it that I want to keep.
    My new "in the hot-dog bubble wrap" replacement drive is sitting in it's shipping carton; keeping it as a reserve.
    I tested the drive when it arrived. It has no errors, and the smartctl test verified that the drive was OK.

    Check the date of manufacture. If your drive is 3-4 years old, then replace it. I would strongly consider an SSD as the replacment device.
    Last edited by lsatenstein; 5th August 2018 at 04:01 PM.
    Leslie in Montreal

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  6. #6
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    Re: Can you fix a failing clicking hard disk?

    If it already makes whatever strange sounds, it's just time to backup and ditch it. As said, changing the orientation can temporarily help, but can possibly make it worse as well.
    From my experience, the longer the drive serves, the less likely it will fail even if it's rather old. They most often fail in the early years, in my case the second year is the critical time where the can fail.
    I had two 10k rpm VelociRaptors. One is still working here in the computer in work and the second one started to resonate my case after about those 2 years. No terrible crackilng sounds, it's just hotter and more, hmmm - hissing sound comes from it while it resonates a lot just by touch as compared to the other, healthy one.
    So I had to get rid of that one too before it was too late.
    I still have one platter, it's a WD RED 2TB mostly for backup and for storing VMs. It's been some time now so I hope it will work for a long time. Having the platter for such purposes is something I like to have, it's speed is not an important factor here and it saves some lifetime of the two SSDs I primarily use.

  7. #7
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    Re: Can you fix a failing clicking hard disk?

    I had success with my clicking drive by flipping the drive so that it lies pc circuit board up, followed by a reformat.
    I did learn that gpt drives need that one reserved area that if corrupted, can also cause "clicking".
    That area is where the heads float over when the drive is at rest.
    So, call me "Wierd thinker", but when my other terrabyte drives each reach a two year life, I am going to flip them over. I want to get more than 4 years of happy worry free drive use.
    And yes, by then, SSDs will only be double the cost of a rust spinner, and I will replace failed spinner with an SSD.
    Leslie in Montreal

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  8. #8
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    Re: Can you fix a failing clicking hard disk?

    Hmm, it is probably best to buy a new disk while it is still working and copy the data over.

    If it already failed, then you can try to buy an identical disk on Ebay and swap the controller card to attempt to recover the data.

    If it is a SSD that is clicking, then you prolly have a bigger problem...
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  9. #9
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    Re: Can you fix a failing clicking hard disk?

    My flipped drive is showing no signs of problems. Its now two months.
    I suspect that there was nothing physically wrong with the drive, except for that very first sector on the drive, that somehow got corrupted.
    That sector is used by gpt.
    How did I fix the problem
    a) using dd, write nulls for a few hundred sectors. (5 seconds or so of writes).
    b) define the drive as ms-dos type but do not layout partitions
    c) redefine the drive as gpt and this time layout the partitions.
    d) install the drive permenantly in circuit board up layout.
    FWIW, the drive temp is 29C My SSD near it is at 28C so, everything is cool.
    I have the replacment drive in the hot-dog style bubble wrap. I bought it before doing a-d steps mentioned
    Using rsync, I mirror that drive nightly.
    Leslie in Montreal

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