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I have a transcend 250GB hard drive which recently stopped working. It didn't sustain and physical damage that I am aware of, dropping, water ect... It won't even pop on the desktop, and isn't recognized with disk manager. I plugged it into a mac to test it and the exact same thing happened. I has using it an hour before, i turned the computer off and when i returned I booted the system to find the HDD clicking.

I heard this could be caused by the reader not finding the center point so it can't read any data also I heard this could be caused by the HDD not receiving enough power form the computer but I doubt this is the problem

My question is there any thing you guys know that will allow be to access the data once to extract the data off it without using a service?

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Please limit your post to a single question. The last paragraph is a duplicate of Recovering Hard Disk and does not match the title of this very question at all. Thanks! –  Arjan Dec 12 '10 at 16:21

5 Answers 5

Click of death.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Click_of_death

Here's some info.

The basic information provided is "Click of death is a term that became common in the late 1990s referring to the clicking sound in disk storage systems that signals a disk drive has failed, often catastrophically.[1] The clicking sound itself arises from the unexpected movement of the disk's read-write actuator. "

There is more detail, but that is the basic idea.

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3  
-1. Would you care to leave any additional information, so that we don't have to google for it? –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Dec 12 '10 at 6:54
2  
While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes. –  Chenmunka Aug 26 at 15:08

My way: Half throttle

As with all suggestions here: DISCLAIMER: DO THAT AT YOUR OWN RISK.

I got an unhappy Western Digital "Eco" Drive wd10ezrx harddrive which I am recovering at the moment. It was clicking since yesterday and today I tried to access some of files which took quite some time. And the clicking got even louder (or was it just me?). Well, I downloaded Knoppix and started to run ddrescue on that drive which does do its job quite well:

I see valid data in the binary output. The MFT of the NTFS volume is there, everything is going to be alright. But after some time, the speed got slower and slower, extremely slow, until 32kb/sec etc. I tried all settings from the internet, from many forums. And I noticed that it's getting slower and slower when I have the recovery process running long time. It was quite strange that from time to time, it speeded up a little bit, but just for some seconds.

Now I read a lot about freezing which is an interesting idea and which also seems to work a lot. I also punched the drive and every time the head loses control the drive stops and starts again - but with full speed!

So I tried the following: I used

hdparm -Y /dev/sdX 

regularly to stop the drive. It fires up again automatically for sure (because he wants to read) and then it starts to copy in good speed for some seconds - until it starts to click and copy with like 32kb/sec again. Arg! And again I noticed he starts to click after some time of copying. The heads seems to hit something after some time - whatever it is and for whatever reason, so I got an idea...

My next idea was to stop (-Y) and start/standby (-y) the drive regularly, like

while [ 1 ]; do hdparm -Y /dev/sdX; hdparm -y /dev/sdX; sleep 30; done

I played with some sleeping values and after some time I got very good values, which are

while [ 1 ]; do hdparm -Y /dev/sdX; sleep 5; hdparm -y /dev/sdX; sleep 10; done

Now, the drive can't start to click because this just happens after some time - for whatever reason. I stop the harddrive again before he starts to do this, otherwise he hangs up while reading the sectors.

I copied 20GB in 10 minutes now. I'm quite glad that works and I hope my harddisk survives this process.

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Can you hear the drive spinning, or just the clicking noise? If you don't hear it spinning, then it may be that the head has stuck to the platter (sticktion) and the spindle motor doesn't have enough torque to start spinning the platter. I've had this happen on a 2.5" laptop drive when the power supply shorted out and dropped the power.

I got it running again by putting the drive into an external case and then when powering it up (and it's clicking), holding one end of the drive case with one hand then the then hitting the other end with my other hand. The idea is to create a twisting moment that will allow the motor to finally spin up the platter.

Good luck!

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I have successfully done the freezer trick, a brand new Seagate drive failed on me I came home after work to the sound of a buzz saw! A couple of hours in a deep freeze at -25C, double wrapped in plastic freezer bags with paper towel to absorb moisture.

Get everything ready such as connectors, a folder to dump everything then rush the drive from the freezer to your system and connect it.

You have to do it when it's cold, speed is the key before condensation develops.

This is a last act of desperation for a drive that beyond hope of repair.

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Nice, but I guess this should have been a comment to the comments at madmaze's answer? This does not answer the question, does it? –  Arjan Dec 12 '10 at 16:17
    
Oh, the question is quite vague actually. –  Arjan Dec 12 '10 at 16:17

It cannot be said for sure why exactly it is clicking, but usually it is the reading arm that is either trying to go out of its defined range of motion, aka its either hitting the centerpost or the outside of the case.

This may also be because the coil, which controls the movement of the arm, is burnt out. Sometimes its also the driver board that has burn out.

Getting your data off without special tools is hard, if not impossible.

You can try ddrescue, but most likely it wont work.

EDIT: If you want to know more and have some spare time: Check out the following series of talks:

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BTW the more it runs the more likely it is that the head is actually damaging the platter –  madmaze Dec 12 '10 at 4:08
    
I was afraid of that, it only ran for 30sec, but I feared this was the case –  allindal Dec 12 '10 at 4:25
    
I managed to salvage quite a bit of data from a "clicking" hard drive by using a "home-made" remedy. Try it at your own risk; because the moving parts inside the hard drive causing the failure are metalic, you can sometimes recover data by leaving the hard drive in the freezer in an airtight bag with some humidity absorbants just in case (the type your get with most electronics packaging in a small paper bag) for the night. This causes the metalic pieces of the hard drive to reshape and sometimes things "click" into place for a small perior of time. –  akseli Dec 12 '10 at 4:57
    
What is the procedure for that, run it after freezing overnight when the HDD is right out of the freezer and frozen or wait until it warms up? what is the freeze length? –  allindal Dec 12 '10 at 6:50
    
@akseli: I would be very cautious using this method, since drives are not made to operate at low temps like that. But either way, if you do want to try to recover your data, let ddrescue working, test it with another drive first and then do it for real with the real drive. –  madmaze Dec 12 '10 at 6:53

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