Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a spindle based hard drive that crashed (disappeared from Windows) in the middle of the night while the computer was running. When I restarted the computer it stayed on the 'AHCI Init' screen for a relatively long time, during which I could hear a rhythmic ticking sound. After 5-10 ticks the AHCI list showed just my SSD and DVD drive, and booted into windows with my spindle based drive still MIA.

What is most likely wrong with this drive, and is there any trick that can be used to get it booted up at least one last time for a backup? The important files are backed up online, but there are some programs and temp files that I'd like to move to another drive to avoid a lot of re-installation work.

I found similar questions about restoring data via a search, but nothing particular to getting a clicking drive to spin up one last time.

share|improve this question
You might be able to pay for data recovery every case is different that's really your only hope hdd problems that get this bad can't be solved without a clean room – Ramhound Aug 17 '14 at 3:02
Your hard drive is probably dead, but in the category of complete desperation you could put in a ziplock and freeze it for an hour and then hook it back up and it might work once. Otherwise be prepared to pay a data recovery center $900-$1000 to recover it. – cybernard Aug 17 '14 at 14:45
up vote 1 down vote accepted

The short answer is no. There is not going to be a way to fix this which is likely to work short of paying a specially equipped lab (with a clean room) to take the platter out and put into another drive.

There are some things you could try but they are all way more difficult than reinstalling your apps will be. This is a fairly good explanation of what is really going on:

share|improve this answer
After exhausting all other options I did try the freezer route, though without success. I appreciate the visualization of the problem in the video. Thanks. – Nicholas Aug 19 '14 at 20:45

I had a similar issue with a second hand HDD I bought online. I haven't been able to get it running. I brought it to a professional and he said that it's broken on the hardware level and there's nothing that can be done.

I returned the HDD as it came with a warranty. If yours' warranty has expired, then you might try replacing the components inside it.

The clicking noise is probably caused by a broken head arm. However, if the HDD is not even recognized by BIOS, then it might be the electronics that failed in which case you'd need to replace the circuit board at the bottom. Either way, not an easy job.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .