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My external hard drive tends to drop the head and click while it plays MP3’s and videos; some videos do it, others not.

I ran a smart test on that drive with WD-Lifeguard these are the results.

enter image description here

The clicking sound comes one time all 3 minutes, sometimes 5. It only happens at certain files which are on the drive. Otherwise the drive works perfectly, no copy errors, nothing suspicious other than that.

To explain it more precisely which files cause these uncommon click sounds to the hard drive: videos i downloaded with youtube video downloader. old mp4 media files from previous drives. Some of them only. If i would redownload an old youtube file again and replace it, the clicking would be gone. I tested this on one file. It worked. The question is: are the files corrupt? Is the hard drive infected? Or is the hard drive defect?

I tried to copy—let’s say—one video and play it. The error is still there. The file continues to play but the click still happens.

The hard drive is able to play/copy/write any file without problems. Most of the files it gives an error to are from my old hard drive which i copied them to. It only happens on media files, otherwise i can copy even large amounts of files without any click happening.

I'd really like to know what it is. A virus?

Anyone know’s what this might be?

  • Run a chkdsk /r on the hard drive, see if it finds any inconsistencies and repairs them, once this is done defragment the drive, see if the behavior stops or changes. – Moab Aug 3 '16 at 17:43
  • **** I DID A CHKDSK *** NO ERRORS FOUND *** CLICK STILL HAPPENS I Bought this drive a week ago. – Ionian Aug 3 '16 at 17:53
  • The drive might be overheating. use whatever you have to get SMART info on temperature, and the read error rate. – meuh Aug 3 '16 at 17:57
  • Did you defrag the drive? – Moab Aug 3 '16 at 17:58
  • yes i defrag it frequently. – Ionian Aug 3 '16 at 17:59
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It could be that the areas of the hard drive where those files are stored are damaged, dying or corrupt. One way to test this theory is to copy the files that you know cause a click or hiccup into a new folder and see if that click happens when you playback the newly copied file. I realize you state you attempted to do this, but just tossing it out there as an idea.

You have two options for now; one option in the long run:

  1. Format: Copy all of your data off of that external hard drive onto another drive, format the external hard drive and copy the data back again.
  2. Buy a New Drive: Chances are good—I would say I’m 60% positive—that the external hard drive is dying. So while you can reformat it as I explain in point 1, the life of that drive is questionable at best.

If I were you I would make a backup of that drive and purchase a new drive at the first chance you can before the clicks go silent and the drive is dead.

FWIW, while you state the drive shows no errors, to my knowledge external USB hard drives do not share SMART data with the host computer. So for all you know you could take that drive out of the enclosure, connect it directly to a computer and the SMART status will show the drive is dying.

  • sorry, what does it mean if the file I copied still makes a clicking noise? – Ionian Aug 19 '16 at 17:59
  • @Ionian It most likely means the drive is defective or dying. – JakeGould Aug 20 '16 at 2:49
  • Does it mean that those files are already damaged? I don't get a CRC error. What if I copy those files into a new drive? Will the new drive click the same way? – Ionian Aug 21 '16 at 17:25
  • @Ionian It means the drive has issues. Not the data. This could mean utterly nothing. Or it could mean the drive is dying. If you feel the drive is dying, my recommendation would be to get a new drive. – JakeGould Aug 21 '16 at 17:31

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