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Hard drive making a clicking noise then computer freezing up

Posted on 2004-08-10
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Last Modified: 2011-08-18
Hi Everyone!

I am hoping someone can help me.  Lately I have been hearing a clicking noise coming from my hard drive(which is a 6 months old) then my whole pc will freeze up.  I can't even access the task manager for I mean it is completely frozen up.  I will then reboot the pc and a few times it says no primary hard drive but recognizes all of the other drives.  I will then press in on the power cord and the cable going to the hard drive and reboot then it recognized the hard drive.  My pc hsa been freezing up more frequently during the past few days. Can anyone please help before I take a hammer to it, ha ha.

Thanks a million1
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Question by:Cheryllk
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by:Magus_opus
Magus_opus earned 125 total points
ID: 11767992
sounds like you're HDD is about to die on you  (could be faulty, it happens.)   what i would recommend is to back up any information that you have immediately.   Any form of clicking or scratching noises coming from a HDD is usually the Harbringer of Destruction.
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by:
snoopsterg earned 125 total points
ID: 11768013
Your hard drive is defo on its way out.. Back up all data being only 6 months old unless its part of a PC made HP, Packard bell etc then you have 3 years warranty you need to get the serial number and RMA it to the manufacturer and have it replaced


Need any more info give me a shout

Steve
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Author Comment

by:Cheryllk
ID: 11768018
Hi Magus and Snoopsterg thanks for responding.  I had this same problem before and they had to replace the hard drive 6 months ago.  Would there be anything in a pc that would cause damamge to the hard drive?  I haven't had any power outages etc and I do have a really good surge protector connected to the pc.
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Expert Comment

by:snoopsterg
ID: 11768214
No, but there are certain manufacturers to stay away from in certain sizes

i wont use Maxtor for 20GB or 40GB i use seagate 20Gb and samsung 40Gb
Western Digital 80Gb have had a hammering from my customers
Fujitsu 10Gb and 20Gb are useless
Nikimi seem to be rebadged maxtor and only get 90 days warranty (tells a story)
I had some that are badged WL and are detected as Vanilla they seem to be another rebadged (i would say maxtor)

i have not used the excelstor, but have an 80gb on order so will update

I my opinion and i am open to discussion on this one i believe that since the capacity and speed have increased the heat from the drives have increased causing a lot more errors. i would recomend that when you get another replacement insist on seeing the model in your PC take the model number and serial number and make damn sure they replace it with a differen dive.

is this from a PC shop or a store like PC world.. or did you build it yourself

Steve
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Author Comment

by:Cheryllk
ID: 11768243
Steve I did build this pc myself.  It is a 120 GB Maxtor also and so was the previous hard drive so I suppose I should stay away from Maxtor correct?.  I bought the hard drive from Comp USA.

Cheryl
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Expert Comment

by:hiro7
ID: 11768650
Lately I have found most of the major manufacturers the be pretty reliable.  Seagate and Western Digital have worked the best for me.  I have had good luck with Maxtor as well, I would put them at #3.  The only manufacturer I completed avoid right now is Samsung.  I think you have just had bad luck.  Your drive is most likely under warranty, and you can check this online at maxtor.com

Perhaps when you had your drive replaced a few months ago you were giving a referbished model, or it is even possible they were able to repair the drive and now it is acting up again.  

If it were me I would feel pretty good about using a replacement maxtor.  But it may be the particular model you have is problematic.  If you end up buying a new drive I would recommend a seagate barracuda.  What ever you get, don't settle for anything less then a 3 year warranty.

hiro7
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Expert Comment

by:Karpathian
ID: 11768762
The guys are right.  The MTBF on these Maxtor drives is supposedly 3-4 yrs but they must have the worst production line in all of Hard Disk Land.

Buy yourself a Seagate drive (the highest speed you can afford) to use as your Master and then setup the new Mator drive as a second hard drive...

Here is a GREAT drive to buy at under $100:
Seagate - ST3120026A
120GB
8MB Cache
7200 RPM

Google It!

Cheers,
Evan
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Expert Comment

by:genius_xp
ID: 11768930
Hi,
 Like stated before your hard drive should soon die on you. But a possible reason for this happening is because of the temperature. You stated that you built your computer yourself, first of all i think you should check that you have the right cooling system to meet your configuration, because very high temperatures can easily damage you hdd.
You can check the temperature from you bios and if the temperature seems higher then normal, get a better cooling system before replacing the hard drive, since you already replaced it before...

hope it helps, cant think of anything else... :s



genius_xp
 
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Expert Comment

by:Karpathian
ID: 11768967
genius_xp is absolutely right... the drive that is clicking is about to fail and you will lose all data on it

you should post again and list the complete specs of your PC... then maybe someone will see something wrong
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by:riparius
ID: 11769056
The clicking is usually a recalibrate and head reload which occurs after fatal seek errors.  This usually means there is an unreadable sector header on the platter, or "bad block" from the old days...

The  only way you could contribute to the quick burnouts is via heat (as stated above) or vibration (more than a little of it...swift kicks come to mind).  

 If you are using XP, make sure you do NOT pick "Quick Format"  when installing the replacement and reloading.  Spend the extra time on the long format as it will find and map around any bad blocks  (all disks have a few, but yours is not mapped around).  It may be that some manufacturers are shortcutting the testing and factory mapping due to the time it takes.
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Expert Comment

by:Dynamic1
ID: 11769091
Back up that data real fast. I dont know what it is I used maxtor for a long time with no real standout problems. Now I am getting back 1-2 year old drives at a very high rate.
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Author Comment

by:Cheryllk
ID: 11769708
Thanks everyone I really appreciate all of your helo.  I am on my way to back up all of the data before the hd crashes.

Thanks a million,

Cheryl
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Expert Comment

by:markyb123
ID: 11879386
Hi, I too am having a similar problem with my secondary hard drive. It will be fine for ages but as soon as I try to write any large amounts of data to it its just clicks once and then everything freezes.
Now while I know that this means the hard drive probably isnt perfect this is not the first time this has happened nor the second so I am led to believe that something else must be wrong becasue no ones luck is that bad :) I have used 2 different programs to check out my system and noticed something which I "think" is disturbing. The 3.3v and 5.5v levels seem to be fine although the 12v (which I have been led to believe is important in hard drives) seems to be hanging at roughly 1.88v which is obviously far too low. could this be the reason that my computer keeps crashing when Im trying to copy data from one drive to the other?
Both my primary and secondary drives are western digital 160GB. The power supply I bought is cheap and one of ebuyers own brands.
Any help would be great as I cant afford to splash out on new Hard drives at the moment and I dont have the packaging required to send this one back if its faulty.
Thankyou :) mark Batcheler
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Expert Comment

by:tj_deus
ID: 11879674
Hi there,
   I thought i would drop a line because i have had this exact problem twice before.  There is no doubt in my mind that your hard drive is on the way out.  Exactly why this is happening is probably due to one of the following reasons:

1.  The firmware on your hard drive is damaged or corrupt, this will make it difficult for your OS to identify the hard drive and would defnitely explain a system crash(even perhaps, on boot up).  If your hard drive sometimes works and sometimes doesn't, this is very likely the case.  If your hard drive is not being detected properly, this is certainly your problem.  Buy a new hard drive unless you can figure out how to fix or replace the firmware chip on the hard drive, which you will need to see an authorised dealer for.

2.  The rotor motor or data pickup arms are damaged.  Again to fix this problem, you will need to consult your dealer or the manufacturer.  This would explain the clicking noise you will hear at irregular intervals.  If this is the problem, your setup utility(BIOS) will not have a problem detecting your hard drive(or the OS), but it is very likely that you will get system crashes or reading and writing errors.

3.  Unexplained phenomenon happens a lot.  It does seem to me that if you experience this kind of problem, that it is not long before the hard drive will cease to work altogether and need replacing.  I am of the opinion that your hard drive does not merely have bad sectors on it.


I hope this is of some value...
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Expert Comment

by:tj_deus
ID: 11879692
Hi again,
     I left out some potentially vital information, and that is:

4.  It is also possible that your motherboard's BIOS chip is not recognising the primary IDE 'master' channel correctly.  Swap the hard drive over to the slave or to the SECONDARY IDE channel and see if the problem persists.  If this is the problem, then either your BIOS chip is defective, or some component or circuitry on the Primary 'master' IDE channel is faulty.  Since your drive is clicking, i would suggest that the problem is internal of the hard drive itself.

Cheers, Tim.
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Expert Comment

by:WallD
ID: 11953437
There is a interesting page on Seagates site that says that something like one in three disk drives returned to manufacturers are not actually faulty.

they have a utility that checks the staus of any smart enabled disk to show errors etc.

May be worth a look. http://www.seagate.com/support/seatools/
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by:c661jmb
ID: 11985377
Ok, lets see if we can get some more information here.

1) do you have a high end video card that has the requirement for a Power connector such as the GF FX5900 etc?

2) do you have the correct wattage PSU? and even if you do is it a good psu?

3) using the power connector that is fitted to the HDD, do you have any other devices connected?

Reasons?

My SATA drive did the very same thing, the problem was, I was powering 2 x HDD and the FX 5900 from the same power cable.

I now power the FX5900 on the same cable as the DVDRW. Because there is no way I am going to be writing DVD's while playing doom 3!!

Try it and see.

Also take note of all the comments above regarding heat. There are plenty of HDD cooling solutions out there.
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Expert Comment

by:wole04
ID: 12154258
Use a soft ware like S.M.A.R.T to monitor your hard drive. it warns you if the hard drive is going out so u can back up all necessary information.
The clicking noise is definately a bad drive. Have u been moving the computer about a lot??
The damage may have been caused through moving ur computer about a lot without sufficient anti shock
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