Cant initialise disk

detox1978 used Ask the Experts™
Hi All

My laptop hard drive started clicking, so I removed it and I'm trying to get the data off it.  I'm not bothered about the drive itself as it's old, just want the data.

It doesnt all the time.  When I connect it to my other laptop using a drive caddy, it's picked up by disk manager, but showing as Not Initialized.

If I try to initialise it, it says

Data Error (cycle redundancy check)

Diskpart shows the disk as online and 0MB

Any suggestions on what I can try?
Watch Question

Do more with

Expert Office
EXPERT OFFICE® is a registered trademark of EXPERTS EXCHANGE®
rather than disk manager, can you see the drive in explorer?
you may want to put it back in the other laptop, and try to get the data off with flash drive(s), DVD's or even networking the two laptops.

better safe than may erase everything messing with disk manager and initializing.
Senior IT Advisor
Top Expert 2008
the drive is probably toast. The clicking sounds means the read heads may not be working.  Best you can do is download an application like gparted (you'll need to burn ISO), get a usb drive and boot gparted from disk.  You can then try to have the application look at the disk and check to see if it can find any data.  If it can you can copy it to the external usb drive

Other good applications include Ontrack's Data Recovery.  If data recovery is critical then you may need to send it to a recovery specialty center but it will cost you good amount of cash to go this route.
Scott ThompsonComputer Technician / Owner
Honestly, if it still boots in the laptop, putting it back in and booting may be your best option for backing up.  A clicking hard drive is a failure in progress.  You could always try running a chkdsk if the laptop boots, but that might cause more damage.  Backup what you can and replace the drive.
How to Generate Services Revenue the Easiest Way

This Tuesday! Learn key insights about modern cyber protection services & gain practical strategies to skyrocket business:

- What it takes to build a cloud service portfolio
- How to determine which services will help your unique business grow
- Various use-cases and examples


The laptop doesn't boot.  I'll give those programs a try.
Top Expert 2013
if the disk has the clicking sound, no software will help, since it simply cannot read/write
if the data is needed, you'll need recovery services like these (not free) :                        data recovery Company                                 "           "                   "                     "           "                   "

ask for their policy and fee !
I know this sounds nuts, but put the drive in a refrigerator for about an hour and then quickly hook it up and see if you can access it. That clicking is a head crash. I've been able to chill drives down to salvage some data. It works maybe 2 out of 5 times I've tried it.
Top Expert 2013

newmath - plse explain how you cure a head crash by putting in a fridge?

Hi Nobus. There are tons of threads about this method. Sometimes the servo that controls the rocker arm for the head heats up and doesn't function correctly and falls on to one of the platters. Cooling it down sometimes solves that problem. Again, it's a long shot - and I would be remiss if I didn't mention that the method is perhaps heatedly debated, but it doesn't take much effort to try.

you shouldn't need to explain yourself .... you offered a suggestion, as asked by the OP.

with that aside, I always heard to put it in the freezer...guess it serves (no pun intended) the same purpose.

Definitely one of the cooler suggestions :)
Scott CSenior Engineer

When I've put hard drives into the freezer I've always put them in an air-tight ZipLock bag to keep condenstation from forming on the drive while in the freezer.

Also I've had some success with gently tapping the drive with the handle of a screwdriver while the drive is spinning up.

The physics behind cooling the drive are contracing the metal so that the heads can move again.  The tapping can sometimes break loose a stuck gear.

None of these are "fixes" just a band-aid to try to get data back.

Yes, the gentle tapping also works on occasion too. Good suggestion.
Top Expert 2013

i agree with Scottcha - but that has nothing to do with a head crash -  what is why i asked
but you're not obliged to answer, but if we can agree on something, it is always nice for the asker
and note an opinion has no value for me, unless backed up with some evidence (threads on the net are fine, but many are wrong too)

iknow th clicking sound comes from heads that can't read track and sectoring info - thus they move till the Head stop (the click) ..and then resume to do the same thing...

so i still stand by my comment : no software will help
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009

First of all check if the problem is not in caddy you put the drive in. Is the caddy powered via additional wallset power supply?


No luck getting the data back.  Have written it off.  I'll keep the drive as I might want to pay to have it fix in the future.

You could also try starting the drive in different orientations to see if it starts.  I have one laptop drive that will boot if the circuit board side is facing down flat on the table, but will click and be unrecognizable in other orientations.

Keeping the drive a while might possibly help too.  I was able to recover files from another drive that I kept around for over a year when it eventually became readable.

Those are just 2 suggestions that happen to work in 2 cases that I've had.  There's a bunch of seemingly illogical weirdness that can happen with drives.  Certain drives from the late 90's would stick and I used to have to turn them sideways and bang them against the edge of a table to loosen the arms to make them work again.  People looked at me funny whenever I did that, but I (and many others) have "fixed" numerous drives that way.
Top Expert 2013

i always put the garden gnome on it, and hope it bewitches it

Do more with

Expert Office
Submit tech questions to Ask the Experts™ at any time to receive solutions, advice, and new ideas from leading industry professionals.

Start 7-Day Free Trial