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4 internal HDDs, click of death.

click of death hdd hard drive hard disk

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#1 clickofdeath4drives

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 12:49 PM

I apologize in advance if I am on the wrong section. If so, please kindly direct me to the proper section :)

 

I have 4 internal hard drives. I've been hearing the 'click of death' for the past couple weeks. Luckily, my computer is still able to run sometimes (although not very smoothly). I want to back up my files onto the other hard drives, but then I realized I don't know which hard drive is doing the click of death.

 

I don't know a lot about computers and I've recently just researched about the 'click of death'. It's safe to assume what I am hearing is the click of death as all symptoms point to it. I can write about my symptoms if needed. However, my problem is that I have 4 hard disk drives.

So my question is, how do I find out which hard drive is doing the click of death?

Or is it that, if one hard drive is doing it then it spreads to all the other hard drives?

 

I'm not sure what other information I need to provide so feel free to ask the necessary questions and I'll do my best to provide a detailed answer. And hopefully I can get quick responses before my hard drive fails completely and I have no chance to back up my files :(


#2 dietrc70

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 01:19 PM

A mechanic's stethoscope can help to identify the source of the sound (you can get them at auto-parts stores).

 

If you really can't tell, back up everything.  I would get a big external drive immediately and back up everything on the clicking drive, or all the drives if you can't tell.

 

Personally, I would immediately buy an external drive if I didn't have one large enough and copy everything without delay.

 

Once the data is backed up, you can turn off the computer off and disconnect the drives one by one to find the source of the sound.

 

If the failing drive is still under warranty, you might want to take the opportunity to run a drive wipe program on it before RMA-ing it.

 

The click can't spread to other drives.


Edited by dietrc70, 13 October 2013 - 01:27 PM.

#3 clickofdeath4drives

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 01:37 PM

I've been thinking and I'm not sure if I explained myself properly or if I asked the right questions.

 

* To state it simply, I have 4 hard drives and I'm hearing the click of death. I want to back up my files on the working hard drives if the other hard drives have no problems. How do I find out which hard drive is creating the 'click of death' sound.

 

If i was a bit unclear or there are different ways to answer the problem, maybe my follow-up questions can better show what I am trying to say:

 

- Does the click of death only happen to the main hard drive with the operating system running on it? Or is it possibly that my main hard drive is healthy, and my other hard drives (which i just use for storing more files) is the one doing the click of death? If that's possible and it's not the main hard drive, would the symptoms be the same where the computer slows down and sometimes even crashes?

 

- Is it possible to have 2 or more hard drives doing the click of death? I've never heard multiple clicking sounds at the same time but maybe one drive is clicking for a few minutes and stops, and when there is the clicking sound again it is done by another drive? Is that possible?

 

- One of my 4 hard drives also has an operating system, if that matters. I'm using XP now and one of my other hard drives has windows Vista on it, but i've never used it ever since I took it from my brother 1 year ago so I'd have more space to store my files. I'm mentioning this in case anyone answers "the hard drive with the operating system on it is the only one possible of doing the click of death and slowing down the computer"

 

- Basically, is there a way to test which hard drive is doing the 'click of death' sound, something I can do myself? Or even if I take my computer to the store, I'm curious on how they can figure it out without ruining the other hard drives? I mean, the sound comes and goes inconsistenly. Is there a SAFE way to force the click of death sound so as to find out which hard disk is responsible?

 

 

I apologize if I am rambling or asking silly questions, but I really am in panic mode and time is of the essence. I'm just afraid my hard disk drive will fail anytime now and I'll lose some of my files permanently, so please be understanding.


#4 clickofdeath4drives

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 01:51 PM

A mechanic's stethoscope can help to identify the source of the sound (you can get them at auto-parts stores).

 

If you really can't tell, back up everything.  I would get a big external drive immediately and back up everything on the clicking drive, or all the drives if you can't tell.

 

Personally, I would immediately buy an external drive if I didn't have one large enough and copy everything without delay.

 

Once the data is backed up, you can turn off the computer off and disconnect the drives one by one to find the source of the sound.

 

If the failing drive is still under warranty, you might want to take the opportunity to run a drive wipe program on it before RMA-ing it.

 

The click can't spread to other drives.

 

Thanks for the quick reply.

 

I forgot to mention that the clicking sound is not consistent. For example, 5 days ago it was clicking everytime I turned on my computer and my computer wouldn't get passed the BIOS stage. Then after waiting for half an hour (not sure why, just hoping the problem goes away haha), I would be able to turn on the computer and the clicking would start an hour late. Sometimes it would click for a bit while my computer is starting up and then disappear. The longest period it has clicked is maybe around 5 mins, but that's only because after 5 minutes I panic and forcefully shot down the computer by holding the power button.

Basically what I'm trying to say is that the sound comes and goes. So if I was to try your method of using the mechanic's stethoscope, is there a way to SAFELY force the clicking sound? Or do I just turn my computer on wait for the clicking sound? The problem with waiting is that it could be minutes, or hours, possibly even more than a day before the sound appears. I'm not sure what triggers it.


#5 dietrc70

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 08:20 AM

Try using the hard drive manufacturer's diagnostics to check the drives' smart data.  You can get if from the respective mfg's websites.  That software will often pass failing drives, but it may identify the bad drive in this case.

 

In any event, be sure to back up everything; that should be done even if you didn't have a failing drive.

 

The issue is with the drive's controller and mechanics, so I don't know any way to provoke the behaviour, aside from accessing the drive.  Often failing drives will cause the Windows file explorer to hang or be slow when opening directories on the drive.  That could also give you clues.


#6 clickofdeath4drives

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 09:33 AM

Try using the hard drive manufacturer's diagnostics to check the drives' smart data.  You can get if from the respective mfg's websites.  That software will often pass failing drives, but it may identify the bad drive in this case.

 

In any event, be sure to back up everything; that should be done even if you didn't have a failing drive.

 

The issue is with the drive's controller and mechanics, so I don't know any way to provoke the behaviour, aside from accessing the drive.  Often failing drives will cause the Windows file explorer to hang or be slow when opening directories on the drive.  That could also give you clues.

 

Thanks again for the input.

 

Since you mentioned the windows file explorer possibly hanging or slowing down on a failing hard drive, could you be a bit more detailed?

Do you know what symptoms a hard drive may have if that hard drive is doing the "click of death".

This may be a way to figure out which hard drive is going bad.

As you mentioned, the windows file explorer may hang or be slow when opening directories on that drive. Anything else? Maybe copying files into that drive will take longer than copying files into other healthy drives? Or copying files FROM that drive? Or any ideas on other clear-cut signs which shows that particular drive as the failing har drive?


#7 clickofdeath4drives

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 01:43 PM

So here's the upadate.

I downloaded SeaTools for Windows.
Before running the tests, I closed all aplications, as suggested.
I ran the S.M.A.R.T check on all 4 drives; all 4 passed.
I ran the "short drive self test"; all except for the Maxtor drive passed.
I then ran the "Short Generic" test at the same time; all 4 passed but the Maxtor drive took the longest (over a minute more than the others) even though it was first in queue.

I also checked the drive information on each one of the drives. Maxtor had the longest "Power-on Hours" with 47369 hours. The others had 16009, 15921, and 28381.

Is it safe to assume that the Maxtor drive is the drive doing the clicking? Being that the maxtor hard drive is the only one not to pass the short drive self test, and its power-on hours are more than double the others apart from 1 drive (but still nearly 20000 hours differnce on that drive), is it then safe to assume that the Maxtor hard drive is the one doing the clicking sounds?

On a side note, I remember asking a question in my previous posts but it's yet to be answered, so I'll bring it up again in case it may be relevant. If a hard drive OTHER THAN the main drive (with the OS) does the clicking, are the symptoms exactly the same as if it was the main drive doing the clicking? Symptoms like the computer taking triple the amount of time to get to the startup screen as it usually does, or opening programs such as firefox is twice longer, etc.
I mean in hindsight, if the symptoms are not similar then it's possible to assume that my main hard drive is definitely the one doing the clicking?


#8 continuum

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 06:18 PM

Is it safe to assume that the Maxtor drive is the drive doing the clicking? Being that the maxtor hard drive is the only one not to pass the short drive self test,
Not quite-- the failing the short drive self test is a HUGE warning, but if you want to be sure, power down your system and unplug the Maxtor.

 

if you avoid any more of the noises you are hearing and the periodic system hangs you say you are getting then yes, you canbe sure it's the Maxtor.

 

47,000 power on hours (POH) is almost 2,000 days... that's well within the lifetime of a drive, but as that means the drive is also more than 5 years old, you can at least sayit's getting pretty damned old...


#9 dietrc70

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 04:56 AM

On a side note, I remember asking a question in my previous posts but it's yet to be answered, so I'll bring it up again in case it may be relevant. If a hard drive OTHER THAN the main drive (with the OS) does the clicking, are the symptoms exactly the same as if it was the main drive doing the clicking? Symptoms like the computer taking triple the amount of time to get to the startup screen as it usually does, or opening programs such as firefox is twice longer, etc.
I mean in hindsight, if the symptoms are not similar then it's possible to assume that my main hard drive is definitely the one doing the clicking?

 

 

A bad SATA drive anywhere can cause Windows to be slow or hang.  You may have experienced a bad DVD-R causing Windows file explorer to hang until you ejected the disk.

 

Any time software tries to access the bad drive (which may happen in the background at any time), Windows will hang up the system while waiting for a response.






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