The hard disk drive (also known as HDD) of your computer is a device within your computer that stores data that has been created on your system. As you use your computer, data is stored and retrieved from the hard drive making the drive crucial to the function of your computer. Most simply explained, the hard drive functions physically almost like a record player where an arm pivots on an actuator axis and lowers onto an incredibly sensitive disk. The head of the actuator arm reads the information contained on the disk and also writes information as it is created by your computer. This disk is known as a platter and for the hard drive to function properly the read/write head on the end of the arm must be able to read the platter, or System Area. When the head is unable to read the SA the arm begins to move back and forth above the platter and strikes the interior of the hard drive, emitting a clicking or ticking noise. This noise signals that the hard drive is damaged in some way, is dead or is dying and there is limited time to access any important data contained on the hard drive.
In many cases, people who hear this clicking noise attempt to open their hard drive and repair the issue themselves by replacing parts. By repairing the hard drive in this way, there is a chance that it could function for long enough to access data stored on the drive, however this is risky and advised against by computer engineers. The goal of accessing the damaged hard drive is simply to gain enough time to transfer data from the hard drive to an alternate storage system. The data can be transferred to another hard drive or any external hard drive or USB device but the original hard drive will no longer be functional. This is highly discouraged by computer technicians as exposing the hard drive to any urban environment can cause irreparable damage to the sensitive platter. Repairs must be conducted in a cleanroom where the air contains far fewer particles than a normal room to ensure no further damage is caused to the hard drive.
The best and safest option is to simply turn off your hard drive immediately after hearing any clicking, ticking or buzzing noises. The hard drive is no longer functional and repeated use of the damaged hard drive can cause damage to any data contained on the drive. There are several options for data recovery companies that offer various services to retrieve your data from the malfunctioning hard drive. Be sure to choose a company that provides credentials or certifications as well as customer reviews. Most data recovery companies who provide data services will guarantee that if they are unable to retrieve your data, no fee will be charged.
Hard Disk Recovery Services and Secure Data Recovery are two online based companies that are highly reviewed and guarantee a “no data, no fee” policy. Like all online companies that provide data recovery, the hard drive must be mailed or dropped off at a company location. Both companies provide a diagnostic of your hard drive malfunction within 8 hours and a detailed description of the repairs necessary to recover the data. The data is generally retrieved within 1 to 2 days and is then shipped back to you along with a synopsis of your hard drive failure. Although these services will cost hundreds of dollars they are a necessary option for large businesses as well as personal computer-users like students or independent business owners.