What is the Click of Death?

The Click of Death, Click Death or COD is the first symptom of a failed hard drive. The term can be used to describe the noise made by a hard drive when the arm, head or actuator malfunctions. If you hear the Click of Death, you should backup all essential information as quickly as possible before the drive completely fails. If this isn’t done in time, all the information on the hard drive is potentially lost forever.

What causes the Click of Death?

A hard drive might suddenly succumb to the Click of Death or other failures for a number of reasons. The Click of Death may be caused by general wear and tear, overheating of the system or drive, or from the drive being subject to excessive vibrations. Stiction is caused when read/write heads stick to the platters and is a result of too much humidity and other liquids condensing on the interface. Read our post How to Reduce Hard Drive Downtime for more information about how you can prevent hard drive failure.

Can you fix the hard drive after the Click of Death?

Once the hard drive has suffered from the Click of Death, it is unlikely to be able to be fixed. If you have a backup, you shouldn’t need to fix the drive to recover data. If you don’t have a backup, you could consider sending your drive to a professional data recovery company to try to recover your data. However, this can be expensive and there is no guarantee they will even be able to recover any of the data. There is a homemade remedy that has been used since the early days of computing that can temporarily fix physical damage… The Freezer Trick.

The Freezer Trick

When stiction occurs, a possible method for temporarily fixing the drive is the Freezer Trick. It involves putting the drive in a waterproof plastic bag and then into a freezer. If you leave it in the freezer for a few hours, the cold would cool the metal down enough to constrict it and in some cases, would free up the disks to spin.

Before you try the Freezer Trick, make sure you’re ready to immediately recover your data. The Freezer Trick isn’t a method to fix the hard drive to put back into use, it’s your last chance to quickly copy any data onto another drive before another lockup occurs. However, the Freezer Trick only address physical problems with the drive, which is not always the cause of the problem.

How should I dispose of my hard drive after the Click of Death?

Don’t use it to play hockey with, don’t put it in the microwave, don’t burn it, hammer it or soak it in acid. The best way to destroy a broken hard drive is by sending it to a specialist company for professional data wiping. It’s the safest and most secure method for preventing anyone from stealing your data.


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