Hard drive pauses then clicks, weird coincidences, could use a hand

Got the computer at the beginning of april, installed my own harddrive, a 120 gig I’d had for a year or two, alongside the 200 gigabyte that came with it.

Few weeks later, I get this issue: The computer will lock up abruptly, and I usually have music playing so it’s very obvious as the music stops, but it also happens to any programs I use. The hiccup lasts for maybe 5 seconds, and then I hear a click coming from the harddrive bay, and it goes back to normal. So far, no data corruption has happened but I have had programs crash just once.

I do a chkdsk, nothing serious, but I assume it to be the harddrive I installed myself. Two or so weeks pass with these burps, and slowly they become more frequent and for longer periods, at its peak it was about once an hour for 7-8 seconds, and then the loud click (only one, not multiple clicks) So, I remove the drive I put in, and let the computer run for a day without it in.

No problems. With this I was sure it was the drive I put in, and went and got a 300 gigabyte replacement. (the 200 gig that came with the computer has the OS, if that helps) I’ve been running with the new drive installed for about 4 days now, and just yesterday did the computer start doing the hiccups again. It happens maybe 4 times a day, for 3-4 seconds, and not nearly as loud as it used to be, but I’m still really worried.

My limited research tells me: this could be heat related, even though I get average internal heat tests and no physical abnormality by touch, and that hard drive clicking is a sign of a failing drive… but odd things going on.

Just a wild, uneducated guess, but could it have something to do with my system rejecting two hard drives? I had two in at the same time for, what, a month? with no problems. I just don’t even know what foot to put forward first.

I jumped into the tech support chat for my system as I didn’t put it together myself, and after an hour of going over the absolute basics, she told me I’d get “email updates at some point in the coming days” and we parted with that. It has been two days, and I’m not really liking the situation.

System is athlon 2.4Ghz, 1 gig ram, onboard ATI express 200 card (waiting on my 6800 to be delivered, heh).

It’s just so weird. Anyway, if this doesn’t belong here, I apologize, I’m sort of running out of options. If you know of anywhere else you can think of for me to bring up this issue, please suggest it, as I’ve run out of static media to research this problem and forums seem to be my last resort.

Thanks for anything you can contribute.

This is the “click of death”. Hard drive is failing. Sounds like maybe it’s your old drive. It could be the fact that you have a second frove on the cable that sets it off, so try running with just the one drive. Also, run diagnostics on the old drive with the second drive also connected. Get the diagnostic program from the drive’s maker. Checkdisk tells you nothing about the drive itself.

Well, maybe you misread something, by old drive do you mean the 200? as that is less than two months old, and came with the computer.

If you mean old drive as in the 120 gig, I got rid of it, problem went away, I installed a new 300 alongside the 200 that came with the system (the old drive, the 120, not being installed!) and had no problems for two days, and then problems come back.

Just to clarify.

Yeah, normally I’d say the drive is dying, but having the same problem with two drives, including a new one, it’s something else. Bad Cable? Bad PSU? Driver issue? Heat related (I would think that would be a likely problem, but it sounds like it’s not)?

Edit: I may have misunderstood, it sounds like the 200GB drive is the same drive causing problems in each case. It probably is a defective drive, it could go at any time so back up any important data and make a warranty claim. BTW, what’s the brand? I’m guessing Maxtor (maybe Western Digital, although mine have been ok).

Looks like a bad PSU that doesn’t give the sufficient tension

Seagate ST3200021A 38 °C (100 °F)
WDC WD3000JB-00KFA0 26 °C (79 °F)

The seagate is the 200 (that came with the system), the western digital is the 300 I installed a few days ago.

I think you have a PSU problem, i dont think your PSU is up to the job of running the 2 hard drives, just my 2 pence worth :sad:

This is exactly what I saw when I had a bad Molex power connection. Your problem could be power related.

From my experience, when a hard drive gets stuck trying to read something with clicking sound coming from the hard drive, this usually indicates a sign of failure. Most hard drives reallocate weak sectors, so there is a chance that a chkdsk will not report any issue, even if the hard drive has week sectors, so long as it can still read them.

I would recommend getting a report on its SMART information. Note that a PC SMART report of ‘OK’ or ‘Pass’ does not always mean that the hard drive is fine either, since I have seen many cases where a hard drive fails to read data, but the threshold of read errors has not been reached. I usually use the freeware tool HDTune to display the SMART information.

In the reported SMART info, have a look for the reallocated sector count and seek error rate as circled in the screenshot below. The reallocated sector count should be zero and the seek error rate should be the same or a very low value. In every case I came across where the hard drive had a reallocated sector count of 5 or higher, the hard drive had failed anywhere between a few days and few months after the check (from my experience as an IT technician). If both values are zero, then the issue is likely something else, such as a power supply/connector problem as chas0039 and blueboy7 above mentioned.

I’ve had a bad molex connector do similar things too.

ZeroTheLegend: Your temps look fine. Is there just one loud click or many?
If just one:
It may be that the hard drive is dying, but to me it sound like it is switching back on after it hasn’t been used for a while. When I had my hard disks switching off after 10 minutes without use, this would happen to me all the time. I simply set the hard drives to switch off after 30 mins.
ZeroTheLegend: What is your setting under control panel>display>screen saver>power>turn off hard disks after ____ mins

adict2jane: 15 minutes. This “problem” usually (usually, this isn’t the exclusive condition!) happens when I’m playing a pretty memory intensive game, like, say World of Warcraft, so take note of that if it helps. Also, it is one (1) click after a pause of X seconds.

Seán: I ran the test, if you’d like screenshots that can be done, but the summery is, the 300gig WD had 0/0, the 200gig seagate that came with the system had 0 reallocated sector count and 52 million error rate.

Thank you for your continued support, everyone, I greatly appreciate it.

3rd poster to have seen this with a dodgy molex connector

SOMETIMES is a hard drive failiure BUT NOT ALWAYS. Solution 1 (if the drive isnt on its way out will usually remedy the problem)

  1. Isolate the harddrive by disconnecting all other devices, even system fans you can do without. Change power connectors on the hard drive, make sure that the same “daisy chain” of molex connectors arnt feeding your hardrive and graphics card - this can cause a short or drain on some combinations of board/graphics card.

Check your Molex connectors for bad connection etc, make sure everything is a snug TIGHT fit. If this does not fix the problem proceed to next step:

  1. Check for Viruses/Malware and Spyware. Scan and defrag your drive (defrag in safe mode). Remove anything in startup you dont need. If you have recently installed xp it COULD be a driver fault, use drivergenius or similar tool to report what drivers are bad or out of date. You can also try deleting your IDE devices from control panel, and rebooting - xp will reinstall devices automatically on reboot. Switch off system restore, make sure that xp is managing your pagefile or that it is set correctly.

Some nvidia drivers also can also cause such a problem, consider rolling back to an earlier release or upgrade to a later release. Dont forget to delete the existing driver completely (safe mode with something like drivercleaner). When installing replacment driver, dont forget to disable active antivirus scanning temporarily untill new driver is in. Follow up with Direct X install.

Failing the above solutions you can always reinstall the game, if you do try this remeber to reboot after uninstall and run something like registry mechanic or ccleaner to erase all previous folders and reg entries before hard reboot and reinstall of game.


I have had this problem for some time, and at first I suspected it to be my Seagate, so I got it replaced with a different one, same model. But the same problem arose, and I got that one replaced with a different Seagate model… Same problem… and now it also started with a Samsung and previously I have had it on and off with different drives.

So I’ve many times blamed the PSU and checked its power and connections but never found anything conclusive. Anyway today I wanted to investigate it thoroughly and it seems that when I had my DVD/RW hooked in the same line of connectors as my drives, they “rebooted” ie. did a spindown/spinup.

Also I noticed that one of my molex connectors, while hooked in and fiddled with by pulling lightly or just moving it around a bit, my disk rebooted. So I messed a little bit with the connector and made the connection tighter by simply reshaping the metal a little bit… hard to explain exactly what I did. Anyway, this secured this connector from “fiddle-reboots”.

So it seems my problem was two-fold, bad molex-connection and also something strange with the DVD-RW, not quite sure what though…

It’s really a hard time to track down the specific causes of these things, especially when they are as random as my problem was, sometimes fine for months, and now recently the spindowns very becoming very much too frequent and one drive is even reported to have a bad S.M.A.R.T but I am expecting a low-level format to get all those bad sectors back into possession, since they were most probably caused by the frequent poweroffs.

And after blaiming seagate for a lot of the troubles I think I actually have to praise Seagate for actually having a better warning system than the Samsung, the Samsung only “alerted” me after the SMART value for “bad sector count” went too low, while my Seagate has alerted me for every little reboot :slight_smile: Not sure why it has been this way but for my Seagate I have got plenty of Windows Event ID 9,11, 51 and perhaps some others. But ofcourse keeping an eye on the Samsung SMART-values would also give you a good picture of where the drive is heading.

Hope this helps someone!

I think that SMART is kinda useless.

Apart from that, clicking is really the click of death and mostly due to overheating…

I recently had a problem with a computer I put down to a corrupt OS. Needless to say eventually found that the ide cable had somehow become faulty, a replacement cable curred all the problems previously encountered.
The computer had been working fine for the last 5 years and apart from some preventative maintenance, dust removal etc, was untouched.
Examining the lead showed no problems but when put back the old faults returned.