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Case Study: Western Digital Blue WD3200AAKS-00L9A0 making a clicking noise

Western Digital Blue HDDRecovery Type: Desktop
Drive Capacity: 320GB
Manufacturer: Western Digital
Model Name: Blue
Model Number: WD3200AAKS-00L9A0
Manufacture Date: 04 Feb 2010
Main Symptom: Clicking
Type of Data: Business Documents, Images, Videos
Data Recovery Grade: 10
Binary Read: 99.99%


When the power goes out, there are a lot of questions that come to mind. What happened to cause the outage? When will the power come back on? Lower on the list of concerns may be whether or not your computer shut down properly when it lost power.

In this case, the user’s desktop computer did not shut down properly. Oftentimes, this does not create problems for the computer’s equipment, but in this case it caused the hard drive to fail. When the computer was turned back on, the drive began to make a clicking noise and platters were not spinning.


When a hard drive runs normally, the spinning platters generate enough “wind” to keep the read/write heads floating above their surface. During a normal shutdown, the platters spin to a stop slowly, and the heads repark to their original position without touching the surface of the platters.

However, in this case, the power outage caused an improper shutdown, and the read/write heads did not repark correctly. Instead of floating over the surface of the platters, they dragged across them, resulting in damage to the heads. Engineers determined they would need to be replaced in order to recover the data.


Since the read/write heads needed replacing, the drive would need to be brought into our cleanroom and opened for repair. Engineers replaced the broken heads with working ones and recalibrated the drive to dial it in and get the new heads working well enough to extract the  lost data.


After replacing the read/write heads, engineers were able to get back 99.99% of the data from the drive. Failures due to power outages are common, especially in summer during thunderstorms. However, they are also easily preventable. By properly powering down and unplugging computers during severe weather, users can avoid electrical damage to their hard drives.

When hard drives fail, users more often than not lose their files and do not have them in another location. For this reason, the best way to keep files safe from data loss is using an online backup solution. By using a secure, cloud-based online backup service, users can be sure their files are protected from data loss threats such as viruses fires, or failed hard drives.