How To Fix Hard Drive Stiction

A hard drive contains a few mechanical parts inside the case that can cause it to beep under the wrong conditions.

Depending on the storage capacity of the drive, it will include one or more platters coated in a magnetized substance which is used to store the data.

These platters rotate, and there are small sliders where the read/write heads are, on a mechanical arm (actuator arm), that hover above the platters to read the data.

What is stiction of a hard drive?

If the drive stops suddenly, or the motor that rotates the platters fails, then this could cause the heads to slam down on the platter, or stiction.

Usually a hard drive will “park” the heads in a safe place designated for them to rest when the drive is not in operation.

If your hard drive keeps beeping, stuck heads are a serious problem that can cause damage to both the heads and the platter.

Sometimes this is catastrophic damage, meaning the data won’t be recoverable.

If you have a drive with stiction, and the data is important to you, you will want to contact a professional experienced with this type of repair.

The good news is that repair is possible.

Taking the right steps with a professional will usually get back your data.

How can you tell if your drive is stuck?

A stuck hard drive is usually easy to diagnose because the drive will simply not spin up, and you will hear a distinct beeping noise.

If you hear a grinding or screeching noise, this means that the drive is not stuck, but that the heads have most likely collided with the platter.

Turn the computer off and do not attempt to use that drive again. Send it to a professional for data recovery.

How to deal with stiction and a stuck hard drive

If your drive fails to spin and is making the beeping noise:

  1. Make a note of the symptoms and how it came about.
  2. Record any noises you hear without turning it back on.
  3. Make sure to keep it powered off.
  4. Do not try to use data recovery software on a hard drive that is making strange noises.
  5. If you see an error code on the screen, write it down.

Contact a professional data recovery company. They will tell you whether they think they can get the data back and how much it will cost.

How to avoid hard drive stiction

Most modern hard drives have safeguards in place to stop damage as a result of movement, small impacts, or power loss.

Even so, failures do sometimes happen.

To minimize the risk:

  • Make sure that the drives are secure in the case
  • There is enough space for ventilation
  • You always shut the computer down properly instead of hitting the power or reset button while it is in use.

Seagate, Maxtor, Hitachi and Western Digital all have different policies when it comes to the lifespan and warranty associated with their drives.

Be sure to read the warranty before buying, especially if the drive is going to store very valuable information.