Technology Musings

February 09, 2011

General / Fixing Clicking Hard Drives

An Old School Approach

All right - my wife's computer died today.  It gave the Apple folder-with-a-question-mark sign which says it can't find the system software.  Booting from the install disk - I found out that it couldn't even find the drive.

In addition to that, the hard drive was making clicking sounds when the computer first turned on.

I was certain that the computer was fried.

However, I dug through a bunch of forums.  Most of them agreed - if your hard drive makes a clicking noises, then it is probably dead.  I ran through all of Apple's troubleshooting steps - nothing.  It seemed that it was truly dead.

Then, at the bottom of a forum post, a poster named "deepika" gave an amazing piece of advice.  I thought it was a joke when I first read it.  But, since the hard drive was probably dead anyway, I felt it couldn't hurt.  The advice?  It seems that the drive is having trouble spinning up.  Therefore, you have to "convince" it to spin up.  How?

  1. Turn off the computer
  2. Put the computer on a flat surface
  3. Close the computer (it's a laptop)
  4. Bang on it a few times


And guess what?  When I turned on my wife's computer again - it worked!