If possible take the hard drive and stick it in another computer as the secondary drive. It is possible the motherboard ide controller has died or the power supply is not working properly. You will know in a few seconds if it works or the drive is actually dead. Feel the drive and make sure the platters are spinning. If they aren't spinning laying it flat on a table then spin the entire drive as hard as you can then stop it spinning instantly to help break the platters free. Usually clicking means the only way to get the data off is to find an identical drive and swap the platters out when it dies like that. Swapping platters and having it work is pretty hard to actually do though but if the data is worth that much then that or sending it to a data recovery place for $$$$$ are really your only options.
....Has anyone here ever used a data recovery service? My hard drive is dead, but I've got like 40GB of stuff I would really like to get off of it. Wondered if anyone had any experience like this.
I know that OnTrack does stuff like this. Weve used them but at a cost of about $2300 for a typical laptop hard drive. I dont know if a desktop drive (which Im assuming is easier to work with) is any cheaper.
The suggestion to SLAVE the drive using another PC is a good suggestion. Actually, since you need another drive anyway, reinstall Windows with another hard drive and when you get it up and running, slave the old drive and see what happens. You MIGHT temporarily be able to access the drive but it sounds real iffy right now. Another option is to hook the old drive to another machine using an external enclosure. I have been able to recover data off drives but usually when that clicking sound is present you are dead out of the water. MAYBE (BIG maybe, you will be able to access for a shirt time). Good luck
Conclusion: Setup PC with new hard drive and either slave old drive with IDE or external enclosure. If you data is software GOLD, then recover data for 2 grand plus.
What are the warning signs of impending hard drive failure? Knowing this may help a lot of folks avoid what Odie is experiencing. Thanks.
If your hard drive is making a lot of noise when you boot it up (actually it will make noise when you are using it as well) then it will probably die soon. Given the relatively small cost of new drives, then you should DEFINITELY backup and replace drive asap. BTW, dont confuse hard drive noise with fan noise coming from case fans or power supply fans. Hard drive fans typically are a little more high pitched than other fan noises which are sometimes making noise because the blade is rubbing against something.
Replacing your drive will mean reinstalling your OS (XP/Vista or 2000) which will take about two hours plus the time to reinstall your personal software and programs, but is a small price to pay in comparison to the headache of replcing AFTER a hard drive failure occurs. The best options besides backing up are using RAID or 'ghosting' your machine which will get your PC back to its last saved state in under half an hour. This can be done using Norton Ghost.