PS4 Hard Drive Clicking | Fixed by Experts
You’re in the middle of an enthusiastic game, totally focusing to avoid mistakes and defeat, then suddenly you hear a “click, click, click” coming from your PS4 hard drive. Also known as the “click of death”. Hearing strange sounds coming from your PS4 console is never a fun experience.
From what you’ve heard or researched online, you think your data stored locally on the PS4 internal HDD is gone forever, or that the PS4 hard drive is hopeless and can’t be fixed, but that it’s not always true.
Sometimes it’s easy to fix the clicking PS4 hard drive in a matter of minutes, but there are situations when this PS4 hard drive clicking sound can be very serious. Waiting too long to diagnose and fix the issue can lead to a PS4 crash and even complete data loss.
If you’ve been hearing this sound from your hard drive, then you’ll want to know what’s causing the issue and if it’s fixable. Is it something you can safely ignore or fix yourself? Or, do you need the help of an experienced professional?
Here are the most common causes of PS4 hard drive clicking (not beeping) and what you can do to fix the problem the right way.
What Causes the PS4 Hard Drive Clicking Sound
There are a handful of reasons you’re hearing this sound coming from your PS4 hard drive.
If you’re still using the PS4 stock hard drive, then it’s most likely a hardware issue. Do you know that the PS4 stock hard drive is the worst part in the whole PS4 system, and it’s very likely to fail much faster than any other hardware component. You can check the PS4 HDD specs for more details. For that reason we always recommend our readers to upgrade the internal HDD of PS4 to either an SSD (preferable) or a newer and more powerful mechanical hard drive.
On the other hand, if you already have replaced the PS4 hard drive with a newer drive, yet you start to hear clicking sound, the issue could be either hardware or software.
Regardless, you’ll want to determine the root cause of the issue before it leads to data loss.
Most often, the PS4 HDD clicking sound comes from an actuator arm that’s not functioning properly.
These are the major causes of a clicking drive:
This is one of the most common culprits. Have you recently dropped your PS4 console? Or has it been exposed to extreme heat or cold in any way?
If your PS4 console has been dropped, exposed to fire, or had water spilled on it, this can cause the clicking to occur.
Wear and Tear
Hard drives don’t last forever. If you’ve had the PS4 hard drive for years and it recently started clicking, then it could just be failing. Just like a car engine that finally gives out, so can a hard drive.
Here where solid-state drives (SSD) shine. They last much longer than regular hard drives and are more reliable with minimum rate of failure. You can optionally upgrade the PS4 hard drive to an SSD, but if you have a PS4 Pro, it is almost mandatory to have a PS4 Pro SSD.
Usually, this happens when the PS4 HDD actuator arm wears out and malfunctions.
Sometimes your PS4 hard drive won’t be receiving enough power due to a defective power supply unit (read more on a defective PS4 power supply). If you have an alternative PS4 power supply source, then you can test this to see if it’s causing the clicking. These issues can also be caused by power surges and electrical storms. Your PS4 hard drive circuit board could also be a related issue.
Read/Write Head Misalignment
If the read/write heads are out of alignment, due to dropping, or not carefully handling your PS4 hard drive, then you’ll hear the clicking PS4 hard drive noise to occur.
Service Area Issue
There is a portion of your PS4 hard drive where manufacturer data is stored, this is known as the service area. If this becomes damaged, your PS4 hard drive won’t operate correctly. The actuator arm will swing back and forth, trying to find the information, leading to the clicking sound you’re hearing.
Damaged Disc Platter
If the disc platter has sustained damage, then the actuator arm won’t work properly. It’ll attempt to locate the platter and swing back and forth, resulting in a clicking sound.
A lot of hard drives will fail due to manufacturing errors, faulty parts, or issues with the firmware. If you have a relatively new hard-drive inside your PS4 that hasn’t sustained any damage, then this could be the problem. Usually, this will be covered under the manufacturer’s warranty, however, they only cover the drive, not the data that’s on it.
Signs of PS4 Hard Drive Failure
There are a few ways to tell if your PS4 hard drive isn’t functioning properly. The most obvious is the clicking sound emanating from the Ps4 internal hard drive.
However, there are other signs you’ll want to be aware of as well:
- Repetitive clicking noises coming from your PS4 hard drive (this suggests mechanical damage)
- A message that states “Cannot access system storage”
- A message that states: “Cannot start the PS4“.
- The PS4 keeps freezing or is very slow, the PS4 database is corrupted or the PS4 system files get corrupted.
- Your PS4 hard drive is silent making no noise whatsoever
- Accessing your files takes a very long time (this suggests data corruption)
- The PS4 system endlessly reboots, or you’re greeted with the “Blue Screen of Death”
- If it’s an external hard drive, when you connect the drive to the PS4, the PS4 system asks to format the drive or it says the PS4 can’t recognize it.
If you’re experiencing any of the above signs of failure, you should stop using your PS4 or the external hard drive that has that issue, and consult a hard drive repair professional as soon as possible.
How to Fix clicking PS4 HDD
Unless you’re an experienced technician with the proper know-how it’s not recommended to try and fix your PS4 hard drive yourself. This usually leads to further damage and even permanent data loss.
That being said, it might be a minor issue and the problem can be solved with a few quick fixes.
One thing that you can check is the power source. You may have a power socket that’s overwhelmed and unable to deliver enough power. You can also try replacing the PS4 power cable, as it could be malfunctioning and in need of replacement.
Outside of these simple power fixes, if you have precious/valuable data stored on the PS4 HDD and you don’t want to lose, your PS4 hard drive should be in the hands of a hard drive recovery professional.
Otherwise, if it’s ok to sacrifice your data, the first step you can do is to full-format the PS4 hard drive.
You need to note that a hard disk has very sensitive internal components and can be easily damaged by using improper tools or an unclean environment. Your data is at risk the moment the internal platter or disk head is exposed to dust and debris.
What Not to Do
It can be tempting to try to diagnose and fix your PS4 hard drive issue yourself. Although Google is great for a lot of things, it’s not the best for fixing complex hardware issues.
Here are some common hard drive fixing myths that won’t do you any good.
- Cool Down Your PS4 Hard Drive in the Freezer
Putting your PS4 hard drive in the freezer can help to constrict the mechanics. But, this is a very outdated technique. Once it thaws and warms up, it’ll lead to corrosion of the drive and electrical components.
- Ignoring the Issue and Keeping Using the PS4 HDD
Often, the clicking sound from inside your PS4 hard drive indicates a mechanical or physical issue, so keeping using it won’t fix the problem. Continued operation of the drive will only cause further issues.
- Open the PS4 Hard Drive Yourself
Unless you’re a savvy or a tech literate, attempting to open the PS4 hard drive and fix the clicking yourself can completely damage the drive. Repairing the read/write heads requires a cleanroom facility, without this you run the risk of dust and other debris corrupting your existing data.
How to Recover PS4 HDD Data
If you can hear your PS4 hard drive clicking or making any other kind of sound, then you’ll want to consult with a professional right away.
This isn’t the kind of issue that will get better on its own. Beyond a faulty power connection, nearly every other issue relates to the inner workings of your PS4 hard drive. As said earlier, attempting to open up your PS4 hard drive yourself can lead to complete hard drive failure if you’re not a savvy.
When your PS4 hard drive is clicking, the physical damage has already been done. This most likely can’t be replaced.
But, you can still get your data back. You have to connect the PS4 hard drive to a PC and run a professional hard drive data recovery software.
Although it can be tempting to run your own backup or recovery programs this can put your PS4 hard drive at further risk. Just pick the data recovery software that experts recommend.
After all, it’s always wise to have a spare copy of your data on an external hard drive. But if you haven’t backed up your data yet and you start hearing clicking sound from the PS4 HDD, you must immediately try to back up your data before making any further step.