Beeping Hard Drive Guide

Does your drive not show up on your computer when it is plugged in, but you can hear a beeping noise coming from it? Here we will discuss the main causes of a beeping hard drive, the ways to recover the data on these drives, and tips for recovering the data safely.

What causes a beeping hard drive

When I heard a beeping hard drive beep for the first time, I thought it was some sort of error warning. It literally sounded like a speaker making an audible tone. But hard drives don’t have speakers, so if your drive is beeping it is usually due to the motor not being able to spin the platters. It makes a noise as it tries to spin and fails.

Stuck Heads

The most common issue that causes the motor to not be able to spin is stuck heads. The heads on a drive are like a needle on a record player, but in hard drives, they hover just above the platters as the platters spin and read or write data to the platters. The platters spin so fast that they create a buffer of air between the head and the surface of the platter. If the platter stops moving with the heads right above it, the heads can get stuck on the platter which will make it so the motor can not spin, causing the HDD beeping.

Motor Issue

Sometimes the spindle motor itself will seize or have some other issue that causes it to not work properly. Because it is not spinning when it receives the power to do so, it will sometimes make a beeping or short Grr noise.

Bent Spindle

The spindle is the shaft of metal that the platters are connected to. It spins when the motor is turned on, just like the drive shaft of a car engine. If the spindle gets bent at all, it can cause the motor to not be able to spin.

Electrical Issues

Electrical issues are not nearly as common as the other issues listed in causing beeping, but sometimes the noise can be caused by an electrical issue with the drive. Electrical issues are almost always on the printed circuit board of the hard drive.

Recovering data from a beeping hard drive

If you need data off a beeping hard drive, it is important to consider how important the data is to you. If the data is replaceable and not important, trying to recover the data yourself could be a good option. But if the data is important or not replaceable, I highly recommend getting the drive to an expert that has the tools and experience necessary to provide a safe and successful data recovery.

Note that almost all beeping hard drives will need to be opened up in a cleanroom environment for recovery, and at the very least should be opened up for inspection. Data recovery software will almost certainly not get back your data, and could cause the drive to be more damaged with accessive read attempts. Opening a hard disk outside a cleanroom environment is not recommended unless you are okay with losing the data on the drive. I cover cleanrooms and things to think about on this cleanroom page.

Stuck Heads Recovery

It is very important to lift the heads off the platter before moving them back to their parking spot and spinning the drive up. Some drives have a parking spot at the inside of the platter right next to the spindle, while others have the parking spot be on the (aptly named) head parking ramp. There are special tools used for lifting the heads off the platter surface. These tools are used once the drive is opened up in a cleanroom environment.

It is also important to inspect the heads before testing them. Sometimes when the heads get stuck on the platter they can be damaged and will scratch the surface of the platter if they are used again.

Motor Issue Recovery

When the motor is the issue with a beeping hard drive, the usual method is to complete a platter swap. This means taking the platters out of the drive that has the motor issue and transferring them to a donor drive with a working motor. Be sure to inspect every part going into the donor machine for any damage. If you are going to use the original head stack, be sure to check it under a microscope for any head damage.

Bent Spindle Recovery

As with a motor issue, when you have a bent spindle on a beeping hard drive, you usually have to complete a platter swap. In these cases, I like to use a donor head stack as well as complete the platter swap just in case there is an issue with those parts being warped or bent from the same force that bent the spindle.

Electrical Issues Recovery

If your drive has a problem with the printed circuit board (PCB), the recovery is usually completed by replacing the PCB completely. It is important to move the ROM chip from the original PCB to the new PCB before attempting recovery on the drive. Be sure to practice your soldering skills before attempting this type of recovery.

How you can do it

Don’t attempt data recovery procedures yourself without the proper tools if the data is important. If the data is replaceable or not important, be sure to practice on a bad drive a few times so you increase your chances of success.

Some people recommend hitting the side of your drive while applying power to it to free the stuck heads so the platter can spin again… please don’t do this; it is a horrible method. The number of times this ends up scratching the platter surface or causing other issues is too high to ever use this method. It is better to open the drive outside a cleanroom than to use this method, and opening the drive outside a cleanroom is not a good idea.

If you are set on trying it yourself, know that a failed recovery attempt will likely make the data not recoverable by anyone. But the method you would want to try with stuck heads is to use a properly sized screwdriver (usually a T6) to spin the platter while moving the heads to the parking area. Then use compressed air to remove as much of the dust and debris as you can (noting to hold the can upright). Then reassemble the drive carefully before testing.

Let me help you recover your beeping hard drive

I have the experience and tools necessary to safely recover data from your beeping drive. The charge for a beeping drive is usually $399 but can be as high as $699 if internal parts require replacement. Just fill out my quote form for a more customized quote, or give me a call at (620) 615-6836 to discuss your project. I am happy to answer any questions you may have.

Affordable Data Recovery Pricing

We charge a flat rate fee based on what is wrong with your device. There are three main tiers for our data recovery service.



Bad Sectors

Partition Corruption

Standard Firmware Issues



Encrypted Drives


Larger Capacity Drives

Lab Recovery


Internal Parts Needed

Bad Read/Write Heads

Bad Preamp

Not sure what you need? We can provide you with a free quote. Just fill out our quick data recovery quote form and we will get back to you right away.

Latest beeping drive blog posts

  • Beeping Western Digital Easystore WD20SMZW Hard Drive Recovery

    I received a quote request from a client who had been into a local computer repair shop with a failed Western Digital EasyStore external hard drive. Inside the hard drive was a WD20SMZW 2.5″ 2TB hard drive. This particular model has a USB port built into the printed circuit board, instead of a standard SATA connector. The client told me they brought the drive into the repair shop because it stopped working suddenly. They said there was a sound like a beep coming from the drive, but that the computer would not recognize it at all. The shop they brought it to attempted to run software-based data recovery tools on the drive, but they couldn’t get it to scan the drive at all. The repair shop told them to try us, as we have been successful in recovering data from other drives they were not able to successfully recover in the past. We work with a lot of shops that offer our services to their clients. We have a few referral programs available, so if … Read more

  • Beeping Seagate ST3500418AS Data Recovery Steps

    As you can see reading through this blog, beeping Seagate hard drives are almost always drives with stuck heads. I have an entire page dedicated to beeping hard drives if you want to learn more about the issue. The beeping sound comes from the platters not being able to spin up, which can be caused by a couple of different things: Power supply issue. If the drive is not receiving enough power, it will not be able to spin up properly. This can cause beeping or buzzing sounds. Power cable issue. While this is usually not the issue, something as simple as a bad cable can cause the hard drive to beep. Bent spindle. If the drive was dropped, sometimes the spindle can become bent which causes the drive to not be able to spin up. Failed motor. This is unusual, but it does happen. If the motor fails to work properly it will not spin up the drive and you will get a buzzing or beeping sound. An issue with the PCB. The PCB … Read more

  • Why is my external hard drive beeping?

    Recovering hard drive that is making a beeping noise This beeping Samsung drive came in from a local computer repair shop. They had sent it to us for recovery as they were not able to get anything from it themselves. They reported that when plugged in the drive would make audible beeps, but would not show up on their computer at all. If you run a repair shop and need an affordable recovery lab to work with, please get in touch as we offer a few options! Why is my external hard drive beeping? Your external hard drive is beeping because the platters are not able to spin as they should. This is usually caused by the heads being stuck to the surface of the platter instead of being on the parking ramp where they should be. Beeping hard drives are usually drives with stuck heads. Many people will hear the beeping sound coming from their Samsung drive and think it is some sort of error noise. I have had a couple of clients mention … Read more

  • Beeping Seagate Rosewood Drive Recovery

    This 2TB ST2000LM007 Seagate Rosewood drive was reported as making a beeping sound when plugged in. The beeping Seagate came to us from a client in El Dorado, KS, who is a professional photographer. The most common requests for important data are photos and work documents. In this case, the professional photos on the drive checked off both the photo and business document boxes! As a small business owner, I understand how important it is to get your business data back safe and sound (and sometimes quickly). Beeping Seagate Recovery While El Dorado isn’t too far away from our Kansas based recovery lab, the client opted to mail in the drive for recovery rather than make the drive. The carrier made quick work of delivering the drive and I started by opening the drive up to check the heads in my cleanroom environment. We get drives from all over the country through our mail-in program, so if you are too far away to drop off, don’t worry! We can help. Heads stuck on platter As … Read more

  • Seagate External Hard Drive Beeping

    This beeping Seagate external hard drive came to us as a referral from a local computer shop here in Hutch. It was making a beeping or buzzing sound when power was applied and was not recognized at all by any computer they had tried it on. Beeping or Buzzing Drive Recovery Usually beeping or buzzing on a hard drive is caused by the motor not being able to spin the platters. I would say about 80% of the time this ends up being caused by the heads being stuck on the platter. The other 20% of the time it is a different issue like a bent spindle, failed PCB causing not enough power to reach the motor or other issues. Seagate External Hard Drive Beeping Diagnosis Opening the drive in my clean room environment revealed that the heads were indeed stuck on the platter and the drive motor was not able to spin. The next step was to “unstick” the heads from the platter and inspect for head stack assembly for damage. DYI Beeping Drive … Read more

  • Alarming Seagate Hard Drive Beeping

    This Seagate Rosewood drive came from an external USB drive that was dropped and immediately stopped working. With Seagate hard drive beeping, it is almost always an issue with heads being stuck on the platter. If you have a beeping drive that you need important data from, I offer affordable data recovery services. Recovering Data From Beeping Seagate Hard Drive The process for recovering a beeping hard drive with stuck heads is to open the drive in a clean room and use a specially made tool that separates the heads from the platter. Once those heads are no longer stuck they can be removed and examined under a microscope to check for damage. If any damage is present, swap the heads completely with a donor head set, and reassemble the drive. Carefully imaging the drive with the PC-3000 is recommended, or at the very least use an imager like the Deepspar Disk Imager. The risk when heads get stuck is that they can cause damage to the platter itself. Except for the parking area, the … Read more