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Seagate hard disks suffer from "click of death"

Seagate Expansions External hard disk

By Barry Collins

Posted on 27 Oct 2009 at 11:22

Selected models of Seagate’s Expansion external hard disks are suffering from the dreaded “click of death”, according to disgruntled customers on the company's forums.

The issue appears to be affecting the 1TB and 1.5TB models of the Seagate Expansion External Desktop USB 2.0 Hard Drive. Numerous customers are reporting the drives make a loud clicking noise before failing.

"I put some films on it to watch via the USB [port] on my TV and after 1hr 20mins it started to make a loud clicking sound and the film would freeze," reports one customer on the Seagate forums.

The clicking is so loud, it can even rouse the sleeping. "It's 2.33AM and I just woke up due to this clicking sound," reports another. "I bought the drive yesterday, and figured I would transfer my data before I go to bed. Well the clicking was bad enough that it woke me up."

Amazon’s customer reviews also contain several instances of people complaining about loud clicking noises on their Expansion drives.

Seagate declined to comment on the cause or scale of the problem at the time of publication, but reports on the forums suggest the company is replacing customers’ faulty drives.

The so-called “click of death” became synonymous with the Iomega Zip drive in the late 1990s, which famously made a distinct clicking noise before failing catastrophically.

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User comments

Same with FreeAgent

I bought 3 1.5Tb FreeAgent drives earlier in the year. All 3 clicked themselves to death in about a week.

Seagate replaced them and they have been fine since.

They clearly have QA issues.

By iwilson on 27 Oct 2009

"reports on the forums suggest the company is replacing customers’ faulty drives".

I would hope there is no other option. If a drive fails in such a short space of time there should be no question of it being replaced?

By halsteadk on 27 Oct 2009

Maxtor were terrible

Maxtor discs were really terrible with a failure rate of 5 out of 8 discs over two years at our office.
As soon as I heard that Seagate had bought out Maxtor, we stopped buying Seagate discs as well, because you have to assume they are using the maxtror factories to make Seagate branded discs.
Looks like I predicted correctly. Labelled "Seagate" but clicks and dies like a Maxtor...

By cheysuli on 27 Oct 2009

A pedant strikes...

"I would hope there is no other option. If a drive fails in such a short space of time there should be no question of it being replaced?"

Surely "there should be no question of it NOT being replaced"?

Or, even better, "it should be replaced without question, immediately."

By JohnGray7581 on 27 Oct 2009

Just Great!!!

Sitting listening to a replacement clicking right now, think I'll take it back to exchange for a different make as I bought this for backup, not much good for that if it's going to die

By mauriceheath on 27 Oct 2009

Love the "click of death". Sounds like something out of a Stanley Kubrick movie. Will stick to Western Digital myself. Love their Green Power disks.

By c6ten on 27 Oct 2009


My Samsung Spinpoints (250GB) click rather alarmingly every now and then. They whirr loudly, go silent for a second, then click, and then continue as usual. If media is being played from the disk, the music stops at the end of the whirr and continues after the click.

So far, they haven't failed, but I'm somewhat worried after hearing this. Should I be?

By dangermouse425 on 29 Oct 2009

Click of Death

Wonder if it is a heat problem. I brought some external esata caddies to bit and internal drive in to make my own external drive. Though the cases were metal, the drives were mounted in a plastic tray, which of course means that the drive can only lose heat through the air inside the caddy. I haven't as yet had any drive failures but I usually only have them on for a short time.

By birdmaniw on 29 Oct 2009

It's a worry but read the seagate forums for advice

I'm not going to justify the lack of response from Seagate or the possibly cynical retailers who have discounted these drives to very tempting levels BUT the drives may not be at fault as some people in the forums mentioned have found that the problem was the usb cable supplied with the drive - try swappping it for a better(choked) or even just a shorter cable and the clicking goes away

By Rahere on 1 Jan 2010

Same as Rahere above!

Same as above from Rahere (thx)- I swapped out the USB cable and it now works fine. But I think now is the time to take a 'reminder' and back it up like all storage should.

By ted_mac on 31 Oct 2010

Whoo-hoo! fixed it!!!

I've had the Click of Death for several weeks on my 1TB External Seagate drive. Unfortunately I bought it for cash and didn't save the receipt more than a couple of months expecting it to be as "bullet-proof" as my previous Seagate purchases.

Anyway I tried different USB ports, replacing the cable etc. Nothing worked.

Then I downloaded and ran libusb-win32 from Sourceforge and it seems to have fixed the problem.

By Flubber on 12 Feb 2011

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