Why is my mac book clicking?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by megan.lori, Jul 4, 2009.

  1. megan.lori macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2009
    My Mac ibook has started clicking loudly when I start it up. My boyfriend says it's the hard drive, but I'm not sure. One thing that I think may have caused it is that we started importing music tracks from a digital 8-track recorder. I wanted to wait until we got a second computer, but my boyfriend started using it and he disconnected the USB cable before ejecting the program that pops up when it connects to the 8-track. We got a message that said the program wasn't properly ejected before disconnecting, and that data may have been lost.
    Does anyone know if this caused the loud clicking? How do I get it to stop?
    Thank you!!!
  2. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    My old G4 iBook started to make those sounds too, and it was the HDD's failing clicking sound.
    It still works today, but when the iBooks runs continuously for longer than usual (>1d), the clicking appears again.

    You can use Smart Reporter to see, if your HDD is failing.
  3. doox00 macrumors regular

    May 10, 2006
    yep, I would guess hard drive first as well, pretty common you will notice clicking before they fail.
  4. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    I'm going to assume this is different from the normal soft click/chatter sound of a hard drive accessing data. To check, does it only make a click when the computer has been sitting idle for a little while? That would just be the drive waking up from a nap due to inactivity, and is normal. If it's more frequent, though, it could well be a symptom of a failing drive.

    Smart Reporter is one way to ask the drive if it thinks it's ok, but it's easier to do this: Open your Applications folder, then open the Utilities folder in there; there should be a program called "Disk Utility". Open that, and click on the least-indented hard drive in its left pane (it will probably have a manufacturer name and a model number). Look down at the bottom of the window; it should say "S.M.A.R.T. Status: Verified".

    If it says something other than Verified, then you almost certainly have a failing drive, and you should make sure that your data is backed up (of course, you should have anything important backed up ANYWAY, but now would be a good time to make sure), then if it's under warranty call Apple and get them to replace it.

    If it does say Verified, that doesn't guarantee it's fine (you should STILL back up everything important), so you might still want to call Apple if it's under warranty and see what they say.

    On a related note, unplugging the device without ejecting it properly will NOT break anything, and shouldn't have anything to do with the clicking. The worst that can happen is the data on the drive gets corrupted, which is bad for the data, but the physical drive is fine.
  5. megan.lori thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2009
    Thank you

    Makosuke's advice was very helpful. It does say "verified,” which gives me some relief. The clicking is mainly when it is starting up. It’s very loud. I was surprised the computer could make a clicking sound that loud. Our problems started when we began transferring music on an 8-track to the computer through the USB cord, transferring them as WAV files. The computer is very slow and crashes several times a day. I am getting all of my music files off of itunes, and it’s starting to get better. I’m planning on backing up all of the files on the computer, and then repartitioning the hard drive. Hopefully, that will help.
    Thank you everyone!
  6. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    Backing up and trying a reinstall is probably a good idea regardless, but a couple of things:

    If it is the hard drive making the noise and it's making it while starting up, then there's something wrong with it regardless of what Disk Utility tells you.

    That said, the "click of death" on a hard drive usually isn't that loud. Is it possible you're hearing a "pop" from the speakers? iMac speakers can make a pop on occasion when the power state changes, and while it's not usually loud at all if something got messed up (and you DID say the problem started while working with audio) maybe that's it.

    Try plugging a pair of headphones into the sound out port in the back and see if that makes any difference. If it suddenly goes quiet, you at least know what the source of the sound is, if not exactly why it's happening.

    However, separate from all that, if the computer is actually crashing (as in, total freeze or the grey "you must restart your Mac" message), then there's at bare minimum something drastically wrong in software, and if anything more likely something broken. A backup and complete reinstall of the OS is again the best way to test, but if it continues to crash after reinstalling, something is broken.

    I should have suggested this before, but after you finish backing up, find the discs that came with the computer (you'll need them for the reinstall anyway) and use them to run the Apple Hardware Test (the instructions should be on the front of the disc). This is the quickest way to do a basic test to see if something is mechanically wrong. It won't catch everything, but it never gives false positives.
  7. Signal-11 macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2008
    2nd Star to the Right
    If you hear a clicking noise from your laptop, backup NOW NOW NOW and keep incremental backups.

    The telltale clicking of a failing HD is very recognizable and if your BF thinks this is what it is, I'd listen to him.

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