How to backup a HD that is on its last breath?

I have an HD that makes clicking sounds and looks like it is going to die very soon.
Ideally I would like to clone the disk but I’m afraid the cloning process would kill it.

How should I proceed? Is there any application especially made for backing up disks in their last throes?

No advice other than to copy your files to another drive asap. I mean right away, now!

Here’s a link with various sounds a dying hard drive makes. Not sure what help that is but it’s kind of interesting.

There’s recover software for sue after it dies but you really don’t want to have to use that because even if it seems to work it will probably rename your files.

Also it may help to keep the drive cool, open the case if the computer is off (if it’s on just copy files ASAP).

In case of total failure I’ve heard of people having success placing the drive in a freezer in a ziplock bag for a while then putting it back in the computer and got some extra time on it. This worked for me once, and another time did not.

Good luck

I would also suggest saving the important stuff (photo’s doc’s emails, etc) first, then if it still works try to clone it.

You’re still reading! Right now!

If it’s the main OS drive, take it out and mount it as a secondary in another PC. (You don’t need the stress of the OS running off of it too) Then start by picking the files you care most about.
Once you’ve got them, go ahead and try cloning it.

I’ve seen various utilities (here’s a random one) whose purpose is to recover individual files on a bad drive, but I haven’t seen one for copying a whole disk.

And of course you will use this experience to begin using a regular backup routine with the new drive, right? Making regular backups turns a drive failure from OMG HUGE EMERGENCY to “ho-hum, I’ll just pull up one of my backups, life goes on.”

One of my two external backup drives died this week. No big whoop; I just pulled the other one out of my safe-deposit box and restarted my backup routine (full backup to start, nightly incremental backups). Then I ordered two replacement drives (I bought these two drives at the same time, and if one just died, the other is probably on its last legs). I keep one connected to the computer and one in the bank box, and swap them out roughly every few weeks.

Under normal conditions, if my main HD dies, I still have two reasonably recent external backups: the one at my computer that should be no more than a day out of date, and the one in the safe-deposit box, which might be a few weeks old. Even if the house blows up, I still have the backup at the bank (along with spare power/USB cables and a copy of my backup software).

I’m a little hobbled right now because I have only the one backup (and, as an online friend is fond of saying, “a backup that’s right next to your computer is no backup at all”). But it’s only for a few days, until the new drives arrive. And I’m backing up critical files (client files that I’ve just worked on that aren’t on the main backup) to my thumb drive.

Granted, I’m self-employed, so my files are a bit more critical than, say, music or movies, which can be replaced, if expensively. So I’m probably more rigorous than than the average bear about backups. Still, if your stuff is important to you: