7 Ways to Fix Hard Drive Not Spinning Problem

By Puja Chatterjee on July 24, 2023

While using your PC, you may encounter issues with the internal or external hard drive at times. For example, issues such as the hard drive not spinning are quite common and frustrating.

When you experience this issue, you will not be able to access the valuable data stored on your hard drive. However, there is nothing to panic or take any drastic measures because there are some quick and easy fixes to it.

This article will help you understand the issues and their causes, along with the different potential solutions to rectify it.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

What are the Reasons for the Hard Drive Not Spinning?

An issue on the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) of the hard drive or an electrical failure due to a blown fuse may prevent the hard drive from spinning.

Insufficient power supply and other issues can be a result of faulty power cable, improperly connected power cable, a malfunctioning power supply unit, or a sudden power surge.

Sometimes, the read/write head of the drive may get stuck on a platter, causing this issue as well.

Almost similarly, the seizure of the platter motor may also result in the “hard drive not spinning” issue since it is responsible for spinning the disks inside the hard drive.

The motor can fail due to several reasons, such as overheating, excessive wear and tear, and physical damage.

There are also a few other factors for this issue, including but not limited to the following:

This, however, is not an exhaustive list of the causes of hard drives not spinning. There may be other factors that can contribute to this issue.

However, the solutions to this specific issue are quite a few and explained in the following section of this article.

How to Fix Hard Drive Not Spinning?

Fix Hard Drive Not Spinning

There are a few simple and advanced fixes for fix a hard drive, external or internal, that is not spinning, starting with checking the connection and the USB port, if the issue is related to your external hard drive.

Next up, you must check the power supply, since there can be a surge or drop in it that may cause the issue.

A few other ‘more than basic’ solutions include:

Here are the steps to follow for each method.

Method 1: Check the Power and USB Connections

No-brainer as it may seem, often such simple issues can cause different errors. So, it is better to start by checking the power connections of the hard drive and the motherboard to ensure they are connected properly by following the right steps.

STEPS TO FOLLOW:

Removing the cover on your computer case

Checking the power cable that connects the hard drive unit to the power supply unit

Plugin the main power supply

In case of an external hard drive, checking the power connections will not need removing the computer case. Simply check the cable and try using a different USB port and see whether or not the issue is resolved.

If the issue is not resolved, the next step is to check the power supply.

Method 2: Check Power Supply Surge

Sometimes issues with the Power Supply Unit (PSU) may cause this issue. So, check it before you move on to the other advanced solutions.

STEPS TO FOLLOW:

If you are using a surge protector, check that it is functioning properly so that the computer gets enough power to turn on and operate properly.

Checking the voltage on each of its connectors of the surge protector by using a multimeter

If the meter reading indicates any anomalies, replace the surge protector with a new one.

Method 3: Check the Printed Circuit Board and Replace the Faulty Diode

One of the major causes of a hard drive failing to spin is a faulty PCB. Check for the issues and repair the faulty parts in it. Usually, the capacitor or the diode are the main culprits to cause this issue. Check them and repair the one that is necessary.

Note: This is a highly technical solution. So, if you do not have adequate technical knowhow, leave it for the professionals.

STEPS TO FOLLOW:

Checking the capacitor

Checking the diode

If you hear a beeping sound and the screen on the multimeter shows a reading close to zero, it indicates the diode is short. If there is no sound and the reading is good, the diode is okay.

Removing diode

Applying flax at the two points of connection

Applying heat

Replacing the diode

You can remove and replace any faulty component on the PCB in the same way. Connect the drive to your computer back and then check whether or not it is spinning.

Method 4: Check and Replace the Blown Fuse on the PCB

In the same way, you must also check the fuse in the PCB. There can be multiple of them and these are pretty small. You may have to use a microscope to check the parts properly.

Note: Once again, this is a technical process and needs absolute precision. Skip this if you are not confident.

STEPS TO FOLLOW:

Take a look at the power cable. The colors indicate different volts and purposes.

Taking a look at the power cable

Orange is for 3.3 volts, black is ground, red is for 5 volts, black is ground again, and yellow is for 12 volts.

The power pins on the PCB are aligned accordingly.

power pins on the PCB

Follow the sequence of the pins and the metallic traces from the pins to the fuse accordingly, as shown by the red arrow in the image below for the 5-volt fuse:

Metallic traces from the pins

Check each fuse for continuity on both sides.

Checking for continuity at one end of the fuse

Checking on the other side of the fuse

If you do not hear a beep, the fuse is faulty.

In this case, the 3.3 volts is empty, the 5-volt fuse is damaged as indicated by the hole in it, (marked by a red box), and the 12-volt fuse is okay.

5-volt fuse is damaged

Connect it to your PC and then check whether or not it is spinning.

Method 5: Reset the Disk Head Stuck on the Platter

If the disk head is stuck on the platter, the hard drive will not spin, and you will have to reset it to the landing zone.

STEPS TO FOLLOW:

Removing the hard drive

Disk head stuck on the platter

Using the screwdriver to hold the spindle in the middle of the disk

Note: Do not force anything. It will damage the head and the platter.

Once the disk head is in the right place, replace the cover on the hard drive, insert it into its place, and connect all cables.

Plug in the main power supply, turn your computer system on and check whether the issue is resolved or not.

Method 6: Check BIOS Settings and Make Changes Necessary If Not Listed

There may be an issue in the Basic Input Output System (BIOS) setting that may not list the hard drive or is disabled, preventing the detection of the hard drive of your PC.

STEPS TO FOLLOW:

Note: The BIOS accessing key may be different for different systems. Check yours in the manual or the website of the manufacturer.

Alternatively, you can access BIOS setup by going to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Advanced startup > Restart now > Troubleshoot > Advanced options > UEFI Firmware Settings > Restart.

Going to the Boot tab

Clicking on Load Setup Defaults

Now restart your PC and check whether the hard drive is spinning.

Method 7: Fix the Mechanical Lock in Platter Motor

Any misalignment in the mechanical lock in the platter motor can cause the actuator arm to get stuck or not return properly to the landing zone. Fixing it will fix the hard disk not spinning issue.

STEPS TO FOLLOW:

Checking that the actuator arm is misaligned

Removing the mechanical lock

Pushing the spring lock gently

Replacing the mechanical lock

Connect it to the system, and your issue will be resolved.

Conclusion

Thanks to this troubleshooting guide, now you have a brief overview of the hard drive not spinning error and the steps to diagnose and fix the issue.

You can restore the functionality of the hard drive and regain access to your vital data easily, quickly, and more efficiently with more confidence.