[FIXED] External Hard Drive Freezes Computer? Get Solutions Here!


Could putting a Clicking Hard Drive in a Freezer Really Work?

Yes! This is one method that may allow you to recover files on your own, and it is free! Although I can’t make guarantees in your case.

This does not apply to solid state drives, but I expect it would work with all hard disk drive brands, for example Seagate and WD (Western Digital).

There may be proactive actions you can take with a clicking hard drive in particular. For example with a hard drive not working just some of the time (that is a serious warning sign though).

  • If your drive is clicking abnormally, and it is still working I suggest you take it seriously and copy all the contents to another drive – a clicking hard drive may be near the end of it’s life, even if new.
  • If your drive was clicking but now has stopped working, the method below might help you recover the data quickly and at no cost.


Step 2: Cover to Protect the Drive Before you put it in the Freezer

We don’t want to make things worse. Put the hard drive in a sealed plastic bag to avoid bulk condensation. I normally put it in a second larger bag.

I suppose you could use silica gel and put it along with the drive in the bag if you have some (for example from a shoe box from a recent shoe purchase). An alternative may be uncooked rice.

Why Is It A Bad Idea?

If you haven’t read it already…check out our brief overview of how a hard drive works. In order to squeeze more and more data onto the platter surface, hard drives have extraordinarily small clearances between the heads and platters. In modern drives this clearance is slightly less than 10 nanometers (nm). To put this in perspective, a single strand of DNA at around 2.5nm would barely fit through the gap between the heads and the platters.

When you freeze a hard drive, it doesn’t matter how much you wrap it, it doesn’t matter how airtight you try to make it, the platter surface can and will accumulate microscopic crystals of ice.  The ice crystals are extremely small, but they are still around 15,000 to 30,000 nanometers in height.  The problem becomes clear…there’s no way the ice crystals are going to be able to avoid hitting the heads when the drive powers up.

Solution 3. Reformat the External Hard Drive for Reuse

Taking your important data into consideration, you should make a full backup before proceeding with the final method. If the process of copying files still causes your external hard drive to become unresponsive, crash and freeze up in the end, download EaseUS hard drive recovery software to access and retrieve inaccessible data.

Key features of EaseUS data recovery software:

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%

  Download for Mac  Trustpilot Rating 4.4

Step 1. Choose and scan the external hard drive

  • Download and install EaseUS Data Recovery on your PC or laptop. 
  • Connect the external hard drive to your computer.
  • Run EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard and choose the external drive from External drives list. Then, click scan for lost data. 
Step 2. Check the scan results

Step 2. Check the scan results

  • EaseUS data recovery software will immediately scan the selected drive for all data, including deleted, corrupted, and existing data.
  • You can use the Filter feature to quickly locate the files of one kind, such as Pictures, Word, Excel, PDF, videos, emails, etc.
Step 3. Preview and recover data

Step 3. Preview and recover data

  • Double-clicking a file from the scanned results to preview.
  • Choose the files you want and click “Recover”.
  • Select a different drive to save the recovered files instead of the original one. 
Next, go to Disk Management to fix the freezing is

Next, go to Disk Management to fix the freezing issue on the external hard drive.

Step 1. Press Windows + R keys and type diskmgmt.msc in the Run box.

Step 2. Disk Management is now open. Right-click the external hard drive in question and click Format.

Step 3. Follow the format wizard and complete the procedure.

Step 4. Restart your computer and check if the issue persists.

How to resolve external hard drive freezes when copying files efficiently

If you find the external hard drive crashes when copying files, you can refer to the following methods:

Method 1: change the way of copying files

Repetitive, quick drag/drop can result in a hard drive freeze. Try to use copy/paste or cut/paste to transfer files. Moreover, you may transfer files in small groups rather than a big chunk, thus improving the transfer rate.

Method 2: enable/disable write caching

If you are copying files to the external hard drive, you can fix the issue by enabling write caching in Device Manager:

1. Right click on the Start icon and select Device Manager.

2. Find the external hard drive, right click on it and select Properties.

3. Under the Policy tab, choose Better performance and click “OK”.

Tips: If you are copying files from the drive, choose Quick removal.

Method 3: repair bad sectors on the frozen external hard drive

1. Tap the Search button on the taskbar and type “cmd” in the search box. Right click “cmd” and select “Run as administrator”.

2. Type chkdsk F: /f /r /x and press Enter. You should change the drive letter “F:” to that of the frozen external hard drive.

Tips: The meaning of the parameters used—“/f” tells chkdsk to fix any errors it finds; “/r” tells it to locate the bad sectors on the drive and recover readable information; “/x” forces the drive to dismount before the process starts.

3. Type exit and press Enter to exit Command Prompt.

How to Recover Data from External Hard Drive Freezes Computer when Plugged in

Preparation: Create a Boot Disk

Since the computer can run normally when the external hard drive is removed from it, you can create a boot disk on your computer directly.

Step 1: After installing and registering the software on the computer, you need to connect a USB disk or CD/DVD to your computer (in this post, we will use a USB disk as the destination disk). Then, you can open the software to enter the software interface.

On the left bottom of the interface, you can see a Bootable Media button on the top menu. You need to click on it to continue.

Step 2: This software will pop out a small window as follows. You need to click on the WinPE-based media with MiniTool plug-in option.

Step 3: Another window will appear. The connected USB flash disk will be detected and shown by this software. You need to click on it and a window generates.

The message on the pop-out window will inform you that “The data on the USB disk will be destroyed.” So, you need to make sure that there are no important files on it. Then, you can click on the Yes button to start the building process.

Step 4: When the building process is finished, you will see the following messages. Please click on Finish button to quit this interface.

Now, the MiniTool Power Data Recovery Boot Disk is prepared.

Then, it’s time for you to use this boot disk to recover data from the external hard drive.

Data Recovery: Use MiniTool to Recover Data from External Hard Drive

Step 1: Just shut down your computer, and then connect the external hard drive to your pc. Next, you need to set your computer to access BIOS. After that, you need to set your computer to boot from the boot disk. Then, you need to press F10 button to save this setting and exit this interface.

Step 2: Your computer will enter the following interface, and then launch MiniTool Power Data Recovery automatically.  

Step 3: You will see the software interface.

All connected hard drives including internal hard drives and external hard drives will be displayed on this interface. The drive letters under WinPE and the drive letters under Windows Explorer may be different. So, you need to identify the target partition you want to recover by its capacity.

Hover over the drive you want to recover data from and click on the Scan button to start the scanning process.

Step 4: This software will take some minutes to finish the scanning process. After that, you will enter the scan result interface. And both deleted and existing files are shown on this interface.

On this interface, the scanned files are classified by the path. You can unfold each path to find the files you want to recover.

You can also click on Type tab to make this software show you the files in type. It can help you to find the target files quickly.

Of course, if you know the name of the file you want to recover, you can click on Find feature and enter its name to locate it directly.

Filter function allows you to make an advanced filter of the scanned files by the Filename/Extension, Size, Date, and more.

Step 5: After checking the files you want to recover, you need to click on Save button. Then, this software will pop out a window. You can choose a proper path on the computer to save these selected files.

After the recovery process, you can remove the external hard drive from your computer, and then open the PC to use the recovered files directly.

My WD passport freezes my computer. Then, I use MiniTool Power Data Recovery Boot Disk to rescue its files easily. Share it with you.Click to tweet

If you are interested in the rest three recovery modules, you can learn them from the Data Recovery Help on the MiniTool official site.


You can fix the issue that external hard drive freezes when copying files with three methods offered in this article. To copy files more efficiently, you should try AOMEI Backupper. Other than copying files between computers and external hard drives, AOMEI Backupper is professional backup software that enables you to schedule automatic backups in Windows 11/10. Give AOMEI Backupper a shot and you will get all-around data and system protection.