A hard disk drive (HDD), is a data storage device that uses magnetic storage to store and retrieve digital information using one or more inflexible rapidly rotating disks (platters) coated with magnetic material. The platters are paired with magnetic heads, usually arranged on a moving actuator arm or stack, which read and write data to the platter surfaces. When you power up a hard drive to use or in the case of the lab at R3 Data Recovery to test, you can usually determine whether or not a drive is in good condition or a bad one from the sounds it makes.
In the case of the drive making a slight initialising click shortly after the drive spins up and then spinning smooth with a gentle vibration, this generally indicates the drive should be in decent condition.
If the drive spins up and then starts to click repeatedly and then spins down, the heads are damaged and the drive has a mechanical fault. Sometimes the clicking can be accompanied with beeping. This is obviously a sign that the drive is in bad condition.
Here are some examples:
(Bad condition HDD spins up, clicks then powers down)