Question Removing GPU might've killed my HDDs?

Apr 19, 2021
Sorry, wasn't sure if I should as here, in Motherboards section or somewhere else, but figured I'd post here since I believe the issue was caused by GPU interactions. Let me know if I should've posted it elsewhere.
So, I was running GTX 1050 Ti Strix here on ASUS Z170-P board. I wanted to give the GPU to my brother as the kind of stuff I do doesn't really require a GPU like that and the built in would work just fine, but I think it might've done something to both of my two HDDs. I powered down the PC, removed the GPU and booted. Right on load, I could hear HDDs make these clicking noises occasionally. Soon I found out that it was the reading head randomly stopping during reading. Sometimes my apps would crash, sometimes the file explorer would freeze, I also couldn't download anything large because if it did the clicking thing even once during downloading the file would come off corrupted.

Now, the interesting part is that, yes, both HDDs are somewhat old, but it started happening exactly after I removed my GPU. At first it was only one of them, and I sort of managed to fix it by using a software that remaps bad regions. Then I installed my GPU again to use it some more, totally forgot about it, and when it was time to finally give it to my brother and I removed it again... Boom, it happened once more, except this time remapping didn't help. No matter how many times I'd try to fix it, it'd calm down for some time and then start getting worse and worse with the clicking again. Another intersting detail is that it only happened to one of them at first, but after some time (around a month or two) my other drive started doing the same. Luckily the OS itself is on an SSD and I can still somewhat run it, but I'm still not sure if anything can be done about this. I don't know much about this kind of stuff, but could've removing GPU messed up with the way Windows interacts with them? I doubt they both just suddenly decided to die. Any thoughts?
I agree, it's highly unlikely (if not impossible) to get damaged just by removing the GPU, unless of course you hit your HDDs while you were removing the GPU.

You mentioned they are old and HDDs if I am not mistaken have around 4-5 years estimated lifespan. If yours are older than that, they already lived more than the average. I hope you have backups for everything.