Identifying HDD Noise Problems

A hard disk is a mechanic device, and even being 100% trouble free it may emit certain sounds when working (remember the noise of magnetic heads positioning). That is, presence of certain sounds (especially when the disk is new) may not mean anything at all, but things are very different if you have never heard the noises before.

Identifying HDD Noise Problems

If this is your case, the first thing we recommend you should do is to copy all important data from the disk to other media, and then proceed to run a diagnostics procedure on your HDD and try to restore its operability and files. Certainly, just comparing the noises emitted by your hard drive and the sounds given in this article is not exactly a 100% guaranteed diagnostics tool but it will be all right as the first-approach method…

Noises Emitted by Seagate HDDs

Sounds of a completely healthy Seagete U-series hard disk.

The rattling noise of Seagate Barracuda hard disk coming from faulty magnetic-head assembly.

The rattling noise of Seagate U-series hard disk coming from faulty magnetic-head assembly.

A Seagate HDD with a broken spindle is trying to spin up.

A laptop-series Seagate hard disk with magnetic heads in bad condition, emitting clicking and clattering noises.

A Seagate hard disk with malfunctioning magnetic heads, emitting clicking and rattling sounds.

Noises Emitted by Western Digital (WD) HDDs

The rattling noise of WD hard disk coming from faulty magnetic-head assembly.

A laptop-series WD hard disk with a stuck spindle trying to spin up and emitting a howling sound.

A WD 500 GB hard disk with magnetic heads in bad condition, clicking several times and stopping.

A WD hard disk with magnetic heads in bad condition (clattering sounds).

Noises Emitted by Samsung HDDs

Sounds of a completely healthy Samsung SV-series hard disk.

The rattling noise of Samsung SV-series hard disk coming from faulty magnetic-head assembly.

Noises emitted by QUANTUM HDDs

Sounds of a completely healthy QUANTUM CX hard disk.

The rattling noise of QUANTUM CX hard disk coming from faulty magnetic-head assembly or damaged Philips TDA microchip.

The rattling noise of QUANTUM Plus AS hard disk coming from faulty magnetic-head assembly.

Noises Emitted by MAXTOR HDDs

Sounds of completely healthy “thick model” hard disks (DiamondMax Plus9, 740L, 540L).

Sounds of completely healthy “thin model” hard disks HDD (DiamondMax Plus8, FireBall3, 541DX).

The rattling noise of thick model (DiamondMax Plus9, 740L, 540L) hard disks coming from faulty magnetic-head assembly.

The rattling noise of thin model (DiamondMax Plus8, FireBall3, 541DX) hard disks coming from faulty magnetic-head assembly.

Noises Emitted by IBM HDDs

Noise emitted by an IBM hard disk without unparking and recalibration; it usually appears when the controller breaks down.

Noise emitted by an IBM hard disk without recalibration; it usually appears after a controller is replaced and service information versions are inconsistent.

Noise emitted by an IBM hard disk when losing contact between the controller or when having bad blocks.

Sounds of a completely healthy IBM hard disk.

The rattling noise of IBM hard disk coming from faulty magnetic-head assembly.

Noises Emitted by FUJITSU HDDs

The noise of FUJITSU hard disk in case of a loss of adaptive tuning; it can be found in models MPG3102AT and MPG3204AT only.

Sounds of a completely healthy Fujitsu hard disk.

The rattling noise of FUJITSU hard disk coming from faulty magnetic-head assembly.

Evaluating the condition of a hard disk using S.M.A.R.T.

As we have said before, if you heard any suspicious sounds, the first thing you should do is to copy all important data from your HDD to other media. After that, you can begin evaluating the condition of your hard disk.

Before actually describing the procedure, let us find out first what the letters S.M.A.R.T stand for.

S.M.A.R.T. (the abbreviation for Self Monitoring Analysing and Reporting Technology) is the technology developed to assess the condition of a hard disk with the built-in means of self-diagnostics and the mechanism to predict when it may get out of order.

There are utilities to read and analyze the S.M.A.R.T. attributes. Using these you can monitor significant parameters of hard disks, and what is most important, see the first signs of the coming problems.

Author: Maxim Cherniga

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