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My hard drive is making a high pitched sound. And it has now for a few months, however in the past week or so the sound has gotten worse. What surprises me is that my laptop is not even a year old. I know that it's the hard drive because I have narrowed the sound to coming from the hard drive.

My first question is what does it mean and next, does it mean that my hard drive is ready to fail? If my hard drive is about to fail then how can I go about saving all my applications and transferring them onto my new hard drive?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

First, are you sure it is the drive, and not a fan, the power supply unit, or commonly, a wire hitting a fan? Sorry, I have to ask.

If it is the drive for sure, then I would image it ASAP as your drive could be headed to the graveyard. You can use free Clonezilla.

Take the current drive and send it back for warranty, as it is almost certainly still under.

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I'm pretty sure, as I move my ear away from my hard drive and towards the fan the sound lessens in intensity. I have also had a few other people listen and they agree with the location the sound is coming from. – Timothy Eck II Jul 9 '11 at 12:49
@Timothy Eck II OK, I believe you. It is just that if you do not open it, and listen closely, other things can deceive. So then see if you can get a spare drive, even from a friend for temporary use, use Clonezilla, and warranty the drive. Don't wait though...problems like this often get worse, and can lead to total loss of data. I hope you have saved all your important files. – KCotreau Jul 9 '11 at 12:52
I'm transferring everything over now to an external hard drive now. Thanks for the help, I kinda suspected that I should do something about the hard drive, but its such a pain I was putting it off. Well off to the fun that I have awaiting me. – Timothy Eck II Jul 9 '11 at 12:57
@Timothy Eck II After you get the important stuff off to the external drive, if you clone it, you won't have to re-install everything...assuming you don't just want a fresh install. – KCotreau Jul 9 '11 at 13:02
Doing a fresh install where I currently am would be impractical. Mainly I don't have access to a windows install and a lot of the software I won't have access to again until I get back to college in September. Also my internet here is sporadic at best so I need to save as much data that I already have. – Timothy Eck II Jul 9 '11 at 13:10

There is a little spring dealie that presses on the end of the disk shaft in many drives, primarily as a static discharge device. Eventually the spring wears to the point that it squeals. Generally this has no effect on the function of the disk drive (though it may drive the user crazy).

On older drives this spring was external, and you could bend it slightly when it began making noise, such that it would stop for awhile. With newer drives it's internal, and there's no practical way to fix it.

Of course, with modern drives this squeal should not start for 5-10 years of normal use, so if the drive's less than a year old you should get it replaced under warranty.

(Unfortunately, replacing the primary hard drive in a modern computer is a royal PITA, I know.)

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Ya I just got the laptop for college last august and the sound has been lasting for about four months now. I suspected the hard drive was already going bad but the thought of replacing the whole drive seemed more painful than the thought of losing the drive. – Timothy Eck II Jul 9 '11 at 12:59
Well, if you send it in for warranty service they will almost certainly "scratch" the drive. You could buy another drive and try to copy the data (there are USB adapters available for most modern drive styles now), but Windows (which I presume is your OS) does not like to be copied from drive to drive. – Daniel R Hicks Jul 10 '11 at 12:20

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