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Hard drive making a weird noise

So, my hard drive is making this (<-- sound clip right there) noise right now, occasionally even worse. How bad is this? I'm assuming bad, which is why I just bought a new hard drive and I'm currently backing up.

My question #2: Is it normal for hard drives to start making this noise after a while? Almost all of my hard drives eventually make this sound, although I haven't had one fail on me yet, I usually switch computers way before that :P

This time it's an external (iomega) hard drive, but hard drives in both desktop computers and laptop computers have made this sound too.

UPDATE: This is an external HDD connected with USB 2.0, so I don't get too much diagnostic data.

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marked as duplicate by Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, random Oct 2 '11 at 4:55

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If you value your data, it is bad. A better description of the noise could help, but if you think about mechanics, it is a symptom of something going bad. –  Xavierjazz Sep 27 '11 at 19:43
    
I added a soundclip (the link is on the first "this"), but basically it's a clicking-like sound (not like the click of death though). It's hard to describe, I think the sound clip is easier: dl.dropbox.com/u/3242870/hdd_noises.wav –  henrikhodne Sep 27 '11 at 19:50
    
How long since it's been defragged? Sounds like head thrashing to an extreme degree. I'm not hearing recalibrate seeks which would indicate it's ready to get stuffed permanently. –  Fiasco Labs Sep 27 '11 at 20:39
    
It has never been defragmented. It's a 1.5 TB drive, around 400 GB full with HFS+. AFAIK, HFS+ doesn't need to be defragged unless it's getting quite full? I'll try to defragment it though. –  henrikhodne Sep 27 '11 at 22:58

3 Answers 3

When you start getting a noise from your hard drive like a tick tick or a grinding screech it's a bad sign that it will die soon so if I were you I would get a new drive and back up all your data.

Hard drive failure is quite common nowadays unfortunately I find them not as good quality like they used to be. You can't really predict when it dies however you can try to prevent it. The most common cause is a surge if you are the type that likes to leave your computer running at all times that's including standby or sleep mode technically it's still running so if there's any type of surge it will damage your computer hardware and your hard drive is the most common to be affected.

I recommend a surge protector or UPS that way it's protected properly look for one with a higher joules 600 and up which will provide more protection.

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Unless the sound is very loud and clunking, it may be deceiving. I don't think the recording is definitive enough to say it is bad for sure. If that sound is being recorded right next to the drive or at a distance makes a difference. No hard drive is completely silent. The more data stored on it the more is has to spin to index or search for the data.

You are smart to backup your data; good thinking. Before you condemn the hard drive, you may want to try some utilities to verify it is bad. Checkdisk (also known as CHKDSK.EXE) is OK, but check the manufacturer's website to download their diagnostic utility for the drive model you have.

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This is an external USB HDD, so diagnostics are limited. –  henrikhodne Sep 27 '11 at 20:11
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Most all of these external drives have common brand HDD inside. Check with the manufacturer to see what type of drives they use. That may help you better find diagnostics specific to the drive itself. –  CharlieRB Sep 27 '11 at 20:37

It could be the the click of death.

Or it could be related to overheating, I have had this happen to me. Ubuntu's Disk Utility can tell you about the operating temperature of the disk, current and historical.

I backed up all important data, cleaned the fan and air intake and hard drive is still working fine.

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