Last night my computer suddenly started to make these chirping noises. I'm afraid they are caused by a partially damaged hard drive and am wondering if anyone can confirm this? I have recorded a short video so you can hear the sound (https://youtu.be/5v6c0bbidr4). I have some experience with broken hard drives but I haven't experienced this specific sound, nor was I able to find a similar thing online.

I have backed up all the sensitive data, so not much can go wrong. I'm just curious if it is my harddrive and if so, is it just a specific sector that is damaged and can I keep using it or will it break down within a few hours/days?

EDIT To rule out a defect/damaged fan, I decided to open up the laptop. The video above does not contain the clicking noise that is also occurring every now and then (the same noise as when turning off a computer by long pressing the power button). However, the new video from within the laptop clearly does (https://youtu.be/NBctHjfMCnI). And it seems pretty bad, so I'm guessing software won't be able to fix this problem and a new harddrive is my best option.

  • 1
    Running SMART tests on your drives with confirm if it one of your hard disks. – DavidPostill May 13 at 17:37
  • The second video is much better. That is what we call a zombie-drive. It is dead, but still moving. High time to replace it. A SSD might be nice upgrade. – Tonny May 13 at 18:11

Best guess...

Your fan is catching on its casing.

It either needs cleaning or replacing.

Fans are cheap on eBay etc [$£€ 5 - 15] & can usually be identified by a part number on a sticker on the fan body. You rarely need one from the exact same manufacturer, so long as the numbers match.

  • tiny particulate matter inside the casing may also make a sound such as that in the recording, but it still points to the fan(s). – fred_dot_u May 13 at 15:33
  • Thank you for the quick response! After opening the laptop it seems however that it is not the fan but indeed the hard drive. I've added the new video in my edited question. Unfortunately, I think there is not much left to do in that case. – Tom Hartogs May 13 at 15:55

It is hard to hear from the video due to the low volume, but I would say that it doesn't sound like a dying drive.
To me it sounds more like a small grain of sand or something similar that is rolling around inside the laptop, maybe pushed around by the fan airflow. Or maybe it is a fan-baring.

Anyway: Best is not to rely on noise but to check the drive.
Most laptops have a hard-disk diagnostic in the Bios these days.
And you can also try the diagnostics software from your hard-disk manufacturer. (Look in the Windows Device Manager what the exact brand and model hard-disk is and go find the diagnostics software on the manufacturers website.)

  • Thank you for the quick response. I tried some diagnostic tools which did came up with some errors but none which told me right out that the drive is bad (what I would expect when it's making physical noise). I opened up the the laptop case to verify that it was indeed the hard drive (see edited question) and am afraid it is something that can't be solved by software. – Tom Hartogs May 13 at 15:58

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