I have an Iomega external hard-drive (model = LDHD250-U), which constantly vibrates while it is powered on. I run backups overnight, which is the only time that I access the drive. Most of the time, it should just sit idle, except for the fact that it vibrates constantly and emits a very dull "humming" noise. It really doesn't bother me, but I'm curious what causes the vibration? Is there an internal fan? Or, is this a sign that the drive may be nearing the end of its life.



I'd say it's either a defect in the drive causing the motor or platters to wobble slightly, or it is not mounted securely causing the whole drive to vibrate against the casing.

Of course it could just be the normal "hum" of a spinning hard drive.

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  • Under normal conditions, would you expect the drive to only spin when you access it (either by reading from it or writing from it)? – bporter Aug 5 '10 at 20:06
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    @bporter: Depends on the drive and OS config, if the drive isn't set to spin down when not in use then yes i would expect it to be constantly spinning. – Zypher Aug 5 '10 at 20:09
  • Is there any benefit in allowing a hard-drive to spin constantly? I don't access it regularly, so it seems like it would be better for it to spin down. I'm on Win XP - maybe there is a way to configure it to spin down. Otherwise, I could just turn it off during the day (since I only run backups at night). – bporter Aug 5 '10 at 20:26
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    @bporter Sorry for not giving sources and useful avice, but it is said that spinning up/down wears hard drives down the most. Still, it would be best to measure what happens. There is some way to make hard drives spin down, but unfortunately, I won't be helpful there either. I have a motherboard from era when SATA was brand new. Few years ago I moved from PATA hard disk to SATA. I noticed that without any explicit changes of settings, PATA hard disk would spin down when not in use. Unfortunately it would spin up every hour or so and later spin down, so it was very annoying. – AndrejaKo Aug 5 '10 at 21:31
  • Thank you both for the feedback. It sounds to me like the drive is probably (though I understand there are no guarantees) spinning all the time by design. I'll keep an eye on it, but I'm guessing that there is probably nothing wrong with it. – bporter Aug 6 '10 at 3:48

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