When I run Linux (Any distribution it seems, Fedora 15, 16, Ubuntu from 2009 to latest version...), the hard drive seem to sound significantly louder. It seems a LOT more active when it read/write files, and the clicks it makes are a lot louder. I can actually hear each and individual click. It goes back to normal when I go back to Windows 7.

In Windows, the sound is a light little click if the read/write is long enough, and if I listen for it.

In Linux, the sound is loud enough for me to hear every click, no matter how long the read/writes are (Well, if it's really short like a quick little flash of the hdd light, I won't hear it, but the read/writes are usually a lot longer than that). It also seems that there are a lot more hard drive activity too, such as loading Firefox a few seconds after I closed it, and loading pretty much any other program.

Why is my hard drive louder in Linux?


  • Windows 7 Professional x64
  • Fedora 16 x64
  • 4GiB DDR2 800MHz RAM
  • Intel P7450 2.13GHz
  • Fujitsu MHZ2320BH G2 320GB, 8MB Cache, 5600RPM

Update: I installed a minimal installation of Arch with xfce, and so far, I haven't heard of the loud clicks from my hdd. Even when I installed the nvidia package, and the hdd light was on and flickering for a long time

  • 1
    How often did you hear clicks? – kamae Mar 1 '12 at 3:27
  • Hard drives don't usually click, as no parts should be hitting each other. My hard drive started clicking a few months before it died. – Blender Mar 1 '12 at 3:47
  • What does hdparm -M /dev/sda return? – h0tw1r3 Mar 1 '12 at 3:56
  • By click, I meant the sound you hear when your hard drive load something... I'm pretty sure there aren't that many hdds out there that are so quiet you can't hear ANYTHING. The hdd was quiet when an operation didn't involve hdd activities – Alex Mar 2 '12 at 2:22

This is a dual boot right? Not duplicate systems or a situation where you replaced one OS with another? So each OS is probably in separate partitions. Depending on the disk geometry, the windows OS might be located in sectors where the drive's seek arm barely moves, and the Linus partition is located where the seek arm needs to extend the fullest. Its also possible that the linux partition has a bad sector that is causing some disk retries? (ok, probably unlikely). In the Bios setting, it will have options to change the acoustic settings for the hard drive, but I don't believe those settings can be changed by the OS - if it did, that could be related. (Also typo on specs, its a 5400rpm drive).

  • Yes it's a dual boot. Separate partitions on 1 HDD. Nope. The BIOS is really limited. No interesting options like that in there at all – Alex Mar 2 '12 at 2:24
  • Yeah I think this is the answer 'cause I had Ubuntu at the end of the disk. I got an old WD Raptor 10K drive with 36GB this summer, and when I was doing seek tests on Linux, you can literally hear the arm vibrating as if a 6th grader is flicking a ruler on the edge of a desk, and sliding it left and right lengthwise. – Alex Sep 30 '12 at 5:01

From what I know, Linux does not give too much about your BIOs settings.

I also had a clicking hard-disk. It turned out that the power saving mode, which parks the heads, producing a click, was at fault.

I'd recommend disabling it completely with hdparm -B 255 /dev/sdX

BTW: The HDD can only take so many clicks. Disabling it may cost a little bit more energy, but may extend your HDD's lifetime.

Also you might want to run some health checks (though SMART is not so helpful), as your drive may be failing.

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