I have two hard drives installed on my system - WD Caviar Black 500GB (primary one) and a Samsung Spinpoint F4 320GB (used for storage). The first one has been in use for a year and the second one for four years. The problem I am experiencing is a peculiar one, often when I (or a piece of software, doesn't matter) have to read data from the disk, it makes a power-up or a spin-up noise (a long buzz followed by a click), but not always. This sound is perfectly normal when turning the PC on or off but not in between. I also don't know which one of the two drives is actually making the noise but I'd guess it is the primary one. Hard Disk Sentinel says that both of them are in perfect shape (no weak sectors or anything like that) and that they pass the S.M.A.R.T test - status "OK" on all of the values and "Always passing" on most of them. This has been going for about six months, I believe, but there have been no serious problems with either of the drives even though I suspect that one of them is dying.

Cannot upload pictures so I am posting links instead.

HD Sentinel - http://i.imgur.com/3VGDRcV.png (Samsung's Raw Read Error Rate is weird)

Speccy snapshot (hope it's not too much bother): http://www.speedyshare.com/mwMWn/system-specs.speccy

Additionally, the PSU I have is a Corsair TX750.

I will, of course, provide more information if needed. Thank you all in advance.

  • If you haven't already, consider backing up any important data. Use the official diagnostic tools (Data Lifeguard Diagnostic and HUTIL, respectively; both are bundled with UBCD) and run an extended tests on the drives. Then report back. – and31415 Aug 10 '14 at 18:56
  • @and31415 Both drives passed the DLD's quick test (i.imgur.com/9REK7Wj.png). Are extended tests really needed - it says they could take hours? I was really hoping for a swift resolution... – Venom Aug 10 '14 at 19:25
  • @and31415 The "Turn off hard disk after" power saving option was set to 20 minutes (i.imgur.com/JBauNgN.png) but I've changed it just now to "Never". Could that help? – Venom Aug 10 '14 at 19:29
  • Posting the S.M.A.R.T. data for both drives might be interesting (instead of giving us an executive summary). – sawdust Aug 11 '14 at 0:04
  • @sawdust I believe I've provided S.M.A.R.T. data in the question itself; the first snapshot is that of HD Sentinel. Maybe something additional is needed? The noise does seem to have gone away after changing the previously mentioned setting. – Venom Aug 11 '14 at 6:58

If you have the drives set to power down when not used, it's "normal" to hear regular "spin up" sounds when you access a drive after some inactivity (and this may also occur occasionally when background tasks access the drive).

Depending on your OS version and the vendor-supplied power management software there may be a way to turn on and off and adjust the timeout for the power down of inactive drives.

However, if you hear a drive repeatedly "spinning up" again and again over periods of a minute or three it usually means that something is wrong with the drive (it's failing to start up), and quite probably you will notice that your computer is "hung" while this occurs.

  • 1
    It doesn't really happen that often, I'd say every 30 to 60 minutes. Happens instantly, though, when I scan the disk with CCleaner for example. I've set the "Turn off hard disk after" (i.imgur.com/JBauNgN.png) option to "Never" (after prntscr). Hopefully it helps. – Venom Aug 10 '14 at 19:54
  • I don't recommend turning off hard drive power down -- doing so shortens the life of the drive. While powering a drive up/down repeatedly every few minutes is not good, leaving it spinning for hours is not good either. If it seems to happen at regular intervals then you should examine your Task Scheduler and see if there are any unnecessary tasks scheduled to run every 30 minutes or some such. There usually are a half-dozen. – Daniel R Hicks Aug 10 '14 at 20:05

Buzzing and clicking is not normal for any HDD. Just because the sectors read fine does not mean the HDD isn't having another issue. This should help you find your answer to the noise.

If you still believe everything is fine, that noise is most likely because it was in a power-saving mode where the disk wasn't being used for anything and had to spin-up to get your information for you when you requested it, i.e. opening a file/starting a program.

If you would like to know which HDD it is, unplug your secondary, run your primary by itself, see if you can re-create the noise, if not, plug in the secondary, if the noise comes back, viola!

  • The "Turn off hard disk after" power saving option was set to 20 minutes (i.imgur.com/JBauNgN.png) but I've changed it just now to "Never". Could that help? – Venom Aug 10 '14 at 19:29
  • Yes and no. That may stop the "noise" but it may just lessen the life of your HDD as well because it will be running constantly now. I don't want to beat a dead horse here, but, I would highly recommend replacing the HDD(s) with new ones, no noise is the best noise when it comes to HDDs. – Andrew Aug 10 '14 at 19:30
  • But I've bought the WD a year ago because the other Samsung (had them in RAID0) started failing. Am I really that unlucky? I was told they were reliable and all that, oh well. But, as I've said it's been going on for some time now without any consequences that I can think of. – Venom Aug 10 '14 at 19:34
  • You may be unlucky. It could be from excessive vibration in the case causing issues. The HDD may need to be secured better if it's causing it's own vibration that may cause issues. In my personal opinion, WD is the best HDD for reliability, there could be other environmental factors causing HDD issues. – Andrew Aug 10 '14 at 20:39

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