Whats that "clicking" noise from HD?

I have 3-4 hard drives about 2-3 years old and 3-4 hard drives about one year old. It seems about once an hour one of the drives near the top of my case makes a noticeable “click” sound. I have never paid this any attention but believe that click “has always been there” but I can’t be certain it didn’t start a only a few months ago?

I have not noticed any associated operating issues with this until today. If I am editing a video file and am dragging the index marker and the hard drive makes that clicking noise, then the index marker will freeze in place so that my mouse gets away from it and I have to go back and pick up the marker again. I haven’t noticed any other glitches in sound or video playing back–but probably the those activities just haven’t been engaged in?

I wonder if that hard drive “burp” is what causes my system to freeze “in general” every other day or so??? Until just now, I have understood that excel or word documents freezing my system was an example of lack of ram? (I have 512 MB running Win2000 that seems to work just fine most times until my system freezes??–I just use task master to end those programs and my system is back running==no need for a reboot. Could this be the clicking hard drive instead??)

And generally–is this every other hour or so clicking noise the type of noise that indicates drive failure or just the normal parking of heads ((whatever that means??—smile!!) Thanks//// bobbo.

The clicking sound you are hearing is the hard drive starting up or shutting off to save power after it has not been used in a while. Your system hangs when this happens because it is waiting for your hard disk.

If you want to get rid of the noise, go to control panel>power options and change the settings (assuming you are running windows :)).


FREEWARE will show SMART status, you want to see HEALTHY or OK. Quick and easy.


FREEWARE info tool for the pc. For HD you want to see something like this:

IC25N040ATMR04-0 [Hard drive] (40.01 GB) – drive 0, s/n xxxxxxxxxx, rev MO2OAD0A, SMART Status: Healthy

Many HDs have the SMART feature that monitors the status of the drive. The drive manufacturer may offer a software program that tells you the status. Otherwise, either of these programs will work (hdtune also has a quick scan feature). I’m sure there are many other programs out there that will do the same.

Clunking noises could mean the HD is failing – clicking might be normal. Have you done a CHKDSK? Maybe you just have errors on the drive.

512MB of RAM should be adequate for your tasks.

Regards, gamma1

Its an indication that your hardrive is dying. If your files inside is way too important, you mught consider backing up now. dont take a risk, it happens to me once.

If it is clicking then freezing for a second then it could be a dodgy molex (power) connector try changing it if its on an adapter or using a different molex connector

Well thanks for the top HDtune proggy, it’s the first one anybody’s posted that seem to read all of my drives on my SATA ports with IDE to SATA converters. Found out my Maxtor has some bad sectors which I have suspected for a while, luckily its not my boot drive. It still seems to pass the SMART tests though so maybe a reformat down the road will map out or repair the damaged spots. At least for now the data on it seems to be OK, which wasn’t the case a while back, probably when the bad spots started :sad:
My other drives so far seem to map out fine on the quick scan:bow:

By the way I second the check your power connections, mine have done that a few times after a while of use and do exactly what you describe. Sometimes you can just tighten up the metal connectors and sometimes just better to replace the darned things.

Good info. I thought the question was “too vague” to post- - -how does one describe “a clicking noise?”===but thats what I have.

Adict–the clicks occur while the harddrive is reading or writing so it might be some sort of starting or stopping issue (if so, why not all the time instead of every hour or so??) but I don’t think it is to stop and save power (but who ever knows for sure==except maybe a shop technician standing over my shoulder?)

gamma–hdtune installs but gives me a “hard freeze” on trying to run the program. Hard freeze is my just made up term for task manager not being able to stop the program or freezing itself, so that I have to turn the computer off and restart it using the power button. Every diagnostic program that does make a report shows everything to be working–eg, aida, belarc, symantec, check disk, and seagate diagnostic. Over the next few days, I plan to run check disk in the “fix errors mode” on restart AND try to learn how to find/read the event log to confirm what check disk finds.

As an aside, for some reason on my system, many diagnostic tools don’t seem to work for some reason–hdtune, speedfan, (use of dual monitors too) come immediately to mind. Don’t know if these issues are all related, but I feel kinda hamstrung from time to time.

d3x==drive failure is certainly my concern, but I don’t want to create a problem that isn’t there. My fear is that the clicking noise on its own doesn’t mean anything (to me) until it “does” something and that is what I see happening now–the cursor freezing and now that I am paying attention, I see other programs momentarily stalling for 1/4 sec during the “click” sound ((the click sound is actually more of a heartbeat type sound with a small click then a louder click in two phases very quickly==not a thunk). I don’t notice any bad effects from this click–everything still seems to work. Now, if it clicked with no associated operting issues, I would have no worry. But obviously, if it clicked “all the time” then my system wouldn’t work at all?? So, I think I do have an incipient/very early failure warning—or not? If the frequency of the clicking increases, I will be motivated to isolate the drive(s) that is doing it, which will be a pain.===Come to think of it, my “old” computer with a six year old hard drive does NOT make any clicking sound at all. I have a mix of Seagate and Maxtor drives. Right now, I’m thinking the click noise is coming from the Seagate(s) as that oldest drive is a Maxtor. ((I hope NOT to find out if their warranty actually works??))

Mr Brownstone–I’m running 7 harddrives plus removable tray etc==all my connectors are in use. Once a year I go thru computer cleaning for dust and attaching/reattaching all connections==I don’t know if this helps or hurts but it is a routine I have adopted. The air here in Sacramento is relatively “dry” but metal and corrosion are a fact of life. I’m hoping that connecting/reconnecting all connections is enough of a cleaning to keep everything shipshape.===but next cleaning, I will rotate the connections and see if there is a change in the noise pattern.

My Conclusion–I’m thinking I am hearing the “earliest” indication of ultimate hard drive failure on my Seagate drives==but it may be a known operating characteristic that is “within standards?” I’m going to send Seagate an email and ask their advice/put them on notice. Will report back if anything to tell.

Thanks for all the great feedback. /// bobbo ((and always—other ideas??))

At this point you could check out Gibson’s SpinRite (the program no one ever wants to use :frowning: ). http://www.grc.com/intro.htm
It’s not free (costs more than some drives), but if you have a lot of drives it might be worth it. You can create a boot disk and run it on boot up.

The clicking is disturbing. Clicking and then clunking with data problems occurred before my last Seagate failure (years ago).

But first finish up with the CHKDSK “fix errors” and “scan and attempt recovery…” good luck, let us know how it turns out…regards, gamma1

gamma–thanks for your great info. I became aware of the clicking as I was editing video files on my R-S and T drives (All one year old Seagates.) Then yesterday I spent my time editing audio files which is done on my C-G and H drives (a mix of Seagate and Maxtor) and there were no clicks at all. So either this clicking is “the nature of” newer Seagate drives “or” it is the earliest indication of drive failure to come==all while currently reporting that they are “healthy” and working just fine ((ie, so much for Smart Monitoring and Seagate Diagnostic??)) Being a pessimist, I will assume down the road, I will have drive failure. So==my plan is to determine the defective drive and see if it is limited to 1-2-3 or just what I have and then make sure I keep the "less critical stuff–unprocessed video–on it. Darn!! after too many failures with Western Digital, and less warranty with Maxtor, I was hoping Seagate was my storage solution. Instead, uncertainty and doubt. - - - and life goes on. Yes, I will update as the cookie crumbles. /// bobbo.

I went to the spinrite website. Lots of good freeware there but you have to pay for spinrite. Given so many programs don’t work on my system for a variety of known and unknown reasons, I refuse to buy software wiithout a free trial period to see if it is functional “on my system.” Now–spinrite is a dos based version of chk disk==so I agree it “should” work but reading the faqs, I don’t see how a 170kb program is going to have a robust prognostic program in addition to its recovery abilities?? Still, if I had 89 bucks lying around, I would like to see spinrite in action.

That website is “interesting.” So many programs to “shut off” standard microsoft “features.” I still think there is a market for a “stripped down” OS that might limit higher functions --all mostly unused and unknown by most people-- to get a rock solid “basic” computer. But–not even offered. As always, seems to me the “best” programs, including operating systems, should install basic operability and then only allow the additional services to be installed as desired. But, maybe thats just me. //// bobbo.

Well kinda offtopic but that maxtor 120 I said hd tune found a bunch of bad sectors on just died HARD after I shutdown for the night. Next day I started up and got the dreaded BSOD, whilest trying to boot into safe mode to sort it out it dawned on me that the suspect drive had a bunch of bad spots so I opened the box and disconnected it, boots fine now. The drive passed all the smart tests and still ate itself :confused: Its been the one that always had problems, and had to get checked on bootup for errors every so often so?!?
At least it isn’t my boot drive and I think most of the stuff on it can be replaced and I’m up and running again.
Don’t think I’ll be buying the cheap 1 year warranty Maxtors anymore, not worth the hassle.
By the way some drives have temp recalibration and other things built in so they do weird clicks and thumps sometimes while working or idle. Be interesting to see what Seagate has to say. I’ve had a drive or two that just makes weird coughing clicks like it double seeks or something and it worked finr for years but always made me nervous,

Hey thanks Dartman==sorry for your drive failure–always a pain. Good to have a real life example of how Smart Monitoring can be near worthless. I asked my physician how often he found something when a patient stated he had been in good health for years and felt good now. He said almost never. I asked why have a yearly physical then unless you were feeling bad and he replied because they might catch something. Same reason to run diagnostic programs!!! I doublt much is caught if you aren’t haveing a heart attach “at the time.”

I will report back on Seagates response. Haven’t sent email yet. Just got my new Canon S2 camera and still trying to figure out what all the icons mean! Need to put new equipment thru its paces while return period still valid. /// bobbo.

d3x==you were correct. Hard drive totally failed–but atleast no more clicking noises coming from my mass array of remaining disks. Seagate 250GB just one year old==BUT it did give me about 6 months warning of failure but I didn’t know “thats” the sound of failure. Terrible way to learn. SMART reporting, Windows Manager, and Seagate diagnostic all showed the disk to be “healthy” and without errors.

Even in hind sight, I don’t see how I/we/general users could ever take a drive that was nominally “working” and turn it back to Seagate under warranty for replacement when it was still working?? Still, thats what should have happened. The software should have said, impending failure and then I would have acted.

I’m now thinking of using a RAID 5 array to protect against all the data loss ((all edited TV series–just 2 years of collecting and hours of editing==all gone!)) but I’m already reading how just about everyone has trouble getting the RAID arrays to work properly. New motherboard, ram, cpu, 5 new hard drives==is this hobby/aggravation worth another $800??

I think not, if the next hard drive would fail with the same clicking warning sounds, I would feel safe. I sure the next failure will present itself differently though. I hate computers!!! :a