Sounds You Don't Want To Hear: Failing Hard Drives

Failing hard disk drives will often (but not always) make distinctive noises. Here's an excellent compilation of the sounds they make.

This is a great list of the various kinds of sounds that hard disk drives make when they are failing.
The sounds are grouped by manufacturer, with the sounds that you really don't want to hear listed for each vendor - Western Digital, Seagate, Samsung, Hitachi/IBM, Maxtor, Fujitsu, Toshiba, and Quantum.

Just click on the circle with the triangle inside next to the link to hear the sound for that manufacturer.
You can listen to stuck spindles, bad heads, bad bearings, failing heads, and seized spindles.
Many of the sounds appear to be somewhat amplified so they can be easily heard.

Image of Hard Disk Drive

If you hear noises coming from your hard disk drive, back up everything you can as quickly as you can, provided the disk still has some life left in it. :)
The hard disks I've had over the years that failed usually failed without a sound or became so slow as to be almost unusable. One made a faint clicking when the disk drive spun up. Your mileage may vary. :)

The site with the sounds belongs to a professional data recovery service, with a link and a fast quote box. While it's a commercial site, listening to the various failing hard disk drives is free.

Failing hard drive sounds (

(via What's On My PC)

Off for now,

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by Tauheed (not verified) on 30. November 2012 - 16:01  (103121)

I bought hard drive today company is WD and 160GB size earlier I use Seagate 80GB Hard drive there is no single noise I ever hear from it but in the new one I hear creepy noise while its working I do not why isn't normal???

I also check Hard Drive Health and Performance with the software but everything fine software said.

so please help me guys!

Thank You!

by rhiannon on 30. November 2012 - 21:47  (103133)

Some hard drives are louder than others - it's good to check the health and performance, and also check the WD website for hard drive utilities made specifically for their drives that can check several things. FWIW, I've found Seagate drives to be quieter than WD hard drives.

by MidnightCowboy on 30. November 2012 - 16:07  (103122)

Please direct this query to Seagate support. MC - Site Manager.

by Tauheed (not verified) on 30. November 2012 - 16:37  (103126)

I have western Digital Hard Drive.

by MidnightCowboy on 1. December 2012 - 1:22  (103141)

My apologies - I misread your first post.

by solokiran (not verified) on 31. May 2012 - 8:58  (94227)

plz help...........
i heard the sounds listed above, but its some what different from my hdd sound,its like scratching sound,its comes once in 3min or 5 min alternatively.but one thing sure is when sounds comes my OS stops working and everything stucks then it takes some time to operate.........

any suggestions?.........plz help......

by MidnightCowboy on 31. May 2012 - 9:46  (94229)

Sorry but we are unable to provide individual support here in the comments. Please post details of your problem here in our forum.

by Nora Brinley (not verified) on 7. August 2011 - 5:09  (77063)

..don't overlook free "Speedfan".

It has a very very neat "Drive Fitness" monitor built in.

Works a treat. If you have a machine, or machines with multiple drives try it, I think you'll be convinced about the value of the monitor.


by Gerald Reiner (not verified) on 7. April 2011 - 1:46  (69596)

The freezer trick has worked for me on several ocassions. Probably has to do with shrinking the bearing and then getting a realignment. But the fix is temporary so get the data off quickly if it works for you.

by MerryMarjie on 6. April 2011 - 21:01  (69588)

I have an HP Pavilion going on four years old that was making a terrific whirring racket at least twice a day for the last three months, sometimes for up to a half hour at a time. I noticed no problems with programs or the Internet, but this noise was loud enough, like a high-speed motor, and I was worried. One morning I listened a little closer and discovered it was the portable Media Drive which was docked into the front slot. I removed that and whaddya know, the noise stopped! I'm not sure if the drive is still intact (hope so as that's my backup!) but no more noisy computer.

by Urban (not verified) on 6. April 2011 - 20:44  (69587)

Search the web for the Pdf

"Failure Trends in a Large Disk Drive Population"

An interesting article about why, how and when hard desk fails and if S.M.A.R.T. can forecast this.

by Michel (not verified) on 6. April 2011 - 16:58  (69579)

Some harddisks make are noisier than others. I have a 2,5 pouce Toshiba and it's written on it : Rattle noise is normal :)

by Don Ravanelli (not verified) on 6. April 2011 - 15:15  (69574)

When rebooting my computer from completely "off", after the microsoft/windows images appear, I get a sound that my best description would be "whirring", if that makes any sense..
And recently anything to do with photography programs go very slow.
Sony VAIO desktop, circa 2005 running XP

by rhiannon on 6. April 2011 - 18:47  (69581)

@Don Ravanelli All my hard disk drives make a soft whirring sound when they are turned on. When the hard drive is working there's a bit of noise - all the hard drives I've had make the same noises.

Photography and image programs can take a bunch of memory to run, especially if you are working on more than a few images. The best fix I've found for that is more memory on your system.

Keeping your hard drive defragmented will help a little bit.
Check the Best Free Disk De-fragmenter category here on the site for recommendations.


by bernardz on 6. April 2011 - 14:40  (69573)

I have had harddisks that have made similar noises and lasted for years.

Actually recently I had an old model that was making real funny noises, then failed. It was declared busted by a tech at work. A few days later I tried it again and it was fine.

by rhiannon on 6. April 2011 - 18:52  (69582)

@bernardz I'm not surprised. There's some consensus that putting a hard drive in the freezer works for some - long enough to get data off. I wouldn't do that unless I was sure that there is no other way to resurrect the drive. :)

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