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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Never heard this noise on this 12 TB WD easystore before. Noise just started tonight it seems and I have no idea how to diagnose it. Scanned drive with WD Drive Utilities, GSmartControl and Hard Disk Sentinel and all came back with no errors or failures. Any idea what this noise is? Is it normal?



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Any input is much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 

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There is the off chance that what you are hearing is normal and you've just started noticing it for some reason. However, clicking usually indicates that a drive is nearing its end of life. This can happen even with new drives due to a manufacturing defect, damage caused by physical jarring or environmental conditions, or electronic component failure due to a power surge. Because there have been no unrecoverable read/write errors yet, the SMART data may be OK even when there is an electronic or mechanical problem.

It's time to back up all of your important data and get a new drive. The easiest way to migrate to the new drive is to just clone the old one. However, with a failing drive you can never know whether or not it may crash in the middle of a cloning operation. I'd suggest saving your data to an external drive (if it's really important data, make two backups and verify them against each other), then a clean install of the operating system and applications to a new drive. If your old drive is still under warranty you might see about getting a replacement but the drive company isn't going to save your data for you so you will need to backup it anyway.

According to a now-deleted WD web link:

Issue: A Western Digital hard drive makes a repeated clicking noise.
Cause: There can be several reasons why a WD drive may be making a clicking noise:
  • The drive is not getting enough power to fully spin up
  • The drive has failed
  • Occasional clicks during data access
  • Hard clicks during a head park operation (shutdown or sleep mode)
  • The data cable is faulty, or incompatible
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
There is the off chance that what you are hearing is normal and you've just started noticing it for some reason. However, clicking usually indicates that a drive is nearing its end of life. This can happen even with new drives due to a manufacturing defect, damage caused by physical jarring or environmental conditions, or electronic component failure due to a power surge. Because there have been no unrecoverable read/write errors yet, the SMART data may be OK even when there is an electronic or mechanical problem.

It's time to back up all of your important data and get a new drive. The easiest way to migrate to the new drive is to just clone the old one. However, with a failing drive you can never know whether or not it may crash in the middle of a cloning operation. I'd suggest saving your data to an external drive (if it's really important data, make two backups and verify them against each other), then a clean install of the operating system and applications to a new drive. If your old drive is still under warranty you might see about getting a replacement but the drive company isn't going to save your data for you so you will need to backup it anyway.

According to a now-deleted WD web link:

Issue: A Western Digital hard drive makes a repeated clicking noise.
Cause: There can be several reasons why a WD drive may be making a clicking noise:
  • The drive is not getting enough power to fully spin up
  • The drive has failed
  • Occasional clicks during data access
  • Hard clicks during a head park operation (shutdown or sleep mode)
  • The data cable is faulty, or incompatible
Here are the Smart attributes and statistics, what do you think?
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I just noticed your recording. I ran a SMART test on my WD drive and it sounded pretty much like yours did in the recording. Does it make the noise all of the time or just when the drive is being scanned?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I just noticed your recording. I ran a SMART test on my WD drive and it sounded pretty much like yours did in the recording. Does it make the noise all of the time or just when the drive is being scanned?
Pretty much all the time. It doesnt do it when I first power it up but as soon as I use a file on it it starts doing it and continues doing it whenever the drive is idle but not sleeping. It also doesn't do it while I'm playing a video file on the drive.
 

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Pretty much all the time.
WDD drives are traditionally a bit noisy. I usually get used to it and only notice when I put the old drive in a new system with quieter fans.

Your SMART data shows no failures but you have 11,749 hours on your drive too so it's well used. A large data storage company found that half of their hard disk drives could be expected to fail within six years and nine months. This data was obtained by observing failure rates for 200,000 drives.


If my drive was out of warranty and I relied heavily on it then I'd consider replacing it. Personally, I went to SSDs several years ago for most of my needs and only use my HDD (a WD Black edition) for storing family pictures and videos that I want to have available for retouching or looking at from time to time. It's out of warranty itself but it sits idle 95% of the time.
 

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Your SMART report says that the drive is in Pre-Fail state. In other words, backup all your personal files ASAP and replace the drive in the very near future, get an SSD.
1: Type command prompt in the search box. As it appears in the page, right click it and then choose the Run as administrator option.
2: After typing the wmic diskdrive get status command in the pop-up page, press the Enter key. After that, you will see the status of your drive.
 

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I always liked the SMART analysis you get from SpeedFan, it it great for clarity. Here's a typical report. This happens to be an SSD, so it may not have as many attributes as some drives.

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I always liked the SMART analysis you get from SpeedFan
Where many get confused in reading SMART values is that we usually tend to think of a threshold as something that's bad if it's exceeded. However, whomever designed SMART (probably a bunch of engineers) made it just the opposite.

With SMART it's bad if you go below a threshold, not above it. Think of the normalized and threshold values as "goods left." Therefore, if your normalized value for, say relocated sectors, is 100 and the threshold is 5 this means you are well within the acceptable range as you have 95 goods to use up before you reach the threshold. It's only when you only have 5 goods left that you are considered to be in trouble.

I can easily visualize this by just thinking of the SMART values as air left in my scuba tank. When my scuba tank is full, I have 2,500 psi of air in it. I give myself a safety threshold of 500 psi so I'll never run completely out of air. When my tank reads 500 psi, I want to be on the surface and breathing like a normal mammal is supposed to. If my tank's pressure reading is below the threshold of 500 psi and I'm not yet on the surface then something has gone wrong.

You can also envision this as air left in a car tire, which I now realize would have been a better analogy.

RAW values can help in assessing SMART values too. When you see the normalized SMART value for temperature at 185 you might go running for the fire extinguisher, until you notice the RAW data reads 35 degrees Celsius with a min/max of 21/60.

SMART reports can give you an indication of the health of your hard drive but don't completely rely on them. Any electro-mechanical device can be perfectly fine one minute and fail catastrophically the next, and the odds of failure increase with age. This is why I recommend retiring a mechanical drive from mission-critical applications once it's reached the end of its warranty period. The end of the warranty period is usually when the manufacturer expects its drives to start failing.

This data collected for 200,000 HDDs shows why most manufacturers pick five years as a warranty period.
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Where many get confused in reading SMART values is that we usually tend to think of a threshold as something that's bad if it's exceeded. However, whomever designed SMART (probably a bunch of engineers) made it just the opposite.

With SMART it's bad if you go below a threshold, not above it.
That's exactly why I like the plain English description of the results, doesn't leave you wondering.
 
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