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AcidDevil

join:2002-07-02
7th Layer

[Help] Clicking sound...Possibly from Hard Drive?

Hi,

I'm begining to hear a "click" sound coming from my PC....I'd say it happens every 20 mins or so...It definitely sounds like one of my drives clicking and then winding up again. I'm assuming its the sound of a Hard Drive about to fail. The only thing I can say is that I was in the middle of doing a Windows Update last night and I lost power for a millisecond, and the PC shut down abruptly. I've lost power before and had that happen (very seldom) but luckily, no damage to any hardware....I think I may have run out of luck this time

In your experience, does what I explained sound like a Drive failing?....or could that be something else I'm hearing?.....and if so is there some software out there that I could run to check/test the health of my drives? (Since I have about 6 drives in my system unplugging each one by one to find the culprit would be tedious)

If it comes down to it, I dont mind purchasing a replacement drive....I'd just like to find out which of my drives is making that "click" sound before it completely fails and can't recover files from it...Plus its driving me crazy....and it makes me feel like I'm in a game of Russian Roulette......"Click...beads of sweat....click....beads of sweat" lol

Thanks in advance
--
"Give the mouse a cookie...and the motherfucker will want a glass of milk too..."


La Luna
RIP Lisa
Premium
join:2001-07-12
Warwick, NY
kudos:3

1 recommendation

The clicking *could* definately be coming from the harddrive. I would backup my data immediately off that harddrive.

You might want to post this here for help:

»Computer Hardware Help
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The Alien in the White House

19,694 DEADLY TERROR ATTACKS SINCE 9/11


lilhurricane
Crunchin' For Cures
Numquam oblita
join:2003-01-11
Purple Zone
kudos:57
said by La Luna:

You might want to post this here for help:

»Computer Hardware Help

Agree..better in Hardware.

However....we'll send it there rather than have him make a duplicate thread...

Hang on AD...we're moving to a more appropriate forum.
--
~Safe Hex~ Team Discovery ~ Project Hope ~ Like A Hurricane~


mmainprize

join:2001-12-06
Houghton Lake, MI
Reviews:
·Charter

1 edit

1 recommendation

reply to AcidDevil
To find the bad drive you can open the case and using a screw driver place the tip up to one of the drives (some where it will not short out the electricity) and put the handle to your ear. You should be able to hear which drive is going bad it will be making much more noise then the other.

If it drive is clicking and then spinning back up it could be a few things. Either the disk speed control is failing maybe because of failing/over heating bearing and once it over/under RPM's it drop out of control and the heads pull back and make the click noise. Or the heads are having trouble reading the positioning info (tracks) and are running off the edge of the disk making the click noise and the drive stop spinning for a moment to try and protect it self.

»www.youtube.com/watch?v= ··· 8vfs1wYY


Here is some more info on clicking drives
»harddriveclicking.net/


AcidDevil

join:2002-07-02
7th Layer
reply to lilhurricane
said by lilhurricane:

said by La Luna:

You might want to post this here for help:

»Computer Hardware Help

Agree..better in Hardware.

However....we'll send it there rather than have him make a duplicate thread...

Hang on AD...we're moving to a more appropriate forum.

Thank you lilhurricane
--
"Give the mouse a cookie...and the motherfucker will want a glass of milk too..."


AcidDevil

join:2002-07-02
7th Layer
reply to mmainprize
said by mmainprize:

To find the bad drive you can open the case and using a screw driver place the tip up to one of the drives (some where it will not short out the electricity) and put the handle to your ear. You should be able to hear which drive is going bad it will be making much more noise then the other.

If it drive is clicking and then spinning back up it could be a few things. Either the disk speed control is failing maybe because of failing/over heating bearing and once it over/under RPM's it drop out of control and the heads pull back and make the click noise. Or the heads are having trouble reading the positioning info (tracks) and are running off the edge of the disk making the click noise and the drive stop spinning for a moment to try and protect it self.

Thank You mmainprize.....I'm going to try this and watch the link you posted as well...

Thanks!
--
"Give the mouse a cookie...and the motherfucker will want a glass of milk too..."


AcidDevil

join:2002-07-02
7th Layer
reply to AcidDevil
Wow...after watching the YouTube video....I'm completely paranoid....Is putting a screwdriver the only method in checking which drive is the failing one?....My PC guts are a pain to get into to try the screwdriver method.

Thanks
--
"Give the mouse a cookie...and the motherfucker will want a glass of milk too..."


chachazz
Premium
join:2003-12-14
kudos:10
Reviews:
·TELUS
reply to AcidDevil
Raxco PerfectDisk Professional 11 Free
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Gladiator Security Forum: www.gladiator-antivirus.com/


AcidDevil

join:2002-07-02
7th Layer

1 recommendation

Thanks, I'll check that out
--
"Give the mouse a cookie...and the motherfucker will want a glass of milk too..."


koitsu
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-16
Mountain View, CA
kudos:23
reply to AcidDevil
Can you please install HD Tune Pro (trial version is fine; do not use the free version) and provide screenshots of the Health tab for each hard disk in your computer?

There are presently many models of hard disks which will make this "clicking" noise under normal operation. I can explain it in further detail if needed, but let's start with the above.

As far as "could it be something else" -- absolutely. It could be any number of fans in your system (CPU fan, case fans, GPU fans), or it could be something like your system heating up or cooling down causing the underlying metal and/or plastic to "click" briefly. And on some PSUs there is sometimes power-related circuitry that can make a clicking noise (I believe it's some kind of encapsulated mechanical switch inside of some component; not sure what).

Thank you.
--
Making life hard for others since 1977.
I speak for myself and not my employer/affiliates of my employer.


AcidDevil

join:2002-07-02
7th Layer
OK Koitsu,

I've installed HD Tune Pro....Which tests did you want me to run and what screen captures did you need from me?

Thanks.
--
"Give the mouse a cookie...and the motherfucker will want a glass of milk too..."


koitsu
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-16
Mountain View, CA
kudos:23
It's in my post, first line. You do not need to run any tests.


AcidDevil

join:2002-07-02
7th Layer
Click for full size
Hard Drive 1
Click for full size
Hard Drive 2
Click for full size
Hard Drive 3
Click for full size
Hard Drive 4
Here are the screenshots of each Hard Drive's health:

I see some warnings......what could you tell me?
--
"Give the mouse a cookie...and the motherfucker will want a glass of milk too..."


AcidDevil

join:2002-07-02
7th Layer
Click for full size
Hard Drive 5
Click for full size
Hard Drive 6
Here are the other 2 Drives


koitsu
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-16
Mountain View, CA
kudos:23
reply to AcidDevil
Hard drive 1 -- WD1001FALS -- looks fine
Hard drive 2 -- WD3000AAKS -- looks fine; 1 CRC error in 17,000 power-on hours is nothing to worry about
Hard drive 3 -- WD3200KS -- looks fine
Hard drive 4 -- ST3120814A -- looks fine
Hard drive 5 -- WD1600JB -- looks fine
Hard drive 6 -- WD1200BB -- looks fine; 1 reallocated LBA in over 33,000 power-on hours

Because you have SIX hard disks in one computer, figuring out which drive is responsible (if it even is a drive) for the noise is very difficult. You should really consolidate.

None of these models of disks are known for excessively parking their heads, so you can rule that out.

Given that many of these drives have extremely high power-on hour counts, it really could be any of them. Drives become more and more error-prone (especially the actuator arms and the underlying magnetic method of moving them) as their lifetime goes onward.

I would start by removing the drives with very high power-on hour counts from the system. Depending on how often the noise is heard, it may take you a couple days before you can confirm which drive it is (again, if it even is a drive).

The described "screwdriver trick" is generally silly (FYI, all this does is turn the screwdriver into an amplifier). "One drive sounding louder than the other" is not going to indicate anything anomalous; for example drives with 3 platters are going to sound louder than those with 2. So this is silly/nonsense.

If you can hear the noise with your system/chassis case closed, then you should be able to determine easily, over time by removing one drive from the system at a time, which drive it is -- again, assuming it even is a hard disk.

An alternate method would be, quite simple: replace all the drives with large power-on hour counts (e.g. the oldest drives) with brand new drives.

Assuming it is a drive, if I had to take a wild/crazy guess at which drive it is? I would start with removing hard drive 6 from the picture. It has indications of reallocated sectors during its 33,000+ hour lifetime, and it's also the heaviest-used drive of the bunch. Second guess would be hard drive 5.
--
Making life hard for others since 1977.
I speak for myself and not my employer/affiliates of my employer.


AcidDevil

join:2002-07-02
7th Layer
Thanks so much for all the info kiotsu.....I'm planning on replacing some of these drive as some are IDE and others are SATA...I would like to have them SATA across the board...plus a couple of them (most likely Drive 5 & 6 are getting a little long in the tooth) .

I just wish I had a portable hard drive duplicator handy to make this process easier.....would you recommend any particular brand?......it would have to be able to handle IDE & SATA drives

Thanks
--
"Give the mouse a cookie...and the motherfucker will want a glass of milk too..."


koitsu
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-16
Mountain View, CA
kudos:23
Hardware disk duplicators tend to be very expensive (hundreds to thousands of USD).

Multi-device adapters (i.e. a device which can be hooked up to your PC that supports both PATA and SATA disks) tend to be USB 2.0-based, so transfer speed is not that great (around 30-35MBytes/second). And in either case, sometimes the cabling/wiring used in these adapters tends to be sub-par (inducing CRC errors, etc.). Many of these also use USB-SATA bridges that do not permit SMART passthrough (meaning you can't view the SMART attributes for an attached drive). I will admit I've used these adapters with success in the past (for transferring from a disk to a PC and back), but YMMV.

I don't really have any recommendations otherwise. Try to remember: this is a one-time situation (migrating from PATA to SATA). A little bit of pain only once (dealing with the internals of your case, etc.) isn't that bad. It'd be different if you had to do this every day for a few years, or had a thousand PATA disks.
--
Making life hard for others since 1977.
I speak for myself and not my employer/affiliates of my employer.


mmainprize

join:2001-12-06
Houghton Lake, MI
Reviews:
·Charter
reply to koitsu
said by koitsu:

The described "screwdriver trick" is generally silly (FYI, all this does is turn the screwdriver into an amplifier). "One drive sounding louder than the other" is not going to indicate anything anomalous; for example drives with 3 platters are going to sound louder than those with 2. So this is silly/nonsense.

If you have not tried it you should not call it silly.

You take a long Screw driver and you place the tip touching the drive (usually on the side) and put the other end to your ear.
You can hear every noise that the device makes. All things make common noises and if you have a drive make a funny noise you can tell. You will definitely hear a clicking drive and be able to tell which one of the six it is.
That is what he asked to do, how to tell which drive is clicking.

If you have a drive that has a bad bearing you will definitely hear it using the screw driver and can tell which drive it is.

This is like a doctor putting a stethoscope to your chest.


koitsu
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-16
Mountain View, CA
kudos:23

1 edit
I understand what it does -- like I said, it acts as an amplifier. But like I described, it's silly because 1. you need a frame of reference for it to be useful (meaning you need to know what the drive sounds like "normally"), and 2. every drive sounds different due to platter (thus actuator arm) count and underlying drive mechanics (ex. spindle motor brand) as well as underlying features (ex. NCQ in use or not).

Furthermore, again like I said, the OP can hear the clicking without the use of a screwdriver-as-an-amplifier. It happens occasionally, which means what, he's going to sit with his ear against a screwdriver all day when trying to use the PC? Come on. The noise that is most commonly heard from that distance, which is occasional as well, is the sound of the actuator arm hitting the plastic or metal stop inside of the drive (either inward or outward). This is described in the "click of death" video above (though I want to make clear, the "click of death" is not necessarily applicable here -- I'm just using the term loosely).

If the drive had a bad bearing, he would be hearing this noise constantly, not occasionally/intermittently.

All he has to do is take each disk out of the case/chassis (which he'd have to do anyway to apply a screwdriver tip to the metal casing of the drive!), and eventually he'll figure out which one is causing the noise. Troubleshooting 101 without making things overly complicated.

Let's also not forget that there's no actual hard evidence at this point that a hard disk is the cause of the noise (could be any number of the things I listed off in my last paragraph).
--
Making life hard for others since 1977.
I speak for myself and not my employer/affiliates of my employer.