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Hard Drive Noises (Seagate)

Posted on 2004-04-09
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Last Modified: 2010-04-03
For as long as I've had this PC (over a year), the main hard drive has made this intermittent scratching noise.  It is some sort of Seagate 80GB (or 75GB, that's all it sees).  Originally, I thought nothing of it, and went about my business.  Then a month or so ago, I heard this horrible clicking, and the PC was locked up.  Naturally, I hit the power switch in the back quickly, and everything was fine after that.  There wasn't really enough time to tell if it was the HD or something else (like a fan) that had caused the situation, but for some reason I thought it was the HD.  Now, either in truth or through paranoia, it seems that the scratching is more and more frequent.  I've never noticed any data errors or other poor performance from the HD, but now that the paranoia is stuck in my head, the sound is really annoying.  Here is a recording of it, although my mic isn't of great quality, so it's a bit hard to hear.  The sound occurs three times during the recording.

http://astro.temple.edu/~ewoo/sound.wav

It is never faster than once every one or two seconds, and sometimes it doesn't happen at all.  However, it doesn't seem to correlate to any reading or writing.  Fortunately, I have pretty much everything on it backed up, and a 160GB HD sitting unopened on a shelf, so if it does die, I should be back up fairly quickly, but I don't want to go swapping it until I have to.
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Question by:darthwoo
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philby11 earned 250 total points
ID: 10795282
Hi darthwoo,
this certainly sounds like a defective drive.
one day when you hear that clicking sound that will be it, so it is good to hear that you have backups.
If you want you can get the free diagnostic tools for your drive from here
http://www.seagate.com/support/disc/utils.html
But as this is not a platten surface problem but a physical one with the drive I would suggest anticipating the failure of the  current drive as inevitable & get on with installing the new one now, so that your backups are still current.
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by:darthwoo
ID: 10795727
Yeah, that's what I was afraid of.  I guess I was just hoping to hear someone say it's a nice normal noise.  I noticed that it mostly does it when the drive is more or less idle.  For example, if I run virus scan, burn a disc from data on the drive, or defrag, it won't make the scratchy noise for the whole time it is using the drive, but will start after it's done.  

The replacement drive I have is a Maxtor, which I had had good experience with in the past, but I've been hearing all sorts of bad stories about them lately, and it worries me.  Swapping out the drives will be a pain in itself, as well as the subsequent reinstallation of everything.

I'll leave this open for a while longer in case anyone has anything to add.
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by:philby11
ID: 10795757
Hi again,
you could try to do a ghost clone from one drive to the other while the old drive is still working.
This would save you all the reinstallation
Its true that Maxtor had a bad run on quality control for a while there, something to do with a tech on the line with a skin disorder or so I was told .uughhhhh...........yuk. from my experience it was only related to the 40gb & 80gb drives.
The drive may work for years to come yet but do you want to risk it ? You can always use the drive a storage for non essenitial stuff.

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