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Is this hard drive about to die?

mij

Valued Donating Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2009
Location
East Sussex
PC Experience
Some Experience
The hard drive on this computer is making a whistling sound. More like the wind over a chimney top than a man whistling. I suppose I could change it as I have a new one here somewhere. IIRC it only has 80GB but I'd not use all that anyway (max 75GB). This one has something rediculous like about 950GB. The noise or whistle increases in pitch when I give the computer some work to do. Like locate a site.
Is this a sign that the hard drive is on it's last revs?
I am forgetting I also have an external hard drive to assist in the diagnosis in the same drawer IIRC.
jim
 

KenB

Administrator
Joined
Oct 19, 2008
Location
Wirral UK
Hi Jim
Without being able to hear it - it is difficult to diagnose :)

The whistle could be due to the motor bearings being slightly dry.
This is the most probable cause.

I would be inclined to back up anything that you can't afford to lose - just in case.

A dying hard-drive usually "clicks" - this is a totally different diagnosis.

If you can put up with the whistle I would be inclined to leave it for a while.
It could, over time, sort itself out.
If it gets worse - then time to replace it.
 

mij

Valued Donating Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2009
Location
East Sussex
PC Experience
Some Experience
Hi KenB, thanks for the reply. I really am more disturbed by a young chick outside my window that chirps constantly all day long and way into the twilight hours. It was SWMBO that brought the noisy HD to my attention. Of course now all I hear is the HD drive :).

Yes I have saved all the files and shortcuts to a 64GB USB stick and doubled it up by saving the same to the Samsung external USB hard drive (500GB). So I now have two copies of them all.

Ok, leave the disk in if/until the noise gets worse.
jim
 

KenB

Administrator
Joined
Oct 19, 2008
Location
Wirral UK
Hi Jim

Yep - hopefully it will sort itself out .........

Don't forget to keep the files etc. backed up.

You may want to consider cloning the drive using a tutorial written by Nev.
You would need a hard-drive at least as big as the one in the machine at the moment.
 

Plastic Nev

Deceased - sadly missed
Joined
Oct 19, 2008
Location
Lancashire
Just seen this, it is always a good idea to have some form of backup in any case, a clone on to a spare hard drive of the same size or bigger is one of the best, and easy to maintain as well. have a look at my tutorial for creating a clone on a spare drive and see if you think it is worth while.
Here is the link to the tutorial :-

making a clone
 

RandyL

Administrator
Joined
Jan 22, 2003
Location
USA, Nebraska
PC Experience
Very Experienced
Hi Jim;
Are you sure it's the drive making the noise? I've heard dirty or failing cooling fans make strange noises such as a whirring, screeching or whistling type of sound.

I had one desktop brand where the fan was fine but ran fast at boot up which created noise.

Laptop fans can run faster under a load but throttle down when idle to conserve battery power.

So I was just wondering if it was a possible fan issue versus a drive issue.
 

mij

Valued Donating Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2009
Location
East Sussex
PC Experience
Some Experience
Hi Jim;
Are you sure it's the drive making the noise?
Now that you mention it - I am unsure.
I've heard dirty or failing cooling fans make strange noises such as a whirring, screeching or whistling type of sound.
If the fan is under a digital controller then yes it could be varying in speed and noise. For a short time I suppose I could disconnect it? If no noise ensues switch off and get a new fan.
Does that sound ok?
jim
 

Plastic Nev

Deceased - sadly missed
Joined
Oct 19, 2008
Location
Lancashire
If it is the CPU main fan, a disconnection will have to be very short timed as the CPU will quickly heat up without it Jim, however, if the whistling sound stops in that brief period, then it will show it is the fan.
So long as you are quick to reconnect it while the computer is running, there should be no harm done.

Nev.
 

mij

Valued Donating Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2009
Location
East Sussex
PC Experience
Some Experience
however, if the whistling sound stops in that brief period, then it will show it is the fan.
So long as you are quick to reconnect it while the computer is running, there should be no harm done.
Nev.
Ok, I'll be quick. Yes I do understand that cooling of the CPU is essential for its health :D.
jim
 

mij

Valued Donating Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2009
Location
East Sussex
PC Experience
Some Experience
I have got speccy in my toolbox at this end. The whistling pitch is inline with the temp recorded of the CPU. That is the higher the temperature of CPU, the higher the pitch of the whistling. If I didn't know better I'd blame that on choked cooling fins. In other words something is making it very temperature sensitive.
Perhaps some light cleaning is due.
jim
 

mij

Valued Donating Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2009
Location
East Sussex
PC Experience
Some Experience
A little more progress. I'd forgotten that I got a can of 'Fellowes Air Duster' here, the ideal thing to blow out fins. So I lifted the lid and used that on the CPU where the fins were all clogged up with dust. I did the case fan and the PSU fan as well. They were not as clogged.
The thing still whistles a bit but nowhere near as much. Also the CPU temperature is more stable. I will search for a fan online and will get a replacement.
Thanks folks.
jim.
 
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