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  • Hard drive noise

    My hd has taken to volunteering some odd noises. Without warning, and with no discernable connection to whatever software is running at the time, it will issue an extremely loud syncopated 10-beat rhythm, repeating 5 times or so.

    This is quite loud, and scared the daylights out of me the first time I heard it. Only once (so far) has it actually caused damage, occuring while I was saving a Photoshop file (which was useless after that). I ran chkdsk and came up with 6 corrupted files.

    Tech help at Gateway (my manufacturer) assures me it is not a sign of impending hd doom, but rather a signal that I need to buy more memory (from them).

    I've found the only thing that will interupt it is right-clicking on the taskbar. No idea why this works, but it does.

    This happens several times daily, now. But new as of last week or so, and I've not installed anything new during that period. I'm using Windows2000.

    Any ideas on what might be causing this?
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  • #2
    Re: Hard drive noise

    Originally posted by Doug Nelson


    Tech help at Gateway (my manufacturer) assures me it is not a sign of impending hd doom, but rather a signal that I need to buy more memory (from them).

    That's the funniest thing I have read all week!

    I have no idea what might be causing it...but I would be frantically making backups if I were you. Strange noises are one thing...but strange noises that are causing corrupted files, does not sounds good at all.

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    • #3
      (1) Have you run any disc diagnostic software? I would suggest trying that and paying particular attention to any reports of bad sectors. If you find the software identifying bad sectors, replace the hard drive. While all drives have bad sectors these are marked and blocked out with the low level format done at the factory. If yours begins developing new ones, as in, since you first started using it, that is a sign that failure is on the radar screen.
      (2) Usually audible error code beeps occur when the BIOS fires up and POST runs....noises after the post completes are usually indicative of impending hardware failure, especially those coming from HDD....(the syncopated beat may be the SMART technology ( if the HDD and MoBo support it and it is activated) informing you that there is a HDD problem, but many proprietary systems inculde some rather strange features...memory problems usually just crash programs and cause lock ups and cryptic error messages or your computer will lock up during POST and beep at you in a code comprised of long and short tones, sort of like Morse Code, however, the proprietary systems dont always follow "the rules"....
      (3) Might be a good idea to get a new drive and "clone" your "musical" drive to it, partitions and all...a program called "Partition Magic" can be aquired reasonably and will do this...very painlessly.....Just some thoughts....good luck, Tom
      Last edited by thomasgeorge; 06-21-2002, 10:33 PM.

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      • #4
        I make daily backups, have for some time.

        I've run Norton and Window's own hd diagnostic...aside from the initial bad clusters I mentioned, all reports well.

        These aren't beeps, rather short, sharp grinding noises, like a split second mega-access of the hd (I say "like", because obviously I have no idea what's really going on).

        The fact that it stops when I rightclick on the taskbar means it is something system-related (it's listening). The fact that opening and closing programs and anything else I can think of don't affect it says to me that it's not some sort of program access loop.

        Btw, I've also run virus detection and every other detection type I can think of.

        I reinstalled Windows, but not a clean re-install. I'll do that as a total last resort. Win2K is supposed to be real good at protecting system files, and I rarely run in admin mode so that goes doubly.
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        • #5
          "Grinding" type noises could indicate impending bearing failure of the HDD motor...the write errors would occur because of the erratic movement of the platters during these episodes. The head assembly could also be on the verge of failure as well, which would fit with your description...bottom line is that when the HDD is making noise and write or read errors are occuring, its time to replace it before you get a head crash...or the motor freezes and burns out.....Good luck, Tom

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          • #6
            Buying new memory to fix hard drive noises…that’s classic! Sounds like something a computer company would have their techs suggest.

            Doug,
            With everything I’ve read on the web, it looks like you are fast approaching hard drive failure. I think most of the sites suggested backing up like mad and getting out your credit card.

            From TechTV:
            “Don't ignore warning signs. If your hard drive emits unusual noises (clicking, grinding or metal scraping), turn it off immediately. This symptom typically indicates a head crash that can destroy your data. Hard drives spin fast, at 7,200 to 15,000 revolutions per minute. Extensive damage can occur quickly.”

            Of course as I write this I keep eyeing my computer, praying it will hold out a bit longer.

            -T

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            • #7
              My only other thought is have you checked your fans lately? Every time my PC has started to make loud scary noises it has been due to fan problems or failures. Your particular case sounds more like your hard drive, but maybe you'll get lucky and it will be your fan.

              -T

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              • #8
                Yeah, but if it's the fan, he is going to need at least 256 megabytes more of memory...from Gateway of course!

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                • #9
                  Very true Greg...I forgot to factor that in!



                  -T

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                  • #10
                    What make are the drives or are they Gateways own label ?

                    I run IBM drives and on one specific program one of these goes into a routine not unlike Fred Astaires tap routine in the film 'Top Hat' Its been doing this for five years so I assume its a bonus feature.

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                    • #11
                      Agreed - as we speak I am sitting with my computer case off and a permanent room fan cooling the beast within - my hd makes so many disconcerting noises that if I were to pay any attention to them I would be forever in PC clinic.

                      My advice is don't worry until something happens and maybe a copy of norton ghost if you are nervous

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                      • #12
                        Chris: It is an IBM drive. With rhythm.

                        Tom: That "S.M.A.R.T." was a good tip. Norton has a monitor for it, and I'm running it now...we'll see.
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                        • #13
                          The key here is not just noise...its noise AND data loss. All drives make some degree of noise...some more than others, but a noise that is new, totally random and accompanied by data loss is not normal, period. At the very least there is an intermittent malfunction with data write/read functions, which is a red flag...If you have a second drive with enough space on it, you might consider "cloning" the O/S to it from the suspicious drive and simply making the "clone" partition inactive...if your HDD does crash, you can access the second drive, make the "cloned" partition active and have lost NO data, programs and so on...just a suggestion...Tom
                          Last edited by thomasgeorge; 06-22-2002, 04:24 PM.

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                          • #14
                            In case anyone is following my little soap opera, I went to the IBM website (they make my hd) and downloaded their S.M.A.R.T. diagnostic and monitoring software (free, but if you get one, get it from your specific hd manufacturer). Norton's didn't work.

                            Anyway, I ran the extended test (over an hour) and it came back with "errors reported, backup immediately, failure is possible at any time, contact your vendor for a replacement drive".

                            So I contacted Gateway and they're sending out another drive. In spite of the memory incident I really do like Gateway and would heartily recommend them to any pc purchaser.

                            It should get here thursday, already loaded with my OS, and I'll be able to install my existing drive as a slave and copy all my data over (then securely wipe it before I send it back).
                            Learn by teaching
                            Take responsibility for learning

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                            • #15
                              Doug have you got the link for the IBM diagnostic ware ?

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