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Unusual hard drive sound when sitting idle (just in BIOS settings for example)

Hi,

I have a hard drive I am looking at because the owner said that the machine is making odd noises from inside. I observed that the drive is making more seek/read noise that would be normal for Windows 7 so I ran some more thorough tests. The drive is an Hitachi 1Tb desktop unit HDS721010CLA332



I then went into the BIOS setup to enable USB boot for Hiren and noticed that the drive was making a repetitive ch ch ch ch cha cha cha cha <silence for 3 seconds> ch ch ch ch cha cha cha cha and so on ad-infinitum ......

Hmmm I thought. Not sure about this so I thought I'd check with the folks over at Tom's to see what they thought. I have made a recording of the noise which can be found here : Is this the sound of HDD Death??

Does everyone concur that this is the sound of the heads seeking, probably finding some bad sectors or something like that?

I am going to advice the owner to change the hard drive as a precaution but I don't want to put him to that expense without some other opinions.


Anyone care to listen and give their view?

thanks
Paul
10 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about unusual hard drive sound sitting idle bios settings
  1. Are you sure its not a fan out of balance? While it could be the hard drive if you have multiple fans in the case try unplugging one after another and see if its not just that.
  2. Best answer
    If absolutely sure the sound IS only from the HDD, the only other thing I would question is: The harddrive mounted Sideways? What I mean is, normally a HDD lays flat to the bottom of the case, some designs put it to side 'sideway' and lays flat to the SIDE of the case. This causes more gravity force on the head as it moves 'up' and 'down' over the platter then forward back. and would be more wear and tear.

    Personally I would call it a bad HDD in any case and look to imminent loss of data if not replaced asap.
  3. Some drives perform a Background Media Scan (BGMS) during idel periods.
  4. Some drives perform a Background Media Scan (BGMS) during idle periods.
  5. Fzabkar: That would be true in SAS, SCSI and other BIG systems (servers in RAID, NAS, etc.). The OP is proposing this as Old Man Phillips says his PC isn't working in his trailer park home and OP comes to visit and see this problem; NET ISSUE is CONSUMER not some major Corp issue (scale difference here).
  6. Thanks all. Its def not a media scan as it is making this noise when in BIOS setup (this is why I specifically mentioned that. The drive is horizontal too so my conclusion is that the drive is on the way out. Checked it again today and Windows tells me there is a corruption in the NTFS too.

    I'm going to copy the data off and migrate asap.

    Cheers
    Paul
  7. Seagate's "consumer" drives also perform automatic, self-initiated media scans. These are internal operations, not scans initiated over the SATA interface by the host controller. Therefore it is quite possible that the drive is doing this during a BIOS setup.

    See http://malthus.zapto.org/viewtopic.php?f=83&t=557
  8. fzabkar said:
    Seagate's "consumer" drives also perform automatic, self-initiated media scans. These are internal operations, not scans initiated over the SATA interface by the host controller. Therefore it is quite possible that the drive is doing this during a BIOS setup.

    See http://malthus.zapto.org/viewtopic.php?f=83&t=557


    You sir, EPIC FAIL!
    OP second sentence "The drive is an Hitachi 1Tb desktop unit HDS721010CLA332"

    Trying to prove your right by referencing something NOT related to the OP still does NOT prove your assertion correct. IF you demonstrated THAT model Hitachi was now implemented the same thing as Segate, which by YOUR OWN POST on that link was specifically previously ONLY for SCSI / SAS drives. Again, please don't make RANDOM assumption posts - Provide CLEAR PRECISE answers for OPs. This is not a 'toss stuff on wall' forum, OPs are asking for precise real implemented answers.
  9. Background Media Scans are part of the ATA standard. They are not vendor specific features. Whether or not Hitachi drives do this, I don't know, but it is a possible explanation for the activity that the OP is hearing.

    Edit: "BMS (Background Media Scan) is defined in the T10 document SPC-4
    available from the T10 committee." I don't know whether it is, or will be, included in the ATA standard. However, the BMS feature is embraced by both WD and Hitachi in their SCSI models.

    ftp://www.t10.org/t10/document.07/07-271r1.pdf (WD, SCSI)
    http://www.hgst.com/tech/techlib.nsf/techdocs/015F8282BE1918A588257B0000275F7D/$file/US10K1200_OEMSpec_v1.01.pdf (Hitachi, SCSI)
  10. fzabkar - you are not right in this case. I today replaced the drive and all is well. The drive was failing and this was backed up by some errors in the event log about NTFS being corrupted.

    SMART is obviously not that SMART after all! SMART was telling me the drive was good but the evidence proved otherwise.

    No more errors with the new drive and the machine is now running normally rather than the antivirus going wild (presumably multiple failed reads on some obscure files). The minute I put the new drive in the AVG antivirus settled down and the disk stopped thrashing in the W7 OS.

    Best not to get too hung up on the thoery sometimes and just go with what experience and observation tells you.

    Also - listen again to the sound it was making - it was more a read - fail - read - fail type of repetitive sound. I assume if it were a media scan it would be a different rhythm (a little like a low level surface scan in seagate tools or perhaps a more random / white noise sound like a defrag makes).

    :-)
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