I came across this board through Google and since then I spent hours reading some interesting material found on here. I'd like to thank you for providing us readers such useful information.
Now my problem. I bought a new 1TB external HD drive from Western Digital ("My Book Essential"), just a few days ago. I've formatted it, and was going to start backing my data up on it, something like 100 GB at the first shot. Suddenly, while copying, the drive started making irregular vibrations. It wasn't a constant vibration, kind of unsteady, and didn't come along with any additional noise. I noticed these vibrations while listening to music via headphones, while having the data being copied. It was strong enough, that I felt it through my table. It doubtlessly was an irregular one for this kind of components. I'd like to note it didn't move at all while making the vibrations, and it wasn't cellphone-like.
Is this a common occurence or a rare phenomenon ?
I pretty much have no idea what I should do with the drive... Whether to continue working with it (I'm in need of making a back-up of my data) or bring it back to the shop. I just re-formatted it since then (full format again, no vibrations though).
Any help will be much appreciated. Thank you for reading.
Is it a vibrating or more of a clicking/grinding type sound? I have a WD, Maxtor One Touch and a fairly old Seagate 160GB external drive. The only one I've had any similar problems with was the Seagate which is at least 4 or 5 years old. It started making some grinding noises - at first it was fairly subtle, but as time went on it got so back that I had to turn off the drive when I went to sleep otherwise I'd hear it. Then, trying to get the drive to connect to read data was like a 1 in 10 shot. Finally got it all off the drive as it's about to die any day.
If you bought it from somewhere like Best Buy, CompUSA, etc (or somewhere were you can exchange without paying a restocking fee) - I'd just bring it back and exchange it just in case. Otherwise, some other members of this board may have some other ideas.
It's normal for an active drive to have some feeling of movement because the head actuator will be seeking back and forth. Your heads will likely be very busy if you're copying files from one place to another on the drive while doing even more with it (listening to music) at the same time.
If you're feeling this only while the drive is active then I'd tend to guess that's all it is. But without a pretty good idea of how strong it is it's pretty hard to be sure.
Trying it out once again right now. It actually sounds like very little and hardly hearable internal knocks which aren't generated in a certain ratio. I noticed these knocks also occur when doing any basic action with the drive's data - selecting, refreshing, etc.
I don't have any technical experience that is related to this area, but it by all means, sounds (and feels) strange. With common sense all I can say is that if it were making these vibration whenever it was writing, then I'm good with it. But since it happens randomly, my impression is that it's defective.
Please add any thoughts or opinions. I'm not sure they (in the shop) would be ready to take it back and replace it (I'd then go for a Seagate one like another I have).
Does the drive have an activity light, and do the knocks usually occur when the light is flashing?
There may be occasional head movement even when the activity light doesn't flash because every once in a while the drive will seek to various cylinders to do thermal recalibration. But if it's head movement you're experiencing then the knocks should usually occur when the activity light is flashing.
@sminlal - I suppose it isn't a head momevent since is occurs unexpectedly (I'm not a pro on how HD drives operate inside, so maybe I'm wrong here).
Either way, I returned to the shop with the product, and all they initially offered was a simple test on a supposedly WD official software, running 'QUICK TEST', which generated 2 results - 'SMART status' and 'Test Result' both stated 'pass'. When I insisted there might be something wrong with the mechanism of it, they sent it to their laboratory which confirmed it is normal. I think this whole story did more hard than good. But I still think it's worth the try, and maybe it actually is normal.
So, the problem is somewhat solved. I guess there isn't much can be done further.