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Should my hard drive(s) be making these noises?

Last response: in Storage
March 7, 2012 12:38:39 PM

One or two of my hard drives are making loud noises.

Not sure how long this has been happening as I have always found my PC to be pretty noisy.

But I have been some what concerned about the noise and as a precaution of backing up my video/music/etc files just in case.

Here is a video. You might need to turn up your speakers to hear it. It does sound more like a clicking sound on the video then in person.

Not sure if it's just one or both.

They are both 500g

a c 311 G Storage
March 7, 2012 12:44:30 PM

Hard drives should be pretty quiet. There is a slight "clicking" associated with seeking. I can't tell from a recording.

That said, you should ALWAYS have backups. Then, a failed drive is simply a nuisance.
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a c 311 G Storage
March 7, 2012 1:40:08 PM

I agree; that sounds like unceasing seek activity. One simple test: Boot the PC into BIOS. If the drives do not make the noise, then something that's running is doing massive disk activities.

Candidates include:
1) Search indexing
2) Antivirus scans
3) Malware

I'm looking for a utility that will show disk activity by process. If you have one, you could see which process is doing so much activity. Do you know of such a utility?
a c 311 G Storage
March 7, 2012 4:52:49 PM

Try it and let us know.
a c 311 G Storage
March 8, 2012 11:59:35 AM

I don't see Disk IO rates there. You need something that will show which process is doing all the disk IO, and I don't have a candidate utility.

Anybody else here have an idea? This isn't a private thread, you know.

EDIT : two utilities are mentioned here
a b G Storage
March 8, 2012 12:24:27 PM

The Windows Resource Monitor will show processes performing disk I/O. You can sort it on one of the activity columns (reads or writes).
a c 311 G Storage
March 8, 2012 7:45:15 PM

OK, I don't understand most of that. Or any of it. Turn off the Search Indexer, just as an experiment. See if that reduces the numbers. The Search Indexer had been one of my original suspects.

Can you sort by Read Bytes / Minute and see if anything is beating up on that more than the Search Indexer is? Or did you already do that and find that the dominant IO is in the Write column?

Maybe someone who understands the NTFS journal better than I do can pitch in here. Why there is so much activity to housekeeping areas is a mystery to me.
March 9, 2012 11:34:39 AM

Turning off the Search Indexer seems to have done trick. It's not making a noise now.

Is it ok to not have the SI on?
a c 311 G Storage
March 9, 2012 11:52:52 AM

That depends. Without it on , you have to be sure to use the old-style Search Assistant for your searches. Search Indexer builds a lovely index of all the files on your system, making searches faster. But when it is installed, your default search uses the index database. If that database is stale, it can't find things.

So you have to use the old-style Search Assistant, which is an option offered in the bottom left of the search pane.

Two options. First, remove the search indexer from the system, and the assistant will now be your default search. Second, tweak the options in Search Indexer to make it less aggressive. I don't know how off the top of my head, but I'll take a look.

Anyone else have runaway indexer problems that they solved?

EDIT: Peek through this, which addresses a couple of possible causes:

Or Google "search indexer high cpu"
March 9, 2012 1:44:47 PM

Enable S.M.A.R.T

and download SpeedFan

Make the quicktest and the extensive test ,
please share the results
a c 311 G Storage
March 9, 2012 1:47:53 PM


?? we have already established that the disks were being thrashed by indexing ??

What suggests to you that there is an issue with the drive? And the clicky sound from drives, that goes away without Indexer, what could that have to do with SpeedFan?
March 10, 2012 10:30:09 PM

notttmdude said:
Turning off the Search Indexer seems to have done trick. It's not making a noise now.

Is it ok to not have the SI on?

Also try Disk Action 2 that monitors what's using your hard drive. It's found here:,2817,1944519,00.asp