come to think of it, if the computer is idle for a while and i return to it and click on a program or even an mp3 on the old drive, i hear it spin up before it accesses the files. what's weird is i don't have my power settings set to spin the drive down so not sure why it is doing it? that got me thinking maybe it is slowly dying, since it's been doing that for some time.
the drive isn't backed up. i have a few important documents on a USB stick, but not nearly enough information is backed up.