All you want to do is boot up your computer to play a little Civilization 4. Maybe you want to get started on that essay that’s been staring you in the face for the last three hours. You might be at work, coming in to the office for the morning and want to get started on the pile of paperwork that’s greeting you from your in-tray.
If you aren’t a tech person every single sound your hardware makes could be nerve-shattering. What’s that whine? What’s the click? If you don’t know what’s normal, you won’t know what’s abnormal. Everything is going to make some sort of sound, but there are ways to differentiate between regular noise and data-crushing death:
Today’s hard drives are very quiet and usually the system fan noise covers the drive. When the system ventilation fans get dirty or out of balance they can begin to make noise. Sometimes the hard drive is suspected of making these new noises.
Older hard drives will make noise during normal use. The level and type of noise may change depending on the function the drive is performing. Users must be able to distinguish normal noises from detrimental, abnormal noises.
Normal sounds include:
1. Whining noise during drive spin-up.
2. Regular clicking or tapping sounds during drive access.
3. Hard clicks when the drive heads park during power saving modes like Standby or Hibernation.
Abnormal noises include:
1. High-pitched whining sound can be an indication of abnormal function.
2. Noises can be caused by mounting issues. This is due to either a high frequency vibration in the mounting hardware, or a potential drive failure.
3. Repeated, regular tapping, grinding or beeping.
4. External (especially USB-only) drive clicking or beeping at time of connection, often accompanied by non-detection problems.
Troubleshooting noise issues for external drives:
External USB drive clicking and beeping can occur if the USB port does not provide enough power to operate the drive, often a USB 1.x port, or an unpowered USB hub.
To resolve this noise, connect the drive with both of the USB connectors (if possible), or if your drive only has one connector, try connecting it to other USB ports on your computer. If that does not work, connect it to a powered USB hub to ensure enough electrical power.
Hopefully you’re a bit more familiar with what are normal sounds for a computer. The click of death is as ominous as it sounds and you don’t want to find yourself in that position. Often sounds like this point to a physical issue with the hard drive itself. This means that you’ll need to replace certain parts of the hard drive or the entire physical drive. If that’s the case, you better hope you’ve been backing up your information to an external drive or a service like DropBox or OneDrive. This way when the technical team comes in to repair your device you can still carry on with your work.
Don’t let yourself get freaked out over every little sound. Educate yourself on the sounds that are going to cause you issues. The more you know the better, and quicker, you can respond to these issues and protect your data from the click of death.