What should I do for a noisy disk drive?

Seagate does not have a utility that can reduce most ambient hard drive noise. This article explains.

Seagate does not have a utility that can reduce most ambient hard drive noise.  While modern drives are extremely quiet, every disk drive makes a certain amount of noise while running. Normally, the faster the drive motor spins, the higher-pitched the resulting sound will be, and there is a greater chance of a low hum.  Most drives do not make noise that is audible to most people, but there are a few exceptions.

It is also normal for the drive to make sort of a "chattering" or "clicking" sound while it is reading and writing data.  Also, some drives occasionally run off-line scans, resulting in similar sounds even when the drive is not actively reading or writing.

If you are concerned about the noise your drive is making, please test it with SeaTools. If it fails the test, the noise may be due to a mechanical problem or something similar. Seagate recommends you replace the drive in that case.

When an external drive beeps, this can be due to insufficient electrical power.  Even if your drive has never beeped before, sometimes drives can require a little more power as they age, and this can cause them to beep when connected.  Most beeping occurs with USB-powered drives, which do not have a separate power adapter.

  • If the drive is also not detected, please use one of our external drive troubleshooters to try to get it detected.
  • Remove the drive from any USB hub in which it may be connected.  Connect it directly into the USB port.
  • Try connecting the drive in different USB ports on your computer.  It may not beep when connected via a different USB port.
  • If you are using a desktop computer, connect the drive to a USB port on the rear of the computer.
  • Replace the USB cable with a new or known-good cable.
  • Some USB-only drives connect via a "Y-cable", such as that seen in Document ID: 205479. Connect the drive using both plugs of the Y-cable to provide maximum power.
  • If you are attempting to use an eSATA connection with a GoFlex drive, make sure it is a powered eSATA port.  See Document ID: 214371 for more information.
  • If beeping persists, connect the drive to another computer to see if the beeping follows the drive.  If the drive functions well on a different computer, then the original machine is not providing enough power to operate your drive.  A powered USB hub may help.

If the sound coming from the area around your drive has recently changed or is an excessive grinding or clanking noise, this may indicate a physical problem with the drive, whether internal or external.
Information for internal drives specifically:

  • Noise from the cooling fans in the computer’s power supply are often mistaken as hard drive noise.  To isolate whether the noise is coming from the drive or one of the fans, you can issue a "spin down" command through SeaTools. Use the acoustical spin down test to temporarily spin down internal drives so that you may listen to changes in the noise level.  See Document ID: 201271 for instructions.If the sound goes away, then the sound was produced by the drive.  If the sound remains, then the drive is not the cause of the sound.
  • If your internal hard drive passes the SeaTools diagnostic test, please check for a firmware update for your drive.  See SeaTools documentation for instructions.

If the drive noise is intolerable or accompanies persistent non-detection problems which our troubleshooters cannot remedy, you may need to replace the drive.
To verify warranty status for your drive, please refer to our Warranty Validation page.