With technological advancements, one would expect their computer to be soundless, even at its maximum potential. But with blowing exhaust fans and grinding hard drives, we still have a long way to go. While upgrading to the more advanced SSD and NVMes drives could help quiet down your noisy computer, their high prices keep them from widespread adoption.
Besides the muffled humming and occasional clicking sounds, hard drives are usually silent. But if the muted clicking turns into loud grinding, squealing noise, and forceful vibrations, you might be looking at a potential problem.
Is your hard drive nearing impending doom – a stage beyond repair? Or can you quiet a noisy hard drive? Learn everything you need to know about noisy hard drives and ways to silence them.
To quiet a noisy hard drive, you need to identify the noise it’s generating. If you hear a buzzing noise, use rubber strips to soak up the vibrations. Optimize or de-fragment the hard drive if you hear squealing or scratching sounds. You can also mount soundproof hard drive enclosures to buffer the noise for both internal and external hard drives.
Noisy Hard Drives – Should You Be Concerned?
Unless you upgrade to the SSDs or NVMes, the slight whirring and buzzing sounds from your hard drive are inevitable – and that’s normal. You may also notice squealing and clicking sounds when you boot up your computer, indicating that the HDD is getting accessed.
To figure out why your HDD gets clicky and loud when it spools up, you need to understand how a hard drive functions. Data on a hard drive is stored as blocks that are usually disintegrated on the disc. Since they are stored separately from each other, the needle has to squeal and whirr to locate a particular file on the disk.
Besides the buzzing sounds, the movement of the needle on the disk surface may also cause vibrations. If the hard drive is loosely attached to the computer case, the vibrations could amplify into a loud rattling noise every so often.
5 Times the Hard Drive Noise Could Mean Trouble
Generally, the sounds from the hard drive indicate normal functioning. But if they exceed the typical threshold or turn into loud, unusual noises could actually mean trouble. Datacent offers an overview of unusual sounds from a hard drive that hint at a malfunction.
So, before your valuable data hits the dumpster, take the necessary measures before it’s lost forever. We have identified five strange noises that signal a problem.
Clicking noises are fairly common in a hard drive as long as they are produced when you access a large file on the computer or perform a hard disc operation – like shutting down the device. But if the noise keeps appearing repeatedly, even when the hard drive isn’t performing any laborious task, you’re probably dealing with a bigger problem.
The nonstop or repeated clicking means that the hard drive attempts to restart by itself to stop a potential breakdown. In this case, there’s a high probability that your hard drive will shut down for good, so make sure to back up the device before it happens.
Beeping sounds from a hard drive are always bad news. It is not natural for an HDD to beep unless there’s something wrong with its internal mechanisms. The noise indicates a breakdown of the drive actuator arm or the platter, making it difficult to rotate.
You might also witness your computer slowing down or even failing to recognize the hard disc. If the symptoms seem similar to what you are experiencing, consider having it checked by a professional.
Grinding noise is nothing new for a personal computer; most of the time, it comes from the exhaust fans. However, if the fans are unclogged and clean, the hard drive is to blame. Grinding noise from a hard drive signals a head crash, or more often, the head is squealing against the drive platter. Whatever the problem, you must copy your data to a backup drive because it is most probably nearing its breakdown.
While buzzing is often related to clogged-up exhaust fans, it’s hardly ever the case. If your hard drive is making a humming noise, chances are that it’s either too hard-pressed against or loosely attached to the computer case. If not dealt with promptly, the normal buzzing would turn into more distressing noises.
When it comes to the normal functioning of a hard drive, scratching is often detrimental. The sound is produced when the read/write head on the actuator arm drags on the hard drive platter in a disorderly fashion.
Since the needle is set to move in tiny areas of magnetic north to south on the platter, any irregular motion other than that would cause scratching. This noise often results in the computer’s slowdown and causes data loss. If the noise seems to be exceeding, don’t be reluctant to shift your data onto the backup hard drive.
Practical Ways to Quiet a Noisy Hard Drive
Keeping your headsets on while operating the computer is one way to blot out the noise, but you must tackle the underlying cause of the noisy hard drive. Besides being a nuisance, excessive noise from a hard drive could reduce the processor’s efficiency and cause data loss in extreme scenarios. Here’s how to quiet a noisy hard drive:
Dampen the Vibrations Using Rubber Strips
Most of the buzzing noise in a hard drive is generated through vibrations that are amplified through contact with the computer case. Dampening these vibrations can help reduce the rattle noise as well – the best part is that you don’t need to source a dedicated sound-dampening material for the job. Anything soft and flexible enough to soak up vibrations will do the job.
Standard practice is to cut thin rubber strips and infuse them between your hard drive and computer casing. The idea is to ensure that no vibrations from the HDD reach the case and transfer to other parts.
Unclog and Clean the Computer Fans
In most cases, the computer’s loud humming and clicking sounds are actually the work of exhaust fans. If you’ve been negligent in cleaning your computer, especially the cooling fans, the clogged-up dust and debris will likely restrict the normal fan rotation. So, before you carry your hard drives to the technician, clean the computer fans from inside and out.
Optimize the Hard Drive
Since the information blocks on a hard drive are scattered on the platter, the actuator head has to move to locate the exact file you need to access. It not only takes time, lowering the computer’s efficiency but the excessive movement of the read/write head emits noise.
Organizing the scattered data blocks together will help the actuator to draft the required data file without emitting much noise. De-fragmenting the hard drive also improves the performance and speed of the computer.
Use a Soundproof Hard Drive Enclosure
While optimizing the hard drive helps overcome the excessive buzzing noise, you’ll still have to put up with the slight humming sound. Opting for an acoustic enclosure for the hard drive would be ideal for those people for whom noisy distractions cause difficulty in concentration.
Whether you have an internal hard drive or the USB-powered external version, encasing the device in an HDD silencer will overcome the unwanted noise.
The SilenX Luxurae HDSS is an award-winning hard drive silencer you can find. This acoustic enclosure is compatible with 3.5-inch hard drives, with up to 15,000 RPM. It comes with acoustic foam pads and a cooling mechanism that safeguards the hard drive from overheating.
Replace the Hard Drive
Even if you manage to silence a noisy hard drive, data backups are inherently important. Once it’s past the warranty period, there’s no knowing when the HDD will die out. If the grinding and squealing sounds from the drive elevate to a certain level, it could stop working at any time, leading your valuable data to drain.
Many tech experts recommend performing routine backups of your entire drive into an external hard drive or any other storage medium. If it seems like a hassle, you can also install built-in software to automate the backup procedure.
People Also Asked
Here are the answers to a few common questions:
What happens if your hard disk drive fails?
Hard drive failure is often identified by boot errors showing as “USB Device malfunctioned” in the BIOS of your PC. You may also hear loud grinding and clicking sounds from the hard drive as you operate the computer.
How long does a hard drive last?
The average lifespan of a hard drive is about three to five years. But with proper care and minimum use, it can even last up to seven years.
How to quiet a hard drive from making a humming noise?
The ideal way to quiet a hard drive making a humming noise is to de-fragment the HDD. If it produces vibrations, stick rubber strips on the sides to restrict their transfer. If you are using an external hard drive, you can also use a soundproof hard drive enclosure.