New hard-drive on laptop makes clicking intermittent sound: bad?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Greg_Y, Nov 19, 2001.

  1. Greg_Y

    Greg_Y Screenwriter

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    (That should be: Hard-drive on new laptop makes intermittant clicking sound: bad?)
    I just got a new Dell Inspiron laptop which I like very much. There's only one (possible) issue with it. The Dell Talk customer forums don't seem to provide any definitive answer, so I figured I'd ask the HTF population, since there are so many power users.
    The hard drive makes an intermittant clicking sound when the OS is "idle". If I boot up to Win2K or WinME, and then leave the laptop alone for about 30 seconds, the hard drive will read and then I hear a small clickety-clack sound. It's not a loud sound, but it's obvious when the PC is in a quiet room. I've heard that the IBM HDs were quite noisy. I'm concerned that the sound is a harbinger of what to come: more noises and then a HD failure. Can anyone set me straight? I've never owned a laptop before and I've heard various things about what to expect.
    You can hear this sound by listening to this small (65K) MP3 file :
    www.yurkovic.com/clickclick.mp3
    During normal reads/writes, it doesn't make the sound. Nor does it happen when I run the Dell Diagnostics tool on the hard drive, where all tests are successful.
    The hard drive is a 20 gig Hitachi, which I've already taken out and reseated. Any help would be most appreciated. THANKS!
     
  2. DonRoeber

    DonRoeber Screenwriter

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    Its probably the hard drive parking its heads to go into sleep mode. Completely harmless. But to be sure, go to your power saving options, and disable the sleep setting for the hard drive. If it stops making the noise, thats it. Then re-enable it so that you get better battery life. Or leave it off for a very small performance gain. The hard drive parking its heads is normal, and will not impact the life of the drive at all.
     
  3. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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    My Inspiron 4100 w/30 gig HD does the same thing. I think it's a thermal recalibration, which the drive performs every so often automatically. Basically it's re-aligning the heads to compensate for thermal expansion/contraction. Many drives do this and it's usually audible as a click or a chugga-chugga that repeats once every 1-5 minutes when the drive isn't being accessed.

    KJP
     
  4. Jeff R.

    Jeff R. Stunt Coordinator

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    All my laptops have had hard drives that made the clicking noise. I don't like the way it sounds but I just figured it was normal. I'm not sure what it's doing though.
     
  5. Greg_Y

    Greg_Y Screenwriter

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    Thanks guys. It does sound like the heads are being parked. It's not loud and it doesn't happen alot. It's just a bit annoying. But I keep hearing from different people that it's not a harbinger of death for the hard drive, but merely something to live with.

    I turned off the sleep mode for the hard drive on both AC-powered and battery-powered settings. The clicking is still present. I can live with it for now.
     
  6. Greg_Y

    Greg_Y Screenwriter

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    Well I finally snapped, sort of, and told Dell I wanted a new hard drive. Supposedly the Fujitsu's are very quiet and more or less without problems. This was on Wednesday and the tech said they would ship me one and to look for it next week. Around 9:30 AM this morning (Friday), Mr. Airborne Express guy knocks on my door and lo and behold, there's my new hard drive already! [​IMG] Unfortunately, it's also a Hitachi. Same model. [​IMG] Oh well. But I figure I'll give it a whirl. Takes me all of 20-30 seconds to pop the "old" one out and put the new one in. Same click-clack sounds sounds.
    I called them again and explained my situation. I asked the tech if it was just easier to ship both drives back, get a refund, and buy my own drive. He said, if I did that, the hard drive wouldn't be under warranty. He then started to tell me that I should upgrade to the 3-year warranty. I politely explained that if they didn't get me a new hard drive which wasn't so annoying, the entire PC was going back to Dell for a refund and I wouldn't need any warranty. So it looks like they're going to send me another drive; this time it will hopefully be the Fujitsu.
    You have one more chance Dell. I didn't spend $1700+ on a PC to hear it click and clack from across the room!
     

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