Why is my 2nd Drive (HDD) making a low grinding noise? All seems OK.

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  1. Compumind's Avatar
    Posts : 2,717
    Windows 10 Pro x64, Various Linux Builds, Networking, Storage, Cybersecurity Specialty.
       #1

    Why is my 2nd Drive (HDD) making a low grinding noise? All seems OK.


    Alright. Time for group consultation...
    W10 Pro, Build 1803...

    This is a bit complex. I have a SSD as Drive C: and a HDD as Drive D: - both internal in the desktop case.
    For the past day or so, I have been noticing a low grumbling/grinding noise coming from Drive D: - the HDD.

    I ran a few test programs on it and when I commanded the drive to spin down, or invoke a HDD diagnostic program, the problem quickly abates for a short duration. The "noise" is very low and suddenly starts for awhile, stops and then starts again.

    All SMART tests pass just fine.

    Recently, I enabled 256-bit BitLocker on both the SSD (Drive C:) and the HDD (Drive D:) and I wonder if that might have something to do with it. My gut feeling is that the HDD is just fine and software is causing this effect. System is from mid-June and is essentially brand new. I turned off almost all system services with no luck. Only upon the boot process does it begin to emit the low sound.

    I wanted to get some thoughts from my buddies here before I do anything more substantial. What's weird is that the sound goes away for awhile and then comes back, as it is being read or written to, but I cannot pin it down using a variety of methods.

    Overall, the system is very quiet and that low droning noise caught my ear over the past day.

    As always, I welcome and appreciate your thoughts.

    Thanks!
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  2. Barman58's Avatar
    Posts : 3,930
    Windows 10 Pro x64 2004 - 19041 - 264 XP/Vista/Win7/Win8.1 in VM for testing
       #2

    First thought is a failing bearing or bearings, the actual read write , as you say, is fine, but the main rotating support system is approaching end of life. I've seen it a lot with HDDs that have been retained as data drives after the addition of a new SSD System drive - they are just getting a little old.

    The only true cure is replacement, the bearing(s) may be replaceable, but are probably hard to find and fiddly to do, so once you add labour into the cost, New is the best way.

    As the drive could fail at anytime, I would suggest you back it up as often as possible until you can replace it

    Re Reading your post I would not expect a "New" drive to go this quickly but you never know, Mechanics were always something that if it didn't fail in the first few months it would run for years, Modern manufacturing methods have removed much of this but not all
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  3. jimbo45's Avatar
    Posts : 10,483
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux
       #3

    Hi there
    just another possibility -- it might not be the HDD at all but one of the fans inside the machine -- at start up more power is generally consumed especially by HDD's as they start up so dust / oil etc. Loose connections (mechanical) could also be a possibility although usually in this case you'd hear the noise all the time.

    If you can open up the machine you should be able to detect the source of the noise.

    However if you think it could be a failing HDD backup any valuable data you have on it just in case.

    Cheers
    jimbo
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  4. Compumind's Avatar
    Posts : 2,717
    Windows 10 Pro x64, Various Linux Builds, Networking, Storage, Cybersecurity Specialty.
    Thread Starter
       #4

    Hi.

    The noise or read-write sound is coming directly from the HDD. A little intermittent but it's so annoying.
    Could it be a software issue? I don't know but I'm going to Decrypt that HDD and see what happens.

    Another possibility is that I have Acronis and Macrium resident and active on the same system.
    I wonder if they are playing well together after the Reflect 7.2 update.

    The drive is a Toshiba DT01ACA200 (2 TB)

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  5. Barman58's Avatar
    Posts : 3,930
    Windows 10 Pro x64 2004 - 19041 - 264 XP/Vista/Win7/Win8.1 in VM for testing
       #5

    Software issues are not the first thing i think of when a mechanical sound is generated, yes It can cause an increase in resource usage that could cause the mechanical items to work harder, and thus produce noise.

    you are getting a "low grumbling/grinding" which to me reminds me of a failing bearing, In my Industrial equipment experience, low and grumbling suggests failure of moving parts, whereas software generated noise is generally quite High Pitched and "Whining"

    What I would do in this situation, to fully eliminate the Software or Hardware option, [it must be one or the other], is to swap out the drive, [I always have several spare so this is easiest for me], but your idea to remove software is a perfectly valid option.

    Whichever you choose , I cannot state strongly enough, until you are sure that your data is safe, keep regular backups, [Daily rather than weekly]
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  6. Compumind's Avatar
    Posts : 2,717
    Windows 10 Pro x64, Various Linux Builds, Networking, Storage, Cybersecurity Specialty.
    Thread Starter
       #6

    Hi Jimbo, Nigel and others -

    I powered up the system today and soon after boot, the second drive (HDD) started it's "low" "Read/Write" gurgling sound.

    It truly doesn't sound mechanical in nature.

    I've been around many an HDD and I would be shocked if it was.
    You tend to know these things after 30+ years, lol.

    I'm going to Image and Decrypt it soon but I wanted to assess the best way to measure all read and write activity for this one HDD. If anyone knows of a program that can display this activity in real-time, I can safely narrow down whether this sound is due to random read/writes from a program and/or process or is mechanical in nature and possibly save myself a headache.

    Many thanks to all reading and replying to this thread. I really appreciate it!

    Brian

    Last edited by Compumind; 07 Nov 2018 at 10:30.
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  7. Barman58's Avatar
    Posts : 3,930
    Windows 10 Pro x64 2004 - 19041 - 264 XP/Vista/Win7/Win8.1 in VM for testing
       #7
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  8. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 29,978
    Win 10 Pro (1903)
       #8

    I wanted to assess the best way to measure all read and write activity for this one HDD. If anyone knows of a program that can display this activity in real-time,
    Simplest option: Resource Monitor. You can see I've organised disk activity by drive.
    Why is my 2nd Drive (HDD) making a low grinding noise? All seems OK.-1.jpg
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  9. Compumind's Avatar
    Posts : 2,717
    Windows 10 Pro x64, Various Linux Builds, Networking, Storage, Cybersecurity Specialty.
    Thread Starter
       #9

    @dalchina -

    Yes. I have done that a few times already and I'm posting a screenshot showing Drive C (SSD) and Drive D (The HDD in question) -

    Why is my 2nd Drive (HDD) making a low grinding noise? All seems OK.-2018-11-07_11-12-18.jpg

    Note Drive D: HDD activity, or lack of. That's where the sound is emanating.

    Maybe BitLocker? I don't think so but I'm almost out of simple ideas...
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  10. Compumind's Avatar
    Posts : 2,717
    Windows 10 Pro x64, Various Linux Builds, Networking, Storage, Cybersecurity Specialty.
    Thread Starter
       #10

    Nigel -

    That thread is specific to Toshiba branded computers.

    The Drive, though Toshiba, is OEM for Dell - so I need to find out if Dell has a specific utility for this HDD.

    Good thought, though! Thanks, mate!
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