The sound of a hard drive gone bad

Last modified on May 24th, 2009 at 11:45 am

It’s one of the worst sounds in the world; a hard drive mechanism that’s gone bad. It’s even worse when it’s the sound of YOUR hard drive that decided to up and die. Unfortunately, one of my hard drives recently decided to bite the dust, but I thought I’d use the untimely demise of my hardware to provide you with some insight on what you (or your clients) might expect to hear when a hard drive starts going south.

During the troubleshooting process, I’ll sometimes ask if the problematic hard drive is making a “clicking” noise. If you aren’t exactly sure what the clicking noise of a bad hard drive sounds like, this audio clip is for you.

I took apart my hard drive enclosure, put a microphone into the unit, and powered it up. The sound you hear will be of the hard drive spinning up, the hard drive mechanics clicking, and the hard drive spinning down. It retries the process before powering down for good.

Click here to listen


For those interested in the details, this was an external USB 2.0 Western Digital 500GB MyBook. After dismantling the enclosure, I found a 3.5″ Western Digital Caviar RE2 WD5000YS drive. This was a SATA drive that was powered through an external power source and connected to my system through a USB 2.0 port. It was manufactured on August 6, 2006.

All of my family photos for the last five years were stored on this hard drive. Fortunately, I had a backup – do you?

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Category: Professor Messer After Class

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