Learn to recognize failing hard drive by sound

I remember old days when I could recognize if Hero’s Quest location had a monster by hard drive sound alone. Harder to perform such feats with newer hard drives.

Still there is one important thing about sounds hard drive makes – if they aren’t regular it is likely a problem. But how to be sure what problematic sounds are? Listen to them without waiting for hard drive to fail.

What it offers

Data Cent is Canada-based data recovery firm. On they site they offer free gallery of audio clips, recorded from failing hard drives.



Clips can be listened right on page by pressing play icons. They are grouped by drive manufacturer and for each several malfunctions are covered. There is also separate page for each manufacturer that describe drive failures, common to brand, and give some context information to the sounds.

Turns out I had never encountered drives with failing bearings. They sounds scary. :)


Very educational and useful resource that gives you precise audio samples of when it is time to save your data and change dying drive. Backup before that.

Link http://datacent.com/hard_drive_sounds.php

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  • Spunky Jones SEO #

    With the new solid state drives, one doesn't have the option of hearing any warnings of the hardrive failing. Recently, I experienced one of my 200GB solid state drives that just died without any warning at all. The system was working good, took a break and came back to a frozen screen. That's all she wrote. I lose quite a bite of data. I had just moved and didn't have my NAS up and working, so I lost one weeks of emails.
  • Rarst #

    Well, cool sound diagnostic skills are still no replacement for proper backup routine. :) Sorry about your emails. Is NAS your only backup medium? It is quite easy to store moderate amounts of data in the cloud nowaday, I am more than happy with Dropbox.
  • Spunky Jones #

    @ Rarst - I have some external USB drives as well backing up the files. I still need to find a off-site backup solution that is affordable. At the moment, I am using Jungle Disk for off-site backups. I will look into dropbox and see what they offer. Thanks for the info.
  • Rarst #

    @Spunky Jones See https://www.rarst.net/tag/dropbox/ for my posts on Dropbox and backup in general. Dropbox in few words - excellent usability, lowish initial free storage, considerable free storage from referrals.