Is Your Noisy Hard Drive Dying?
Posted on August 25, 2014 Posted in News

While everyone can agree that hard drives are mechanical devices that will eventually die (How Long Your Hard Drive Is Likely To Last – Melanie Pinola at, the jury is still out on how well you can diagnose a hard drive by simply LISTENING to it.

Here at ALB Tech we have replaced hundreds, even thousands of hard drives since opening up our Richmond shop at 1208 West Main Street in 2007.  Adam, Jamie, and Kevin have ALL listened to hard drives and used what they heard as an indicator of failure – both potential and immediate.  Like any mechanic or technician with a lot of experience, we are simply relating the symptoms we have seen countless times to a repair that has always solved the problem – a new hard drive or Solid State Drive (SSD – more on that choice in a future post).  When we hold a laptop or desktop drive up to our ear, we listen for clicks, scrapes and errant whirs that help us find a problem.

When I began writing this, I was shocked at how many posts, comments and blurbs I found on the internet denying that increasingly loud noises had any correlation to hard drives dying – but then I remembered that this is the internet!  Many of these same people protested that they had “hard drives 10 years old” that were just as fast and reliable as day one, and that brings me to my point.  We see computers all day, every day (except Sundays) that have dying hard drives, and they very often make noises that we recognize from past experiences.  While “Forum User No. 37” may have had 5 computers in his life so far, perhaps with twice as many drives, we are EXPERINCED technicians and have repaired thousands of broken computers.

I was pleased to see that there are other respected sites out there who use “hard drive whispering” to detect failure.  Hard drive manufacturer Seagate knows that failing drives can be detected by the noises they make. ( – Identifying and troubleshooting hard drive noise issues)  The DIY site wikiHow also lists hard drive listening as a diagnosis step.  (

In conclusion, our answer to the question “Is your noisy hard drive dying?” is “Yes, but let a professional check it out”.  As far as how long you have or what you should do about – that’s where we come in.   Over here at ALB Tech (both locations) we always do free diagnostics.  We’ll let you know if your hard drive is singing it’s swan song or just whistling while it works.


Is Your Noisy Hard Drive Dying?

Fail. 🙁