General Question

xTheDreamer's avatar

My external hard drive is making some sound, what's wrong with it?

Asked by xTheDreamer (897points) October 24th, 2009

My Buffalo external hard drive is making a “tick tick/tisk tisk” sound. Sometimes after the sound it just unplugs & replugs back in.
What is wrong with it?(Here’s a picture of the hard drive

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16 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

If I had to make a wager I would say the drive will die soon. There is nothing you can do to fix this. But You need to back-up what is on that drive ASAP.

troubleinharlem's avatar

Back up everything, fast.

—what the guy above me said.—

dpworkin's avatar

@johnpowell peeked in my brain and stole my material and raced here to post before me. That bastard.

nxknxk's avatar

You’re lucky it’s still working at this point, I think. The moment mine made that noise it was irreparably broken. Back up, as everyone’s said. Good luck!

arnbev959's avatar

Tick tick is the sound my external hard drive started making the day before it died and I lost a lot of pictures. Back up everything quick!

asmonet's avatar

Back up everything. It’s dying.

And next time, buy Western Digital!
I’ve never had one fail, and one of them is going on five years – without a single issue.

DarkScribe's avatar

If you are really keen, you can do a low level format. That requires having it in a caddy if it is your primary drive, and being able to use a hex editor. (Plus getting the addresses and codes from the manufacturer.) The noise is the head having seek problems. In the old days, when drives were exorbitantly expensive you would go to lengths like that to recover them, nowadays with them so cheap it is seldom worth it.

PretentiousArtist's avatar

It just doesn’t like you, I am sorry

dpworkin's avatar

You don’t need a hex editor to do a low level format, and you don’t need a caddy. You just trust in Steve Gibson, and download Spinrite, just like thousands of happy customers have been doing since 1986. (Well in 1986 they didn’t download it. It came on a 5.25” floppy.)

DarkScribe's avatar

@pdworkin You don’t need a hex editor to do a low level format, and you don’t need a caddy.

You do if you want to re-align the heads as in “ex factory”. Spinrite is more of a recovery tool and has limitations with many brands and models.

Even if you do decide to run a low level format and can find and run the embedded code of run the code externally, on a large capacity drive it can takes days to run. Hardly worth it with most drives. I do it sometimes with “unusual” drives – those that have dedicated features that aren’t obtainable elsewhere – scientific equipment, etc.

dpworkin's avatar

Aww, here I was, happily reminiscing, and you come in here and pop my bubble. (Spinrite does a physical head realignment, by the way.)

DarkScribe's avatar

@pdworkin Aww, here I was, happily reminiscing, and you come in here and pop my bubble

Sorry – it started me reminiscing as well. In the days of forty meg drives a low level format could take hours – when you get over a gig you need to be very patient and pray that there are no power surges.

dpworkin's avatar

My Winchester hard drive was 20Mb, but I couldn’t imagine ever filling it up. I also think it cost more than this laptop I’m using this evening.

DarkScribe's avatar


My first was a ten meg, it came with no disk operating system – you had to write your own, and I used it with an old Z80 based system called a “Sorcerer”. They were fun days. I still remember the first 6502 chip with the sixteen bit register and zero page addressing.

nzigler's avatar

As we near Halloween, demonic possession is a serious threat for man and machine alike.

Darwin's avatar

As others say, back it up ASAP. Even if everyone is wrong and it keeps on going, odds are it will fail some day and at least you will have some stuff saved.

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