External drive makes clicking noise every few seconds

I recently bought a WD 8 TB external drive from amazon. After backing up some files and playing them on the new drive, I noticed a rather loud clicking sound that occurs every few seconds - which is an indicator for a damaged read/write head. I have had a few external WD drives of smaller sizes before and never notices these sounds in those drives. Another thing I noticed is that the drive makes a whistling sound when it goes on standby and the head parks, which is a sounds my previous drives didn’t make either.

Because of that I refunded the drive and order the same 8 TB drive again. But it turns out the new drive makes the exact same clicking noise every few seconds when playing files from it.

So now I’m wondering: Are those sounds just normal for the “bigger” WD drives or did I happen to get 2 damaged drives in a row? Should I also be sending back my current drive?

It’s concerning that you’ve experienced issues with two consecutive WD 8 TB external drives. While some sounds from hard drives can be normal, unusual or excessively loud clicking, as well as whistling noises, may indeed indicate a problem with the drive’s hardware. However, it’s worth noting that some level of sound is typical, especially with larger capacity drives, due to their complex mechanisms. To ensure you’re making an informed decision, consider checking WD’s documentation, contacting WD support, and exploring online communities or forums where other users discuss similar experiences with WD 8 TB drives. Additionally, testing other WD 8 TB external drives of the same model can help you confirm whether the sounds are specific to the model or if your units are defective. If you find that the sounds you’re hearing are abnormal or indicative of a potential issue, you should consider returning the drive and exploring alternative options or brands. In the case that you believe the drives are defective, it would be advisable to contact Amazon’s customer support and Western Digital’s support to discuss the issue and explore your options for replacement or refund.


Firs off, thanks a lot for your reply!

So due to more complex mechanisms, larger drives might make more and louder noises by default? I didn’t consider that factor yet but that’s a good point. The drives I used before this one were also from WD, a 4 TB drive and a 5 TB drive. Both of those made very few and rather quiet sounds, you could hear them spinning when going on and off standby or when copying files, but other than that they were rather quiet. Could it be that the 8 TB drive just is more mechanically complex and therefore makes those clicking noises?

I also ran a check with CrystalDiskInfo which didn’t indicate any damage on the drive, but I suppose that can’t rule out all factors such as a damaged read/write head for example.

You mentioned checking WD’s documentation, can you tell me where I could find a link to that please? There wasn’t a manual attached with the drive, just a small setup guide.

As for checking other forums, I posted a question in the (German) amazon page where I bought the drive. Most replies there told me that the sounds I described indicate a damaged drive, but after getting 2 of those drives which made the same sounds in a row I’m not so sure anymore.

I will also be contacting WD support, thanks for the heads up!

Since I already returned the first drive I’m a bit hesitant to doing the same thing again, in regards to keeping my amazon account in good standing, which is why I made this thread.

browsing through amelia1’s reply history … i’m pretty sure you’re talking to an A.I. Chat Bot

Oh dang, looks like you are probably right. That’s frustrating, thanks for the heads up tho.

Now I’m wondering what I should do, return this drive as well or just keep using it and hope everything is fine?

So far it copied and played every file without any issue (except for the concerning sounds it makes) and as I mentioned before, CrystalDiskInfo also didn’t report any issues.

I wouldn’t really want to return two expensive drives in a row but having the drive die on me would be very bad too of course.

Dear Joe,

I believe that utilizing an AI bot to correct one’s grammatical errors, ensuring that the user comprehends the content without any confusion, is not detrimental. I kindly advise against spamming here and refrain from directing any accusations toward me.

Thank you.

Best regards,

Alright fellas, I didn’t mean for this topic to create any accusations and I am grateful for everyone who is trying to help me.

To get back on topic: I created a support ticket explaining the issue as Amelia suggested and I received the following reply:

" I understand that you are hearing a clicking sound every few seconds from your WD Elements External Desktop 8TB. It will be my pleasure to clarify your questions.

It is normal for a drive over 8TB to do more noises and a good drive include drive clicks every 4 or 5 seconds intervals and hard clicks during a head park operation during shutdown or entering sleep mode.

WD 8 TB hard drive and higher use newer technology than previous built 6TB and below drives. With this new technology WD drives operate cooler and deliver better overall performance. However, newer drives can deliver higher acoustic levels during seek time compared to Western Digital lower capacity drives such as WD 6 TB drives. You can see more information in the article below:

Why Does My Hard Drive Make Noise?


Also in the same article you can find instruction to test your drive, if you want to make sure that your drive is not defective.

I hope the above helps!"

So from what I can tell, it seems that drives with sizes of 8TB and higher just make more noise by default because they are more mechanically complex (as was hinted at previously). Since I have had no other issue with this drive so far and since both 8 TB drives made the same sound I’m now rather confident that those clicking sounds are just normal for those bigger drives.

This definitely makes me rest more easy, so thanks a lot for the comments and also the tip of creating a support ticket! My current plan is to keep this drive and use it as my main backup drive from now on. Thanks again for all the help everyone!

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Hello there,
I’m delighted to hear that your issue has been resolved. If you require any assistance within my knowledge, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Thank you.

If you believe the drive is in ANY way is suspect or not working in a data safe manner return it, while you can return it to the seller.

Learned from experience that dealing with any RMA process is most likely to be denied for almost any reason. I have used a lot of drives from various manufacturers, most from WD. RMA processes are always to be avoided when they can be. Even when WD is applicable.

I just got 3 6TB WD drives… 1 of them is already failing with only about 12 hours use! That is unfortunate, but happens, so it is going back to the seller immediately.