Hard Drive Idle Sounds

NAS Model: PR4100
Firmware: 2.21.126
Hard Drive Model: WD4002FYYZ-01B7CB0

I recently installed a pair of WD Gold hard drives, which were fully tested prior to installation. The installation (non-spanned JBOD) and data migration were successful, and no serious problems were encountered. However, I began to notice that the drives sounded like they were being accessed when they were idle, so I began a process of elimination to try and isolate the cause.

The sound itself is best described as a sequential repeating pattern of low tics (not clicks) followed by a brief grunt, and an occasional burst of activity sounds. It sounds very much like the sounds a hard drive makes when it is being tested or wiped, as if groups of sectors are being sequentially accessed.

I first thought the sounds may have been a NAS file indexing service, but one of the drives is currently empty. I also eliminated the possibility of network activity by removing both network cables. I even removed each drive and connected them, one at a time, to my desktop computer to see if they made the same sounds, but both drives were very quiet when idle. Just to be sure, I used the WD diagnostics program to perform a short test on each drive, but all active sounds were comparable to normal hard drive sounds.

Both hard drives are working perfectly, having passed all tests, and their S.M.A.R.T. results (RAW_VALUE) are exactly what they should be for brand new drives. In addition, the LOAD_CYCLE_COUNT is not increasing dramatically as one might expect to see if the sounds were caused by head parking activity.

By process of elimination, I can only conclude that the hard drive idle sounds are somehow caused by the NAS, but I do not know how or why. Both drives sleep normally, and the sounds stop until one or both drives wake. None of my WD Black hard drives (WD2003FZEX-00Z4SA0) make similar idle sounds when installed in the NAS. In fact, two of them are installed now.

Have I missed anything? What could be the source of the sounds?

BTW: Please don’t direct me to links about normal hard drive sounds or tell me to contact WD support. I know what hard drives sound like, and WD support is generally very unhelpful.


See if the following link helps

This KB article will help you to identify if the sound is normal or if it’s something to be concern about.

Let’s see if any of the users can share some information as well.

dswv42, you may want to follow the thread at

and chime in their. It appears that I have gotten 2 different WD Techs that have told me to have my 4TB Gold Drive replaced because of this issue and another user has been told his drives are fine from a level 3 support tech. I am in hopes that we can get enough people discussing this issue that WD will issue a formal statement. The WD tech. I spoke with said he would escalate the issue… I also mentioned the above forum to see the issues we are experiencing.

I hear you. I should receive my replacement (New, not recertified) 4TB Gold drive on 4/29 and it will be interesting to see if it does the 5 sec ticks/thumps. I will post back in a few days as to how that turns out.

To clarify, my new drive will be from Amazon and not WD since the 4TB Gold started the 5 second thumping within 20 days of use. Since my last post I contacted a group that does hard drive data recovery, provided the link to these posts and asked their opinion. Their reply was exactly what the 2 WD techs have told me, Replace the drive. I also asked if he had any idea of what was going on and his response was “Most likely the drive has some firmware problem or bad sectors in the user area”

Believe me, I hate to go though this as much as the next guy but until we get a definite answer from WD on this, I am not going to trust my data to a drive making this noise. The part that really makes no sense to me is that if this is truly wear leveling, why would it do it every 5 seconds during transferring large data files.

I could not agree with you more on the colors debacle. Personally, I think
WD learned their advertising from the Auto industry. Think Chev., GMC, Buick, Pontiac etc. Now substitute each of those with all the colors you named:)
I choose the 4TB Gold for the specs. & due to it being about $20 cheaper than the 4TB Black & 4TB Red Pro. I have only had to use WD’s warranty service on a 640GB Black after about 3 years but in all reality I should have had the drive replaced after I initially installed it due to a minor vibration issue. It ran for 3years 24/7 until it developed smart errors. In this instance I could not have been more pleased with the way WD handled the replacement.

Firmware Version: 01.01M02

New drive arrived with same Firmware as listed above. So far no 5 second seeks or ticks. Time will only tell as it took 20 days for it to show up before.
So far I am only hearing normal head movement sounds like my other drives.

I will post back if this changes as I am now in a new 30 day replacement window if needed.

The 4TB Gold that had the issue was Manufactured in Feb. 2017. The replacement was manufactured in March 2017. Hopefully you can get them replaced through the retailer.

Sure would be nice if they would give details about the issue such as serial numbers of affected drives. NAW, that makes too much sense.

Anyway glad you were able to get new drives on the way. So far mine has been much quieter. Of course now I’m paranoid about ANY sound the drive makes and start the timer going when I hear any noise from it:) Head access and movement appears to be a little sharper/firmer noise than what I am used to on the Blacks but both 4TB Gold’s seem to be the same in that respect. Drive speed is as expected per the spec’s and if it continues running like this I will be happy.
BTW, Do you have a link to the post by WD spokesman Paul Wooding ?

Thanks, I just emailed Paul. Hopefully he will respond to my email.

I saw where Paul read the email but he has not replied. Is your replacement 4TB Gold ok so far? Yes, it is kind of like someone lost the formula for makng good drives. Believe me I have seen that happen in the manufacturing environment. One day things are perfect and the next day you could not make it right if you tried to. I can’t even imagine how horrible it has to be now with the parts quality that we are seeing. Oh, and it never helps when the vendor decides to change their process for manufacturing a part for you and doesn’t bother to tell you they changed the process… Hope they found the formula again:)

What type of sound is this and when does it occur? Does it make the noise constantly?

I think I know the noise you are talking about. I heard it on mine when I had it on my table testing the drive after install. If it is a constant pulsing sound like you sometimes hear from an electric motor that is what I heard on mine too. It is very, very faint.

For your ref.
My original WD Gold 4TB WD4002FYYZ Manf. Date was Feb 21, 2017 and it has the Gold Label.
My replacement WD Gold 4TB WD4002FYYZ Manf. Date was Mar 02, 2017 and it has the Gold Label.

As you said the replacement has a totally different sound. Much Quieter:)

So Far!!!

dswv42, I will be contacting WD in the morning concerning the NEW 4TB Gold drive. I have now noticed on 3 separate occasions where the HD activity light will come on and stay on when there is no access to the hard drive. This has only started happening with this new drive installed and never happened with the original noisy 4TB drive. The HD activity light can only be cleared by a reboot.

I spoke with a tech. last night and he has escalated it to a level 2 tech. which is supposed to call today. My problem is I don’t need them to tell me I need to replace the drive because it is the only thing that was changed and I have never had this issue prior to putting the new drive in. My question is has the quality of their drives gone down this much or do they have bugs in the GOLD series. I am getting to the point of putting one of my new old stock 1TB Blacks in the case and change my storage strategy. It is an absolute pain to change the drive out in my desktop due to the physical location of the computer.

BTW, which brand & model have you been considering. That may be my next move too.

Also, which external case (Brand & Model) are you using that supports the 4TB drives?
5/11 11:00am EST
Well, I just called and they said it may be a power issue and wanted me to try drive in another computer. Told them in effect I had already done that by using another 4TB Gold in this computer and it did not have the issue and if it was a power issue it was the fault of the drive, not the computer. They recommended REPLACING the drive again and possibly going with a 4TB Black instead.

As I said in an earlier email it sure looks like WD has lost the formula on making good HD’s. I have never experienced this many issues on NEW hard drives.

5/11 16:00pm EST 4TB Gold has started making all kinds of sounds, 5 sec, hammering, tic tic tic, all this while sitting idle. Power on time is approx. 7.5 days. I would recommend leaving the drives up 24/7 until you get at least this much time on them.

Thanks for the info… Sorry to hear of the errors, but at this point I am not surprised. Amazon is replacing this 4TB Gold but if the replacement turns out to be bad, I’m done too. I was considering a 2TB Black but saw your earlier post that they have been pathetic also.

Very hard to believe out of 13 Blacks I have only had one go bad after several years of 24/7 use and out of 2 4TB Golds all of mine have been defective within 20 days and so far it appears that yours have been too.

Please keep me in the loop on the 2TB. I really would like to have the 4TB drive but this is going to be my final attempt at getting a good one. If you end up with a good 2TB drive I may go that route since it would be better than putting a 1TB drive in and having to change my backup method.

Just looked at DBAN, does it require install or will it run from the created .iso?

Thanks for the link and info. You may want to check out the reviews on Newegg about the 2TB Black which pretty much confirmed your original issue. 3/21/17 Joel S. wrote “Other Thoughts: -It seems to make a strange noise what seems like an animal dying when I power down the PC, I looked it up on google and have seen MANY people say they have the same noise (I even listened to the recordings and it sounds exactly the same.) The HDD passes all tests with flying colors so I am not terribly concerned about it.”

I am very aggravated by these issues that we are experiencing with the recent WD products. The fact that we cannot get a straight answer is pathetic on WD’s part. I would rather know they are experiencing issues and let them work out the problems prior to changing out hard drives every two to three weeks in hopes of getting a good one.

My 2nd Gold 4TB has starting making so much noise now that I can’t wait for it to power down. I was considering canceling the replacement (Currently not Avail. until 5/16) and getting the 2TB Black until I read the Newegg reviews. Hopefully if your new 2TB Black is ok, I will just opt to try one and be done with the 4TB Gold’s.

If your new 2TB Black is bad, I am sticking one of my 1TB Blacks in my system and be done with this nightmare!!

Were there any other noises from the WD2003FZEX 2TB hard drives like the 5 sec tics from the 4TB Gold? If not, I am cancelling my replacement and will order one from Amazon and give it a try.

Well, now I have even more interesting information on the currently installed 4TB Gold drive. It has stopped making the 5 sec tic tic tic sounds and is operating normally. Go figure. So, due to the activity light issue and previous noise issues I have decided to try one more 4TB Gold replacement. If that turns out bad, I’m just going to install an old 1TB Black that I have until WD gets these issues resolved.

I guess the most important discovery here is the fact that the drive should not be making the noise as is now evidenced by it being ok originally, then starting the 5 sec tic tic tic noise and now back to not making the noise.