Hard Drive Idle Sounds


Well, it has been almost 4 months and the Toshiba X300 6TB hard drive has performed flawlessly, unlike the WD Black/Gold hard drives, which were a royal PITA from day one. Which reminds me, the 6TB is almost full… time to buy another one.


Did anyone consider using the WDIDLE3 utility to disable parking? This is the major cause of wear & tear on all HDD’s, not just WD, only there’s a bootable ISO to make the parking times longer between events (default is 8 seconds), can be upped as far as needed, or disabled altogether (wdidle3 /d).

This is what I performed on all of my WD RE4’s long ago, recently purchased two of the 2TB WD Gold’s, while the casing may be the same, I believe there’s more involved than what label is slapped on. First off, the obvious, only the WD Gold has a 128MB cache (256MB on high capacity models), while the rest are still at 64MB, so has to be more than firmware.

Also, unlike the ultra low cost drives (the Blue model), the warranty is significantly longer, 5 years versus 2, so WD has confidence that these will last. Unlike SSD’s, there’s no limit to TBW that would cause the warranty to be voided prior to the years, although today, I still truly believe that a quality brand of SSD will outlast most all new HDD’s, have two Samsung 850 Pro models with 10 year warranties & will never reach the allowed TBW before then, as my downloads, documents, pictures/videos & virtual machines are on the HDD.

Finally, the only HDD that I’ve had to go bad on me, although found a tool & used some trickery to revive was a Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200.11, which were notorious over firmware issues that between late 2008 through early 2010 & affected tens of thousands of consumers (well, those who reported). And the worst thing was, Seagate had no magical ‘fix’, it took the efforts of those coming from the School of Hard Knocks to figure out how to revive, yet the consumer still had at that time to obtain components for the job. Today, there’s eBay suppliers offering the complete tool for $15 shipped, mine after laying unused for 3 years, was finally revived & I didn’t bother with the updated firmware, installed in a secondary PC & am imaging twice weekly. Should it fail again, will fix & update firmware.

Have never had a SSD to die on me, my first in 2012, a 128GB Crucial m4, while not the fastest writing model at a little over 200MB/.sec (the 2TB WD Gold almost matches that speed), still has 98% lifespan left.

So my vote is for the WDIDLE3 utility, while cannot be downloaded from WD any longer (or hard to find) is hosted on several sites in a zip file, I used Rufus to create a USB bootable ISO & all of my WD HDD’s other than the Gold’s has parking disabled. I’m wondering if that’s the noise, because these drives has twice the platters of the Black series & more around or past the 6TB mark. This utility were originally created for the WD Green drives, although expanded to the WD RE4-GP, once the disable flag (/D) is selected, will flash not only into a regular WD RE4, also w/out head parking (WDIDLE3 /D). As mentioned above, one can choose to keep parking, although at a much reduced rate. This is why drives that runs 24/7, as RE4 & Gold models are designed for, in addition to RAID, has few start/stop cycles, even after 15,000 hours of use.

I purchased a 1TB RE4 still under warranty on eBay for $19 shipped, manufactured in 2013, had around that many hours of uptime, although with under 100 start/stop cycles, within a week, that value had been doubled by my usage, once I ran the WDIDLE3 utility, these fell more in line with my boot cycles, rather than head parking. So I’d assume, the larger the drive, the more & larger platters, the more one will notice weird sounds every few seconds. Fortunately, while we can fix this with the WDIDLE3 utility, there’s not a similar tool for Seagate HDD’s, which now includes the once popular Samsung models & any other corporations (or HDD divisions, in the case of Samsung) that was acquired by the corporation.

At any rate, that’s my two cents on the issue, it’s something worth considering, and by chance if one doesn’t like the results, can be reverted to defaults if desired, or at least a far less aggressive spin down cycle. The way WD drives are shipped, early death is built into these drives & why the Red & Gold series aren’t recommended for desktop usage. I chose the Gold because first, it’s the successor to the Re4 line, secondly, double the cache & more features for only $15 more than a consumer based WD Black of the same size (2TB). Note that I also purchase ‘prosumer’ SSD’s also, my best are the Samsung 950/960 PRO PCIe models, will go beyond the distance of the consumer based EVO line.



Head parking is/was not the source of the problem, been there done that. Besides, the WDIDLE3 utility does not work on most newer high-capacity hard drives.

The warranty is worthless because WD only sends used “recertified” hard drives as warranty replacements and forces the customer to pay for shipping. Adding insult to injury is the fact that WD does not seem to properly test the so-called “recertified” hard drives, as evidenced by numerous complaints about RMA hard drives failing or being dead on arrival.


It’s been some time back, you’re correct on WD sending out recertified drives, I purchased a 750GB WD Caviar Black from Newegg & after a month began vibrating, so contacted WD for RMA. They emailed me a return label at no cost after speaking with someone who had the authority to say ‘Yes’, and when I received a 1TB WD Black in return, felt that they done me a favor.

Only after I placed the drive into a backup enclosure after upgrading to a SSD, I noticed in fine print it had been recertified, although to be honest, the drive performed w/out any troubles. No vibration or other weird sounds, performed like new & still a perfectly working backup. The only reason that I retired the drive to backup was because I had purchased two brand new Samsung Spinpoint 1TB HD103SJ drives (now also backups) & these were not only lower in cost, the performance was a bit better & because of this, never installed the offered upgraded firmware. No need to fix what wasn’t broken.:wink:

To this day, if the need arises, I have no fear of placing these drives back into active duty as internal Data drives, it’s just that I later discovered the RE4 lineup & more recent, the SATA-3 WD Gold, as well as three Seagate 1TB ST1000DM 003 (the first shipped with my XPS 8700). Performed so well that at $49.99 each on promo, felt compelled to purchase, so except for a couple, most of my remaioning RE4’s are also now backups & I ran the WDIDLE3 utility on those, yet haven’t on the Gold models. This is because one can disable parking via cmd or by adding a registry file that provides enhanced AHCI power management, set to HIPM-DIPM (for SSD-HDD combo) & the timer to ‘0’ or Never. This act alone disables parking as long as it’s in that computer with the current power plan.

While this may not be the source of your issue, as you’ve indicated, the only other issue I can come up with is that you’ve had more than your share of bad luck. Maybe the drives were damaged during shipping, if not packed well (Newegg once was terrible about this), one can have issues out of the box or not long afterwards. I suspect this to be the case with the 750GB Caviar Black I had to RMA, because the UPS carrier left the box on the front step & there was a hole in the corner of the box, only a layer of brown paper kept the HDD from being exposed. Nowadays, the drives are shipped in a plastic case with end caps for protection (just as the recertified HDD arrived in 2010), although this is likely the way these are received from WD, rather than action on the part of Newegg.

As far as receiving recertified drives under warranty goes, that’s the way it is with many consumer purchases. What do you think about when the transmission went out on my 2001 Toyota Solara & hadn’t even made the 2nd payment yet? While surprising, considering being a Toyota, what was more so was receiving a remanufactured unit over a new one. When I seen this on my invoice at pickup & objected, they told me to read the warranty terms, at their discretion, depending on parts availability, they reserve the right to replace with new, remanufactured, or tested working components (pulls). And that these components are still covered under their warranty.

So far, have been lucky, the transmission has performed flawlessly for over 16 years, although consider myself lucky & have regular maintenance performed every 30,000 miles (old fluid flushed & refilled with new). At the dealership, they only drain what’s in the pan & top off, where I now get work performed it’s done right. Point being, regardless of component replacement, unless stated otherwise, most will receive recertified over brand new, the same applies to SSD’s. Sometimes, depending on corporation, the recertified replacements are tested more so than brand new models, this is why the Apple store gives only a small discount on these computers.

In closing, maybe my luck has been much better than others when receiving recertified replacements.



Shipping damage was not the problem either. I am hyper-paranoid about any signs of shipping damage to hard drives and will not hesitate to send one back if it is not packed properly and/or the shipping box shows any hint of damage. In my case, the drives were sent in special boxes lined with custom bubble wrap enclosures.

Since the idle noise issue appears to affect most newer WD hard drives, regardless of color or capacity, it is only logical to assume that the idle noise “functionality” is hard-coded into the firmware. Personally, I believe it’s a surreptitious form of planned obsolescence designed to wear out hard drives faster by keeping them as active as possible, especially when idle.

I happen to be a highly-skilled auto mechanic, and there is a huge difference between remanufactured and recertified. A remanufactured product is fully disassembled and any worn or damaged parts are replaced with new ones. In the case of an automatic transmission, it almost certainly means that a brand new set of clutches and bands were installed, in addition to other miscellaneous parts.

On the other hand, a so-called recertified hard drive is not disassembled, nor does it receive any new parts. If any part of a hard drive is defective and/or failing, it may not be caught during testing, assuming that a manufacturer even bothers to properly test it.


Same “chunking” noise here on my 4tb black. I’m so sick of it. WD tech support acts like they have never heard of this issue. I’ve called several times and they always want me to run their diagnostic program which has never offered any clues.

I’m about to wrap the drive in bubble wrap and use an extension cable and put inside a beer cooler.

Comments appreciated


I have the same or a similar problem. My PR2100 is about 18 months old. The problem of the repeated noise seems to have started with the most recent firmware update to version 2.30.193. This is on a PR2100 with two 6TB drives in RAID 1 mode. WD support has had me to a quick test (all OK), system test (all OK), reboot, 4 second reset, 40 second reset, and you may have guessed, none of these made any difference. Each time I reboot the log indicates the Media Scan was interrupted. Since I was traveling, I believe this constant activity of Media Scan continued at one point for 9 days uninterrupted.

I’m not sure how to interpret the SMART data. The Current/Worst values for drive 1 are:
Raw_Read-Error rate: 200/200
Spin_Up_Time: 203/196
Start Stop Count: 95/95
Reallocated Sector Count: 200/200
Seek Error Rate: 200/200
Power On Hours: 88 (this doesn’t seem to ever change.
Numbers are similar for the other drive except its Power On Hours seems to always be 83/83.

Other than the constantly repeated noise (with blue light flickers), the drives appear to be functioning OK. I have about 3TB of data on the drives. The data is backed up to other drives. I’m thinking of doing a complete reset and rebuild of the data although I suspect it is a bug in the most recent firmware update related to the media scan.

I have about 1TB of photos and 1TB of movies. Any suggestions beyond starting over?


Problem solved! I took a Photoshop class and for some reason decided to try something in Lightroom. Lightroom created over 100,000 files from my photo library (1 per photo file). I deleted the Lightroom folder from my private share and the public share. So 200,000 fewer media files on my PR2100. Now my PR2100 is resting comfortably.


Hi all,

I have 4x Western Digital Gold 6 TB (WD6002FRYZ) which are new for my NAS, and their idle tapping and chunking sound is driving me crazy. Besides the idle sounds, they are also extremely noisy when actually R/W. Please see my thread, which I believe is pretty much the same issue discussed as in this thread: Recurring "clucking sound" every 5 seconds (Western Digital Gold)

Now, I have considered returning these drives to the retailer, and thought of getting HGST DeskStar 6TB “v2” drives. I have the HGST DeskStar 4TB drives since 2015, and have been pleased with them. However, as Western Digital drives nowadays seem to be based on HGST technology, would I in fact be getting the same noise with the “v2” 2018 DeskStar drives?


In my opinion, yes. See my following post from this thread and judge for yourself.


WD and Hitachi are the same now…

Only Seagate and Toshiba are different manufacturer.
Seagate made some bad drives these last years but try to improve quality only one recent Seagate drive and the first one head crash after 15min but the second run well and Toshiba no recent experience on their drives.

Search old Hitachi drive or old WD drive without this function :slight_smile:


This is very old news, and they’re both a definite NO in my book. WD Blacks were once my go-to hard drives, but not any more.

Seagate is also a definite NO in my book, and have been that way for about 20 years. As for Toshiba hard drives, they’ve proven to be both quiet and reliable… so far.


Which drives are you using currently? Is it one of the Toshiba drives and are you happy so far?

I need to make decision on which drives to get for my Synology NAS. After having chunking-sound problems with my WD Gold 6 TB Drives and returning them, I’ve been without proper backup for over a month now. The drives were also very noisy just as-is (notwithstanding the chunking-sound), so I was planning to give WD Red Pro a chance as they supposedly have lower noise levels than the WD Gold (The HGST UltraStar are identical to the Gold). Hoped to find WD Red Pro at a discount rate on Black Friday, but in fact they are at a very high price level now, which really makes me want to find alternatives. I don’t really trust Seagate either.


I use Toshiba X300 6TB drives, and having owned them for more than a year, I’m happy with their performance and noise levels. In fact, I hardly notice them at all, as it should be.


Thanks, I just noticed that you had referred to the X300 previously in the thread – sorry for being redundant.

Do you use them in a NAS or a computer? I’m assuming the X300 are for PC use and not continuous r/w, e.g. NAS use?

I might give the Toshiba N300 (NAS) series a try. Good to hear that the X300 are very silent. I checked the acoustics specifications on the N300, and judging from the spec sheet alone, they are a few dB noisier in idle mode compared to WD Red Pro, but are a couple of dB less noisy when comparing write mode. (Based on the assumption that the spec sheets are accurate).


I use the Toshiba X300 series hard drives in my WD PR4100 NAS and they have performed flawlessly for more than a year. However, I do not use RAID, so your mileage may vary. I have not used the Toshiba N300 series hard drives, but know they were introduced 1-2 years ago, unlike the X300 series which have been around considerably longer.