My Book Studio FW800 makes constant clicking noise when idle


I’ve have a 3TB My Book Studio FW800/USB 2.0 external hard drive for about 6 months. It now makes a consistent clicking or “knocking” noise when spinning but idle. It seems to have gotten louder for the last few months. It sounds very similar to the loud noise older hard drives would make when you would write or read to them. Its really loud - not something I can stand having on in my studio - in which I sometimes record music.

Activity monitor and another app called MBBench that shows disk activity show no reading or writing to the disk when I’m hearing this noise. And spotlight is not indexing.

Oddly, when I copy large amounts of data to or from the drive it actually gets quieter while copying the data - which means the noise i’m hearing is not the normal write/read noise. It’s as if the head is constantly moving around spastically when the drive is idle or something. When the drive is powered, but not spun up (ie unmounted) the noise does not happen.

It makes the noise when connected via Firewire or USB, on both of my macs - which are 3.5 years apart in age.

Is this normal? Reviews of the drive i’ve read don’t mention this sound at all. I ask because of this situation:

So - I figured my drive was going to die soon and I ordered an advance warranty replacement - so now I have a 2nd one to copy my data onto. The new drive was beautifully quiet - at first. After a reformat and partitioning into the two partitions I want using disk utility, and then an overnight copy of all the files from my old WD drive, I come back in the morning and the new My Book Studio warranty replacement drive is making the same horrible noise when idle!

Just because i am curious, I tried reformatting the new drive - that did not help.

The new drive has up to date firmware (old one does not anymore). I did quick drive tests on both drives with the WD utility and both passed. Both drives also pass disk utility verification.

Is this warranty replacement drive bad also? Have I such bad luck? or maybe is something else going on?


Hi and welcome to the WD community.

There are many variables that could amount to a drive emitting unusual sounds when powered on. If the Disk Utility test is completing successfully, as a troubleshooting step, connect the My Book power cable directly to a wall socket and the USB or firewire cable directly to the Mac. If possible also try connecting the My Book to another Mac to verify if the same problem continues. Follow the link below for other steps you can try. 

How to tell if the noise or sound the drive is making is normal


From that link, I would characterize this sound as closest to “Clicking or clunking sounds that occur repeatedly” in the Abnormal category.

I have tried the drive connected directly the computer (not though hubs or daisy chain). It makes no difference to the sound.

I have tried with two different macs. It makes the noise with both.

Matter of fact, the drive makes these noises even when not connected to a computer. I can make the drive spin up by plugging it into wall power and a 2nd firewire hard drive that is also not connected to a computer. The drive spins up - probably because it sees another firewire device to try to connect to - but, since there is no computer in this setup, there is no possibility that the sound is being caused by data access. Meaning the drive is definitely making these sounds on its own - not as a result of any commands from a computer.

Most reviews i’ve seen of this product online have been very positive - many people saying it is very quiet compared to other hard drives. With this clunking sound, my WD my book studio (and the warranty replacement) is louder than all 4 of the other external drives I usually run combined.

Also, what should I do if the warranty replacement drive is bad? Should I complete the normal warranty replacement process and immediately request another warranty replacement, or is there another protocol to follow?

I’m not tech support but it seem like the My Book is beginning to show signs of failure, if possible backup all of your important files. I recommend you to contact tech support directly by email or phone, they can answer any questions you may have. Follow the link below.