Periodic Noise from Head Movement WD Black 4TB

I recently purchased eight 4TB Black drives. I noticed that all 8 of them do a periodic head movement every 5 seconds (approx) even when idle.You can hear a quiet “chunk” and even feel it if you touch the drive. This happens even if they don’t have a data cable connected (just power is connected). All of them seem to do it. WD phone support didn’t seem to understand what I was talking about.

I have seen other posts about this issue, and there were no clear answers (previous posters seemed to RMA the drive). But in the other posts, there was only one driving exhibiting the behavior. I find it unlikely that 8 separate drives would do the same thing if it wasn’t a design thing. I was putting 4 of them in a RAID, and during the initialization (which took hours) they still did the periodic “chunk…[5sec]…chunk” but each one was doing it at a different time. I initially thought that the RAID initialization was doing it, but then did some further testing and noticed it even when they have the data cables disconnected.

Has anyone ever gotten a definitive answer about this?



We have passed this along to support. Someone will contact you soon.

Hi everybody. I had a great talk with someone in Level 3 tech support who explained what’s going on.

Apparently the sound I’m hearing is PWL - “Preventive Wear Leveling”. It’s a periodic head sweep to distribute lubricant and prevent wear in a particular place if lubricant were to build up in one spot. On many older models, this would happen maybe once a minute. But on some builds it’s maybe every 5 seconds. My drives are WD4004FXWX 4TB Black drives.

Hope this helps.


Thank you for providing your follow-up with Level 3 Tech support!
That is extremely helpful for the community.

I recently purchased four Red Pro 6 TB HDD (WD6002FFWX) which are doing the same thing. Unfortunately the “chunk” noise that happens every ~5 seconds when idle with my HDD is much much much louder than any other noise the drive makes during activity (and is certainly not quite). I can actually feel the vibration through my desk from the multi bay raid enclosure…

It is nice to know what is going on, as I had originally assumed the drives were defective. Although after living with the noise for the last two weeks…it might be a bit more than I can handle…


I just spent 600 dollars on 5 wd red. I’m going insane from this noise on my desk every 5 seconds.

Who the heck thought this was a good idea? That was the last time i bought wd.

At least give me an option to turn off this torturous sound wd.


Could you post your model number of your drives and the manufacturing date?

If the Reds are making this annoying 5 second click in addition to the Red Pros and Blacks, that is a real pain! I just purchased a 6TB Blue drive and at least that is nice and quite during idle…although not really suitable for raid purposes…

Wow…I’ve got 8 of these things in two machines and you can hear them do the “chunk”, but it’s not what I’d consider really loud. I think it also has to do with the enclosure…They’re in rackmount PC cases with some sound deadening treatment inside the cases. And my machines are in a computer closet in a different room from where I work so the sound doesn’t affect me at all.

I have an 8tb Gold drive and that doesn’t exhibit the behavior btw. Perhaps worth spending the little extra $$ on a Gold drive? It wasn’t an option for me since I needed 8 drives for the raids.

8T(red) I bought Jun 2016 had the chunk issue. Another 8T(red) I bought Sep 2016 didn’t have the issue. I checked the firmware are same. Who can tell the reason?

I can’t hear any out of the ordinary noises with this drive, and haven’t noticed any unusual chunk or clunk noises. I do have it sitting in a Define R4 case, though, so I can’t hear the drives at all unless they do some serious rapid head movement.

To me it sounds like a perfectly normal, and healthy, hard drive. (Esp compared to my 2 year old Seagate drives that sound like they’re scraping the heads across the platters every 30 seconds).

I’m having the same issue with a brand new WD4004FZWX drive. Every 5 seconds of idle, it clicks.

I’ve owned lots of WD drives before, and I’ve never had anything like this (at least not as frequent as every 5 seconds!).

Is there any way to disable it, or change the interval to something a little more sanity-preserving, like 5 minutes?

WD Gold 4TB wd4002fyyz The same bahaviour and fast increasing s.m.a.r.t counters…
WD RE (1 and 4 TB) works more stable and only crackle on the load, not on idle.

RE: WD 4.0TB Black WD4003FZEX

I just got a replacement drive via RMA thinking my original one was defective. Now I know why the new drive is making the same clunking noise every 5 seconds or so. The clunk is annoying especially because I have a very quiet machine and environment. It’s amazing how it grates on my nerves :slight_smile:

As someone else mentioned, is there a way to turn off PWL or at least make the driver quieter?

Firmware Version: 01.01M02

I am hearing the same 5 second chunking noise too. I contacted WD Tech. Support and was told that it should not be making that type of noise when idle and that I should have the drive replaced. I am waiting for Amazon to ship my new drive but it sounds like this may be a new norm. for the drives.

Western Digital, if you are monitoring this forum please respond to this issue so we do not continue replacing drives for this issue.

The problem I have with it is even when I setup a huge 5 hours of data transfer, I can still hear the heads do this 5 second cycle. Makes absolutely no sense when the drive is being used for it to continue doing the seek.

After talking with the Level III tech person, he indicated that he was planning on posting something permanent…like in the FAQ section regarding this phenomenon. According to him, it’s completely normal and will ultimately extend the life of the drives…


My issue is the fact that one end of Western Digital is telling you one thing and the other end is telling me something else… ie… Have the drive replaced… Also, I have a problem with them taking approx. 6 months from your original posts to put something of this magnitude on their website which they still have not posted for clarification of the issue/non-issue.

Seems really stupid of Western Digital considering the number of drives that are being warrantied due to this. I know I am not the only one sending mine back for the 5 second noise.

I returned my drive. In a near-silent computer, it was driving me crazy. This kind of thing should be configurable.

It’s the first time in 10+ years that I’ve had to buy a Seagate drive, as it seems all the WD drives (and also their subsidiary, HGST) now exhibit this issue/‘feature’. I’ll gamble on the reliability of the Seagate rather than try to put up with unnecessary noise every 5 seconds.

Could not agree with you more… Based on all the reviews and comments here I think a replacement will be a waste of time. Hopefully not but I will post back after I get the New Drive.

I just contacted WD again due to not wanting to change out my drive unless absolutely necessary. The WD rep. told me that the drive should not be making any (not normal sounds every 5 sec and should just be normal sounds like my 13 other HD’s) and recommended I proceed with the replacement. He also said that if the new drive is making this noise I should contact them again about it. I made him aware of this thread on the forum and he said he would escalate the issue and hopefully we will get an official response from WD on this.
I hope this helps and we do get an official response.

I just forwarded this to the Level III guy I spoke with last year. I have doubts that it’s a defect – I mean, what are the odds of 8 drives having the same exact defect? I have a feeling I’m going to regret asking that question :wink:

I’ve got 8 of these things in a RAID (4 each on two machines) that are constantly being monitored by the RAID controller. Haven’t had any issues (it’s only been 6 months) but the SMART data all look fine. I haven’t seen any movement from that.


Dobster, Any word back from the Level III guy?

I found this today, not sure when it was published, but it confirms what both of the WD techs. told me about the 5 sec noise.

Abnormal drive sounds include:
•Clicking or clunking sounds that occur repeatedly