Strange noise coming from 10TB drives (WD100EFAX)

Larger capacity disks tend to be slightly louder when the head assembly tracks back and forth. This is normal. In a NAS box the resilvering can be noisy until it is done.

Yes, bigger drives are usually louder. But this noise is not caused by scrubbing/rebuilding/resilvering, that’s when the drives are not making the sound.
So this specific noise is caused by something else, it might be related in some way to aforementioned things, but not from the processes itself.

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The spindle drive is very quiet, most of the sound is the head assembly. If drive is making noise, copy data from it immediately as that suggests a failure is imminent.

This thread was created two years ago, the drives are still working perfectly fine, no errors what so ever. The noise does not resemble any noise associated with failure. The noise is quite unique to these drives as far as I know. I have never heard a HDD noise like this until I bought the drives in question. And if you read the thread I’m not alone.

The noise, which is so annoying it pierces your soul, does, by all accounts, seem to be a part of the normal operation of the drive. It’s not connected to drive failure. There seem to be link to raids, but the noise have been reported to make an appearance outside of a raid if my memory doesn’t fail me.

So as I’m writing this, the exact source of the noise have not been located. The might be a link to raid and it seem to be more common when the drives are doing less work, if you stress the drives by starting demanding processes, like raid scrubbing, it disappears, but only for a while.

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BabaBooey made a great response to your posts. You should read that.

In the future, maybe your should read the thread before posting. Just a thought. :wink:

Upd: it seems something happened with my both drives (WD80EFAX). They stopped producing this weird sound. Since Apr. 2020 there’s no more beeping. Victory? Yay?

The mystery deepens :sweat_smile:

I must say I was very happy to have found this thread. Special thanks to @BabaBooey for the excellent summaries in between and toward the end of the thread.

I’m suffering from the exact same issue. I have no new insights but nevertheless want to share my story:
I use a QNAP TS-453Be. EXT4. 4 bay. Always used WD Reds. I’ve used 2 WD40EFRX and 2 WD100EFAX. The two 10tb disks were just used as single volumes. About one month ago, I sold the 4tb drives and swapped in 2 12tb WD120EFAX. And that’s roughly when the exact same humming noise started! After my upgrade the two 10tb drives are used as RAID1 the two 12tb are used as single Volumes. The noise appears round about daily. When I bring my ear to the box I guess the noise comes from the 12tb drives (no Raid) but I am not 100% certain.

During the upgrade I also added QSirch (Qnap’s quite resource intense indexing and search service). I am disabling it just to check if the situation improves. I have read the whole thread so it’s unlikely that this will help the beep-sound issue (as people observe this sound with very little services running / or on fresh new NAS).

So: Once again thank you for checking and detailing all these theories.
I’ll keep an eye on this wonderful thread maybe the root-cause will be discovered :wink: .

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Hmm… After updating OS on my NAS it starts doing it again, but much longer (~30-60 mins). BRUUUUUUUUUHHHHH~!!!

Hi everyone

Just been setting up a new DS920+ with 2 WD120EFAX 12TB Red drives, SHR-1 BTRFS. I did a Hyper Backup from my old Synology (about 2TB) with the new disks making the normal noises over the 2 days it has taken to backup and restore. As soon as the restore completed (I know as I saw the notification pop up), the famous noise started (I think from both drives, can’t be sure) and continued for a few minutes intermittently. It’s now settled down to the occasional soft clunk sound that it normal.

On the first day I installed Docker and a couple of other things. There are no media servers or anything driving traffic set up yet.

I did specifically buy these drives because their spec says they a much quieter than smaller and larger drives, and the equivalent Seagate Ironwolf. I’m not sure that the famous sound is producing dBA more than the spec, but it is certainly noticeable. I initially thought I had a DOA type problem, hence searching and finding this thread.

Luckily I can find somewhere out of the way to put the NAS.

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I’m experiencing the exact same sound. I’m on a Synology 415+ with 2 x 2TB greens and 2 x 8TB reds WD80EFAX. They are all in a SHR-2 array with btrfs. I’m definitely hearing this from the reds… In my case however it’s clearly triggered from software as it always happens at the same time every day and for 10-15 mins.

So currently trying to figure out how to log disk IO per process to see if I can catch the culprit. Running a good amount of dockers so guess it would be difficult sifting through everything searching for some schedules tasks.

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Thanks for the information :smiley:
If you ever finds out which process that triggers WD reds to produce this sound, it would be very interesting to hear and maybe it can bring us closer to the cause of it.

So after posting, I removed all torrents both from download station and transmission. Uninstalled several unused package like media station, photo station etc. Even rebooted the NAS. Evenso it just happened again at the exact same time.

That leads me to conclude that it happens at a very specific time on the clock, and not just relative to the boot time.

Thanks for looking into it :slight_smile: I’m using a QNAP system. The noise also seems to come roughly at the same time every night/evening.
Many people kind of hinted it could have something vaguely todo with torrent loads. But who knows.

Would be really great if someone could find the piece of software triggering it.

The plot thickens :sweat_smile:
Perhaps it could mean that some scheduling in the firmware is triggering something, which has been brought up before. And if a process is doing something with the drive, and by accessing the drive we interrupt that process in some way.
I will try and make a note when I hear the noise, and see if there is a pattern in my case.

I wish WD’s engineers could just tell us what this is, and if we can do anything to mitigate it, or better yet if they have any plans to do anything about it.
But after two long years, it’s just a fools hope.

Surely the WD firmware is not aware of the clock?

Didn’t find anything of use in the log files. Looking into logging any new process spawns and disk IO per process. However a bit limited by the stripped down linux distribution on synology.

Probably not, if so, maybe it gets it from the computer?

Perhaps it’s an internal counter? I.e. counting from when the drive was started.

If you’re getting this daily at the same time, how about shutting down the NAS for a couple of hours and then see if the noise also moved the same amount of time.

By started You mean first power up?
Because rebooting the NAS did not move the time.
However in the past it has been just past noon, but is now just after 6pm.
Have been hearing now and then outside this time, but 6pm ish is alway there.

Set up some logging to capture all processes making disk IO.
And although the noise came right on queue, logs didn’t show anything unusual.
Leads me to believe it happens on a lower level, and not regular disk read/write on the disk.

Also, several have reported, that it does not happen on all disks at once, but in sequence.
If it was some process writing to the raid array, all disks should do it at the same time.

Didn’t really believe that it could be the case. The NAS runs my home automation, so can’t leave it off for hours.
However I tried turning off the NAS for roughly 15 mins. And the sound has now indeed shifted by the same amount of time, starting 15 mins later. So could in fact be an internal counter, because doesn’t seem to be related to the power on time.
I guess just doing a reboot doesn’t do anything, as it doesn’t cut power to the drive. But shutting down completely does.
Wondering why this only seems to occur in the NAS devices…