Strange noise coming from 10TB drives (WD100EFAX)


In my experience there are no good alternatives. I’ve tried several 10TB drives from other manufacturers, all of which are too noisy under normal operation. Even though the WD drives have the noise problem, it’s not noisy 24/7.
So it’s a choice between pestilence and cholera, I chose cholera(WD).

I recently bought a bigger flat, so I’m gonna place the NAS in a storage room so I won’t be bothered by the sound anymore(hopefully).


I don’t have any experience as it’s my first NAS (see my posts above) and went with WD drives for their rather silent specs (which is quite true in itself, 20 dB idle / 29 dB seek).

If not for that recurrent 5-ish seconds seek noise, I wouldn’t hear it at all, and yet the NAS in under the TV in the living room. But after a few months now I tend to not be annoyed as much as before.
It’s specific to WD’s larger drives capacity (8TB+ iirc), so ultimately I could always get lower drives capacity. I’m not proud of getting used to it, I just wish I knew it beforehand eventually.

As for the humming sound, it’s definitely based on a fixed schedule after reboot time. It’s been 2 months since last reboot (it was around 11am) and I don’t witness the humming sound anymore during the day nor the evening. (and I’m most of the time around now with the homeworking stuff) … so that’s at least a workaround I’m proud to have found :slight_smile:

Other brands might not have that “humming sound” described initially here or the recurrent seek noise but as stated by BabaBooey, it seems to not always be quiter in the end (and I managed to make non-measured comparison with couple of friends having a NAS as well, WD drives remain really quiet).

My conclusion on this : unless going full SSD which is still very expensive for NAS storage equivalent to HDD, there’s no ultimate solution but only trade-off regarding the noise level. 8TB seem to be in between the two worlds for that “noise vs storage” ratio. I had hopes in those Helium drives but it’s not magic still. I have now accepted my living style in a 2-room appartment is not suitable for my “home IT power usage” …

I’ve turned off + on my NAS at 11 am today. I’m very curious now :wink:
Thanks for the hint anyway

in my case, I found out that the time between power on and the first time it makes this strange noise is 9,5 hours.
So if I turn on my NAS on let’s say 6PM, the noise will be in the midst of the night - so I will not longer experience any inconvenience from this noise during the day. (I hope)

I was so delighted to see I’m not alone with these beeps, thanks for starting the thread!

I had the same issue with WD140EMFZ 14TB drives (at least one but maybe both). Disk(s) beep 1-2 tones higher but the symptoms are the same. Beeps come and go, sometimes I don’t hear them for a month then they come back. But a few days ago it started to be once every few seconds and this persistence drove me nuts.

Disks are inside HPE Microserver Gen10 Plus running latest debian (so not a Synology, nor QNAP). I stopped all possible services, no luck. Then I disabled writeback for all my bcache devices (set to writethrough) and all beeps are gone (for already 6 hours). iostat shows roughly same average figures as before.

Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s very interesting, please report back if the changes you made had a lasting impact :slight_smile:

Hei Guys,
finally i found a thread for this annoying sound… I have this for over a year now with 2x WD120EFAX-68UNTN0 in Raid 1.

I found out that if you start the broken sector scan for both drives simultaneously the noise will disappear until this task is done. This doesn’t help a lot but maybe it is a hint.

WD Support won’t help me and points to

This sound is so annoying, i need a solution or i will hit these harddrives with a hammer soon. I remember we had a similiar issue in our company where the driver developer just could not hear the high pitch noise…

Wow, so they still don’t even admit that this issue exists?! I see no mentions of beeping sounds on that support page, only clicking ones. I think I’m going to steer clear from WD products in the future. Their drives are good, and these sounds don’t bother me at all, but I find this attitude unacceptable. They could at list write a small support page saying these sounds are normal and caused by some internal maintenance going on…

To add on this, I also witnessed the noise to temporarily stop during any heavy disk-write operation, but I didn’t dig further that way to not artificially impact the disk longetivity. Luckily I managed to have it in the middle of the night, but I noticed after some intensive Docker manipulation, the beeping sounds was happening at a different time.

Consequently, it definitely sounds like some kind of background internal check tied to the internal architecture/firmware or whatever it could be. I dare a WD representative to officially acknowledge this mechanism instead of avoiding the topic; but I feel it “might” be an aftermath of the whole “5400RPM class @ 7200RPM” confusing label, hence the absolute lack of acknowledgement on this by WD.

I’m definitely not going with WD for any future needs

■■■■, I think my two WD120EMFZ also affected by this problem. I searched the internet for hours because I thought my drives might be damaged and die sooner or later. Something that makes you search the internet for hours, because it makes you think it is damaged, is not normal and expected. I explicity bought those drives because they were supposed to be quiet, since my server has to run in my appartment. It’s also nasty, since the noise wasn’t present the first couple of weeks

Do you guys have alternatives for quiet 12-TB-ish drives? Gladly also from other manufacturers?

I have been reading a bit of this very long thread through, and seeing the frustration radiate from all those who are experiencing strange sound issues with their WD drive. I simply can not understand that WD is not open, and inform about what is the reason, especially in a forum like this, dedicated to WD products.
If you got a serious explanation that you could relate to, then you could partly live with the sound, but especially calm down, so you do not go and are worried if there are, or will be, serious problems due to there “unknown” sound problem.
See for example this thread

it is also several years old, but does not have as much traffic as this, maybe because not many people use 2Gb drives, but the problem is exactly the same. It’s really really annoying, yes I have no words for it, that one can not be informed the reason for what is the cause.

I have been using the WD Red 8TB 5400rpm 128MB SATA3 disks in a RAID 5 setup with a LSI hardware RAID controller (OS ESXI 6.7) since May 2018 without any issues. Since two weeks the disks are starting to make the (inf)famous beeb sounds. The hardware RAID controller does not report an issue.

After a power cycle the beep sounds disappear for a couple of hours and then return. During disk activity it’s gone, so it looks as mentioned above some kind of idle / firmware process. Maybe moving data from bad sectors?

Nope. Zero bad sectors reported by SMART, and yet this sound happened on a daily basis when I had the disks in the NAS with RAID-1. Then NAS died (looks like a PSU failure, has nothing to do with disks), I moved the disks to the PC, and the sound is gone.

My (now three, 14T+14T+16T) disks also have zero bad sectors and I still have these beeps.
What I also figured out is that it’s indeed a daily pattern and the day starts when I power on the machine. My next guess is also around a daily self-check or self-healing or something similar, though I couldn’t figure out the exact culprit routine based on the S.M.A.R.T. data.

A couple of months ago I powered the server on at 10pm after performing a maintenance and for the next weeks these noises during our evening movies time annoyed me so much that I set an alarm to 2 am, turned the server off and on. It sits in the living room so moving these beeping time to the night solved my inconvenience.

Thanks for sharing your findings, it’s very helpful :slight_smile: