Worried about my WD drive

Hi there.

I built this computer about eight months ago, so I’ve had the drive for about that long. It’s a 1.5 TB Caviar Black drive. It has always had moments where it has a little grinding noise to it, it always alarms me but I try to calm myself down with the many posts I’ve seen from others with the same issue who have said the drives are typically noisy.

However, more recently it feels like things are a little more sluggish than usual and the drive tends to grind somewhat loud when I’m using it intensely, such as when I am doing a virus scan. (however, it is not a consistent grind) I’ve done several tests on it, including the tests in WD Data Lifeguard and everything says it’s fine. I’ve also looked at the SMART values and all the programs list them as “OK”. I’m not too certain on how to go about reading the values myself and I was hoping on a bit of insight… The main values I am worried about are the uncorrectable sector count and the reallocated sector count. Can anyone confirm or deny my worries? I would greatly appreciate it.

SMART attributes image

SMART values looking real good. I don’t see a problem here.

What you’re hearing might be just disk thrashing due to frequently accessed data being thrown all over the place. Now the disk has to work overtime to get it all in a timely fashion.

It could also be the built-in scanning many WD disks do, as part of wear leveling and internal surface testing. This starts if the disk left idle, and eventually stops on its own. Yep. It sounds like a heavy grinding noise.

Keith- Thank you for the response. As I said I’m still not too sure how to read the SMART values. Given that you said they look good, I assume I’m supposed to be looking at “raw value” as opposed to “value”? I didn’t think 200 uncorrectable sectors sounded good.

That puts my mind to ease a little bit, but there’s still the fact that when it does grind like that it brings my normal computer usage to a halt. I know that when you’re doing something intensive like a virus scan it can really affect the speed of normal activity but it seems like it’s worse with this hard drive. IE: Alt-tabbing would hang - the window would be stuck on my screen for several minutes after alt tabbing, explorer had other freezing issues - navigating through the file system would freeze up at times, Firefox would just completely hang up in the middle of browsing. Again, I can understand being slower during a virus scan, but it’s never really seized up like that on previous hard drives I’ve used. And it only gets that bad when the grinding is happening. Is that a normal thing for these drives? As long as it’s something normal I can deal with it and just not use my drive while scanning. I’m not complaining about it if it’s a normal thing, just worried.

Thanks again.

The next step is going to be determining what (if anything) is accessing your disk. Perhaps the system is indexing or paging or doing something else. One hint is if the disk activity light is lit up and flashing. On my personal disk. If it makes noise, and the light is off it means the disk is doing internal wear leveling and testing. If the light is on or flashing, there is data transfer activity between it and the computer.

Instead of me explaining how to do this, why not read the following articles? They recommend free software from Microsoft. And the tools discussed are most excellent and non-invasive and non destructive.




Erm… Thank… you?

I know what is accessing my harddrive when the grinding happens almost all of the time, and in this specific case it is my anti-virus, Microsoft Security Essentials. What I am trying to ask is if the freezing and lagging associated with the grinding noise is a normal thing for these harddrives.

Not trying to come off as rude or anything, as I appreciate your help and advice but I did not ask anything about what was accessing my harddrive, only why it goes so slowly when something does.

If there is data access that is directly causing noise, grinding or otherwise, that’s just a result of heads going back and forth. If anything was out of tolerance in the mechanicals, you can be assured this disk wouldn’t be working

A caviar black disk is going to make more noise than a green disk or red disk. A black disk is closer in construction to an enterprise disk. And in enterprise disks noise level takes a backseat to performance.

I’d be looking to see what *IS* accessing the disk. Yeh I hear you about using MSE. What about anything else? Any RAM-to-pagingfile activity?

The lag you describe, that’s worrysome. But also at the same time, it is an opinion. And exactly how much lag and noise is actually happening is open to interpretation. I also don’t know how fragmented your disk is and how the files are arranged on the platters. That makes huge difference in how much the heads move. There’s a good program from Disktrix – http://www.disktrix.com/about.php – a graphical file placement optimizer. It’s one of the few low-cost utilities that actually does something! And thus the noise level and lag might get reduced if the files are in order.

Heck it could even be driver issue or a sector alignment issue. Not an alignment issue in the sense like you’d adjust, but something related to the 4k advanced format disk. I’m guessing on that idea. You can read more here – http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/library/WhitePapers/ENG/2579-771430.pdf – and if anything you’ll have read a 2 page document and learned a little something.

You can ask 5 different people and get 5 different suggestions. One thing for certain is the SMART data looks fine. And I’m inclined to belive the disk mechanically sound. It can also be as simple as not having write caching enabled or like I said before, indexing could be on and working overtime for some reason. I’m not sure what else to suggest, perhaps someone else reading this thread can chime in?