Hard Drive Making Noise When Idle (Why and How to Fix)

Hard drive making noise
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When your computer seems to make whirring, buzzing, and clicking noises, when the culprit idles, then, maybe a problem with your hard drive. Someone might get worried whether these noises are normal? Or are they noises of impending doom, a hard drive that is about to malfunction and maybe has the potential to erase precious files of several years?

If you have recently noticed that your hard drive seems to be making a lot more noise than you have been used to, when idle, this can signal several things, which not all are bad.

This article will discuss noises your idle hard drive may be making and what those noises mean. We will also view some of the solutions to quiet an idle noisy hard drive, and we are hopeful that we will solve the problem without considering any replacement.

Are idle hard drives supposed to make noise?

Data in computers is stored in the form of blocks in the hard disc drive. The blocks may be held together or may not be. However, when separated from each other, the hard drive will have to locate them from separate corners. This requires the drive and needle to move a lot even when it is idle as long as it can access the data.

The movement inside your hard drive makes it vibrate just a bit, and this is entirely normal. But in a situation whereby a computer case is having contact with your hard drive, the vibration becomes amplified and very loud. However, it can be a frustrating sound to listen to, and it does not indicate any issue with your hard drive.

HDD noises that signal a problem

Although your idle hard drive may make some noises that are no cause for alarm, there are other annoying noises that you would not like to hear from your hard disc drive. It is a sign that your hard drive is heading to the dumpster, and you have to take some precautionary measures to save your data files before losing them forever.

1. Grinding

If you hear some grinding noises originating from your computer, first check your fans. But in a situation where it is not and seems to arise from your idle hard drive, this could be a real problem starting. Probably it is from a head crash, or it may be from reading/writing head rubbing on your hard drive platter.  Either way, you will have to back up your data and switch off your computer before your data is lost.

2. Clicking

Typically, clicking is a noise you will get to hear from your hard drive as it tries to perform complex park operations such as switching off.  If you hear constant or repeated clicks from the idle drive, it is probably a sign of a bigger problem. For instance, the hard drive repeatedly attempts to restart. Switch off your computer and think about how you can back up data before it is lost.

3. Beeping

You usually don’t expect to hear beeping from your idle hard drive. However, if your drive is behaving, it is possible that it is seized and can not spin any longer.

4. Scratching

This is another noise that it’s annoying to hear from your idle hard drive. However, if you listen, it could probably mean that the read/ write head is dragging on your platter idle hard drive, where all the information is stored. Usually, this is a significant problem that can permanently destroy your platter, and as a result, data is lost.

5. Buzzing

Sometimes a drive that is vibrating and is pressed against a computer casing has a possibility of having a buzzing noise.

Viewing the health of your hard drives

Viewing the health of your hard drives

As mentioned above, we have seen noises that your idle hard drive should or shouldn’t make. So let’s determine if your hard drive is getting damaged or not. You can view this through the computer’s operating system. In case you have mac and windows, the process is a little bit different. So we shall look at each differently. We will also cover the external hard drive. Maybe the noise could be coming from it.

1. Internal hard drives

Go to windows and check the command prompt window from your start bar. Then type WMIC into the command prompt window then enter. Type disk drive, you will get status hard drive noise. If your drive is healthy, the command will reply OK. In case you encounter a problem in getting that information, the hard drive is destroyed. In such a situation, you need to back up and prepare for replacement.

Mac-launch disk utility, which is in your utility folder in applications. Choose the mac hard drive from the left side menu, then click “first aid.” Next, click “verify disk,” then let it run. The window will indicate OK or maybe whether it needs a repair. If it has a “repair disk,” click it, then let the computer attempt to repair on its own.

2. External hard drives

They are a bit different from internal drives. Firstly you will have to check if external the hard drive is getting an adequate power supply. Plug the power cable from the external drive directly into a wall outlet.

The drive should spin, and the light should turn on to show that the drive is receiving power. Next, check the USB cord which connects the hard drive and ports which you are also connecting.

A window should launch which indicates all your connected drives. If your external hard drive doesn’t show up, then the issue is more significant, and you need to contact the manufacturer of your external hard drive.

Ways to quiet idle noisy hard drive

Before you do any operation on your hard drive, ensure your data is backed up because you may end up losing all information without an option to get it back.

1. Use rubber to quiet vibration

It is a simple and inexpensive way to fix those noises by cutting thin rubber strips and using them between the hard drive and computer case.

2. Defragment and optimize the drive

This is a way of bringing separate data blocks together; this makes it easier for the hard drive to gather them all instead of locating them differently. In addition, this optimizes the hard drive, which reduces the amount of noise.

3. Check computer fans and clean them

In a situation whereby fans are hitting any debris that has gotten inside, that could be the source of all the noises in your hard drive, which is idle.

4. Take to a professional

After you have exhausted all the options and your hard drive makes noise while idle, I admit the issue is complicated, and it is high time to pay a professional to fix it.

You Might be Interested to Read: How to Fix Hyper 212 Evo Fan Noise.


Sometimes hard drives make some annoying sounds that you would not like to hear when idle. Some noises may be expected, and others indicate signs of a damaged hard drive. Follow the ways mentioned above, such as using rubber, defragment and optimizing drive, checking computer fans, cleaning them, and taking them to a professional. You will be able to reduce or fix entirely the noises originating from your hard drive while it is idle.

Be attentive to the tips discussed above, and your hard disk should become quiet when idle. If the hard disk produces noise, you should redo the steps to ensure you didn’t do anything wrong. Refer to the user’s manual provided when you purchased your gadget.

If the procedure still appears complicated, you should get aid from a professional. When you have a problem with your hard drive, a skilled expert will help you determine whether you should repair the issue or change the hard drive.

If you want, you can check this video below. It may helpful for you.

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