There are a few noises you never want to hear. Right up there on the list is a funny noise from your hard disk drive. A scraping, grinding, or rattling noise means there is definitely a problem. Before we examine what might be causing these noises, there is a first priority. If you have no current backup, it’s the first thing you should do, starting with the most critical data files first. If you act immediately when you first hear a strange noise, you have a very good chance of backing up before the hard drive fails.
OK, now that we have a backup we can try and troubleshoot the cause of this noise coming from your hard drive. Hard drives have several moving parts. The platters (where the data is stored and read from) spin at tremendous speeds measured in RPMs. Even a slow hard drive these days goes at least 5400 revolutions per minute. The spindle that the platters sit on also spins at that speed. Then you have an armature that moves the device that reads the platters that constantly moves from the outside edge towards the center.
Any of these moving parts can wear out and start making noises. You can’t really replace the interior parts due to cost and methods so your only choice is to replace the computer drive. Like I mentioned above, if you immediately act as soon as you hear the first strange noise, your hard drive may last a little longer. Many new hard drives come with software that can easily transfer your entire drive contents to your new one. So it’s a huge advantage of transferring the contents from a working drive to the new disk drive.
Moving the contents is a huge time saver since you won’t need to reinstall your operating system and any other software applications. And there are many other pieces of data like your email, address book, Browser Favorites, and even passwords or network settings. You never realize how much stuff you have on your computer until you lose it. Moving the entire system software and data is much easier and you won’t lose anything.
If your hard disk doesn’t come with software to copy the contents of your old drive to a new one, there are a couple good software programs that you can buy to do it. My first choice would be Acronis Migrate 7, it runs about $40 and can be used to make a backup image too. There are other programs out there but none as easy and bulletproof as Acronis.
If it comes to replacing your computer drive, there are certain aspects of your original drive that you want to check to make sure the new one is similar. Most times you can increase the size and the speed of your new hard drive for better performance and more data storage. Let say you had a 250 Gig SATA hard drive, that runs at 5400 RPM that is going to fail soon by the sound of it. You can easily get a 500 Gig SATA drive that runs at 7500 RPM (the faster it spins, the faster you can store and retrieve data) for around $65.
So you just doubled your storage capability and increased your access speed considerably. These new hard drives come with very simple instructions on replacing your old one. If the software that can copy the entire hard disk drive comes with your particular choice it will have information on exactly how to do this, often step by step instructions. Acronis Migrate 7 also includes complete instructions and are designed for even a novice user. And Acronis has great support too if you have any questions.
So if you hear a hard drive noise, the time to act is right then and there. Immediately backup all your data first. Then as soon as you can, buy a replacement drive and install it. It will be a minor issue. But it you ignore the hard drive noise, I guarantee you will have a much bigger problem and probably lose some important data.