Hard Drive Access Noise

Questions about hardware,drivers and peripherals
Forum rules
Before you post please read how to get help
Post Reply
Greg-NZ
Level 1
Level 1
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 6:23 am
Location: Dunedin, New Zealand

Hard Drive Access Noise

Post by Greg-NZ »

This may be a complete non-issue, but...

I have an HP laptop running Ubuntu 9.04 and Linux Mint 7 on separate partitions. When I am running Linux Mint, the hard drive (HD) makes a quiet but clearly audible noise whenever it accesses data. This wouldn't bother me, if it were not for the fact that it makes no noise at all when I am running Ubuntu. Under Ubuntu, the HD access light flashes, but no noise is heard.

Does anyone know why the access noise would be different depending on the OS and the partition?
“The Linux philosophy is 'Laugh in the face of danger'. Oops. Wrong One. 'Do it yourself'. Yes, that's it.”
(Linus Torvalds)
User avatar
lagagnon
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 1878
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 7:38 pm
Location: an island in the Pacific...

Re: Hard Drive Access Noise

Post by lagagnon »

If that really is the case, and I have never heard of that before, it probably means that you have a failing hard drive on the sectors associated with the Mint partition. I would seriously now backup all your important data. Then do the following:


-in a terminal type "dmesg | grep -i error" and show us if you get any output
-go into your BIOS setup and make sure SMART hard drive diagnostics is enabled and when you boot see if you get any error messages
-download and boot the "UltimateBootCD"
-find out exact make and model number of your hard drive ("cat /proc/scsi/scsi") and use the Ultimate Boot CD to run hard drive diagnostics on the make of your hard drive
Greg-NZ
Level 1
Level 1
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 6:23 am
Location: Dunedin, New Zealand

Re: Hard Drive Access Noise

Post by Greg-NZ »

Hi, and thanks for your suggestions.

The machine passed the HDD self-test that HP have built into their BIOS setup menu. It also passed both the quick and the comprehensive test on the UltimateBoot CD, so I would normally conclude that the HDD is fine. The command dmesg | grep -i error does return a message, which is

[ 19.491558] [drm: i915_setparam] *ERROR* unknown parameter 4.

I have no idea what this means, but from Googling it I see it is not uncommon.

Could it be simply that the drive is noisier when accessing a partition that is on a different part of the disk(s), e.g. on the outer surface? Or are partitions not localised in that way? (I don't know much about hardware!)

Thanks in any case for letting me know about the UltimateBoot CD, which is a great collection of tools.
“The Linux philosophy is 'Laugh in the face of danger'. Oops. Wrong One. 'Do it yourself'. Yes, that's it.”
(Linus Torvalds)
User avatar
lagagnon
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 1878
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 7:38 pm
Location: an island in the Pacific...

Re: Hard Drive Access Noise

Post by lagagnon »

Yes, possibly, because partitions set aside specific block areas on the disk. The reason I was concerned is that new unusual HD noises are indicative of failure. Check also that there is not some process continuously accessing the drive to cause the noise. I'm happy for you that your HD passes the tests.
Post Reply

Return to “Hardware Support”