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Three brand-new hard drives - Loud Clicking Noises

by Harv / January 20, 2005 6:34 AM PST

I have installed 3 brand-new 80GB Maxtor internal hard drives in my computer. Every one of them makes a loud clicking noise like a geiger counter, when scanning the registry and files for viruses, spyware, etc. The last hard drive I installed even makes clicking noises, when it's booting up, and an HD monitoring application called HDD Health shows a T.E.C. (Threshold Exceeded Condition) date of 2/15/2005, which indicates the new HD could fail anytime soon.

HDD Health uses S.M.A.R.T. to monitor hard drive soundness. In all three cases, it indicated a degradation in seek time performance and a combination of other errors, although my pc always booted and ran normally with no detectible glitches.

I originally purchased the Maxtor HD from an online company, but subsequently decided to deal directly with Maxtor, when the second installed drive made the same loud clicking noises as the first one. A Maxtor customer service rep I talked to asked me to put my telephone receiver right up to the pc tower, so that he could hear what kind of sounds I was complaining about. He confirmed that the sound was due to a defective hard drive and that I should return it to his company for replacement. Well, the new hard drive they sent me is even noiser than the two others before it.

When I called Maxtor about the replacement drive, a different customer service rep told me the noise was normal and part of the hard drive's seek process.

Has anyone had the same experiences with noisy Maxtor drives like I described? Is this normal for all Maxtor internal HDs? I can't believe the noise is normal, because the original IBM H/D that came with my Dell computer never made any noise at all. Should I return the latest Maxtor H/D for another one, which would make it the fourth one, or should I try a different brand like Western Digital?

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by Brent Welch / January 20, 2005 7:31 AM PST

There is a program than allows you to change settings for Maxtor drive acoustics. Searching the Maxtor site, I see they no longer offer it for download.

Info about it can be found at: http://www.tweakhardware.com/guide/maxtor-noice/

The download link does not work.

You may be able to find it still available with a Google search. If not, contact me through my profile, and I can email it to you, Harv.

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Is this just an acoustical problem or a sign of malfunction?
by Harv / January 20, 2005 8:27 AM PST
In reply to: SETACM

Thanks for your reply to my dilemma, Brent. However, I'm more concerned about whether the loud noises are an indication of malfunctioning HDs rather than surpressing the noises.

Have you had any prior experience(s) with Maxtor drives exhibiting loud clicking sounds? Is it the nature of their hard drives?

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by Brent Welch / January 20, 2005 8:56 AM PST

The Maxtor drive in my 1st Dell computer was whisper quiet. Others Maxtor drives that I've used since are louder, although I wouldn't really say they were overly so. Using the Maxtor program made them nearly silent. I currently have 4 Maxtor drives from 1-3 years old, and no failures to date. I also have a WD drive that is louder than my Maxtor drives.

My opinion is that this is likely an acoustic problem. I've had no problems with Maxtor reliability.

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Think the problem is more than just noise.
by Harv / January 20, 2005 11:32 AM PST
In reply to: Re:

The situation is not very encouraging at all, as HDD Health, the hard disk monitoring application on my pc, shows a bad reading (-2) for Seek Time Performance including a -59 reading for an Unknown Attribute, resulting in a T.E.C. date of 2/16/2005, which means eminent HD failure sometime very soon. Sad

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Older Seagate
by cliftons81 / April 26, 2005 4:12 PM PDT

I have several HDD's which I have purchased over the years (most of them have been Seagate

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Clacking drives
by Bienb / October 11, 2006 8:40 AM PDT
In reply to: Older Seagate

Late or not, a reply is always a welcome thing around here.

From my experience, WD (Western Digital) and Maxtor have been great drives during the pre-2Gb days. After that, Seagate took over the reliability contest.

Nowadays, I wouldn't use Maxtor(worst), IBM (terrible), and WD (bad) in any of my units. These three would give out those clacking sounds, which are an indicative that the drive is about to fail (even when new).

My 20GB Seagates though 4 years old still work, though do become slooooow with age. At least they're not clacking! I change them when I notice a degradation in speed. No data loss in most of them though, unlike data loss all the time in the other three brands due to total failure when you least expect it.

I'm trying out the new Samsung drive in one of my unit. Samsung do make reliable products, and I'm betting this drive would be pretty good. I could be wrong though, LOL. We'll see in a couple of years...

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Noisy Maxtor Drives
by Daboniel / March 2, 2005 11:13 AM PST

I have had a couple of Maxtor drives and they are the most noisy drives I have ever had. But I will say this, they have never died on me.
God Bless!

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by Splicer / February 25, 2005 6:55 AM PST
In reply to: SETACM
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SETACM - here you can find it
by sttsstts / April 18, 2005 4:24 AM PDT
In reply to: SETACM
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Will this work for a SATA Maxtor DiamondMax Plus9?
by SenojNW / April 25, 2005 4:32 PM PDT

Hi - just found your post and would like to reduce the amount of noise coming from my Maxtor - SETACM.exe doesn't really seem to be supported from the Maxtor site therefore I am wondering whether it will work for my SATA drive?

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Harv, It's Not Normal...
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / January 20, 2005 9:18 AM PST

...although it is strange that you've had the problem with 3 drives. Most of the replacement drives that we get are not Maxtor...(Usually Western Digital because they're cheap. LOL) We've had a few Maxtors, but I've never had that kind a problem. When booting up or running a defrag, some drives will make a slight amount of noise, but I sure wouldn't call it a "clicking" noise...

Either way, since your diagnostics tests are showing problems and you continue to get bad replacements, I suggest getting your money back and trying another brand.

Hope this helps.


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have Maxtor 80GB
by dawillie / January 20, 2005 9:50 AM PST

slight noise on boot only.

Harv it could be a fan noise?

have you cleaned them out?

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No, that isn't the cause, as
by Harv / January 20, 2005 11:17 AM PST
In reply to: have Maxtor 80GB

I used canned air to clean out the interior, when I installed the first HD. And, the geiger counter clicking sound is definitely not the fan. Other than the loud clicks, my pc is working fine at the moment. But, I am very concerned that the HD will fail again soon, as indicated by HDD Health's S.M.A.R.T. readings. Sad

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by ddbpack / January 14, 2006 12:12 PM PST

return maxtor drives! they have had a real bad run of them!

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Maxtor diagnostic test indicate
by Harv / January 20, 2005 11:08 AM PST

Grif, I ran a diagnostic test suggested by a senior Maxtor technician and it indicated there was no HD defect. But, why does HDD Health keep indicating T.E.C. date of 2/16/2005? :|?

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Harv, Strange...I Stand By My Previous Comments...
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / January 21, 2005 4:15 AM PST

There really shouldn't be any loud clicking...I'd return them.


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I have a Maxtor 60G...
by Toohotruk / January 21, 2005 4:13 PM PST

My Maxtor 60G is very quiet, there is a very faint sound when it's being defragged, but it's barely noticable. That was the thing that most impressed me about the Maxtor when I got it, was how quiet it was.

I would return it as well.

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i have the same problem
by Eitan_spread_peace / February 24, 2005 9:42 PM PST

ya... in my dell inspiron 2650 whenever i boot up my computer it makes a clicking or beeping noise... pretty lowd too, but i think its only been doing that since i opened up my computer to replace the keyboard...
if anybody can help me too! please!

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Re:have the same problem
by delduke / February 24, 2005 10:08 PM PST

Why did you open your computer to replace your keyboard?

Regarding the clicking noises. Whenever I had a Maxtor hard drive that had a loud clicking or clacking noise the drive failed soon. When the new 7200 RPM drives start up they can make some noise but loud clicking or clacking is not normal.

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T.E.C dates...
by Edward ODaniel / January 22, 2005 2:34 AM PST

i wouldn't bother placing too much faith in Panterasoft's HDD Health program's T.E.C. dates as they tend to change. If you uninstall the application then reboot and reinstall you will normally discover the date has changed.

The manufacturer's hard drive utility is most generally a better and more reliable indicator of drive "health".

I have several Maxtors and for me they are all silent. For others who sit at my computers however the drives are invariably noisy and "make strange clunking sounds". The difference? I can't hear nearly as well as most people. All of my Maxtors have been making the same sounds for their entire lives and are still going strong. 7200 rpm drives do tend to be noisier than 5400 rpm drives.

Vibrations caused by the specific manner in which the drive is mounted can make a difference in sound level also.

Sometimes the Acoustic Management Utility (AMSET and it can be accessed here http://maxtor.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/maxtor.cfg/php/enduser/olh_adp.php?p_faqid=1200 ) will help if the noise level is bothersome.

This management tool for IBM will work on Maxtors too:

The noise most people complain about is the SEEK noise and not the drive bearings as they fear.

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Re: T.E.C. Dates
by tx1138 / February 22, 2006 10:25 PM PST
In reply to: T.E.C dates...

As I understand it, TEC dates are a prediction that critical HDD parameters will exceed a level that are considered to be a sign of impending [theoretical] failure.
However, the unreliable nature of TEC dates diminishes progressively as the amount of data gathered increases. Hence it takes any of these predictive applications time to gather sufficient data for an accurate TEC prediction. This is presumably why reinstallation following an install produces different TEC predictions, since the available data set is smaller after installation than it was previously and hence the prediction is not the same.

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Have same problem/issue
by nastymind567 / February 8, 2005 9:22 AM PST

I have a 160GB and an 80GB maxtor in my system both making a loud fast clicking sound much like a geiger counter. I had a frend tell me that maxtor drives were loud so I put this down to being the price you pay for a cheap drive, however having thought about it after reading this post I think you may be onto something with the drives being deffective.

In my home there are 3 other systems using maxtor drives 2 only use 40GB drives so I put the lack of noise down to them being so small, but the other uses an 80GB and there is never any noise coming from it. However

I would not worry to much about it if I were you I've had my PC for 2 years and the the 80GB the whole time, its never failed me (except when I murdered my MBR with Linux but thats another story and wasn't too difficult to fix, thank god for FDISK) anyway the 160GB is only 6 months old and still covered under warranty so it it fails I'll get my money back. I would recommend getting another manufacturers drive and maybe pay a little more, it'll be worth it in the end.

Maxtor is to Sony as Gola is to Nike (dont worry if you dont know what gola is thats the point)

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Just for the heck of it...
by DrMicro / February 8, 2005 2:01 PM PST

If you can, change out the power supply, or take any one of your clicking hard drives out and put it into another working pc. Although it's possible you can have four bad drives, it stretches the imagination more than a bit. I once had a similar problem and it turned out the culprit was a defective power supply that was putting out bogus 12vdc and 5vdc levels.

worth a try, anyway.

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My thought as well
by fivecentfamily / February 25, 2005 1:53 AM PST

This was also my first thought when I heard about this problem.

A defective or under-powered power supply can cause all kind of odd problems in a PC - from HD problems to video card problems.

Three failed hard drives in a row is just too much of a coincidence.


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What is your PSU
by Wolf_10 / February 8, 2005 3:34 PM PST

Do you have enough power, is what I am asking.

3 new drives that all click? Something doesn't add up.
Maxtor is well known for being quieter than its competion. Another poster said remove one. I would remove two then try it. How new are they? Are they new from ebay? Drive that were dropped to the ground have little chance of lasting long, although they could work for a while.

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Same problem - just Maxtor loud seek noise?
by amcg / February 22, 2005 8:35 PM PST

I bought and installed a Maxtor DiamondMax 10 160Gb drive last week. I've actually removed it and repackaged it to send back to the vendor for testing because the seek noise was so loud. Describing it as a geiger counter is an excellent description.

Its noise while idle is perfectly acceptable but its noise when performing any operation was so similar to that you'd get from a knackered old PC that I was very worried I'd got a defective product.

Is there any point in my sending it back if this type of loud clicking is just normal for Maxtor's seek noise?

p.s. It's extra obvious to me because I've put it in a SFF cube pc... Sad

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No need to send the drive anywhere...
by Edward ODaniel / February 23, 2005 5:17 AM PST
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So let me see;
by Spockva / February 25, 2005 9:02 PM PST

So these guys go and download the AMSET utility, which changes the parameters of the seek travel in the drive so it no longers slams into the stops at the end of the travel or reduces the speed of the motion slightly so the noise is less noticeable. Seems to me the manufacturer should have made the drive quiet to begin with. I have a WD 120GB hd and not only can I just barely hear it running, but the only time I even hear it seeking is when it is really looking hard for something, like during a search. The sound it makes is like a geiger counter, but it is so quiet you actually have to have your ear close to the tower to hear it at all.

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Different strokes for different folks...
by Edward ODaniel / February 26, 2005 12:15 AM PST
In reply to: So let me see;

as what is "critical" to one user isn't to a multitude of others.

The issue boils down to the simple fact that it is COSMETIC and not any actual symptom of problems with the drive.

A man bought a Rolls and christened it Sir Churchill with a bottle of French champagne.
His neighbor bought a Continental and christened it Mr. Lincoln with a bottle of NAPA valley champagne.
Another neighbor bought a Ford F150 and christened it Teddy Roosevelt (the Rough Ridin' SOB) with a bottle of Pabst Blue Ribbon.
All were satisfied but the F150 is still running strong while the other two spend their lives in critical care facilities.

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No, a healthy HDD should not be making any noise in working.
by Alex Tang / February 24, 2005 7:26 PM PST

I have had been using a Maxtor HDD 40GB since Feb 2001. Never noticed any clicking sound as you have described. Anyway, this HDD had its life two weeks ago (could not boot up). I've replaced it with a Seagate 120GB and up & running happily.If I were you, I'd return all the Maxtor HDDs that you've got and ask for your money back. Consider using other brands, you can do well without a Maxtor.

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