Strange Laptop Drive Noise: “Whoosh”

I recently upgraded the 320G 7200RPM drive in my ThinkPad T400 to a 500G 7200RPM drive.  The new drive works, but intermittently makes a really annoying “whoosh, whoosh…” noise.

I had a perfectly fine Hitachi 320G drive in the StinkPad, but it was rapidly filling up with virtual machines.  I intended to upgrade to a 500G Hitachi, but they were out of stock at NewEgg.  I ended up ordering a Western Digital Scorpio Black WD5000BEKT from Amazon.

I cloned the old drive to the new with Acronis True Image Home 2011: Cloning Hard Drives With Acronis.  The new drive performs a little better than the old Hitachi, so that was a plus.  It runs fairly cool, and is mostly pretty quiet.  Mostly.  From time to time it starts making a “whooshing” sound that is plainly audible in a quiet room.  It isn’t quite constant, and is random enough to be very irritating.

It isn’t the normal rotational noise, or the head actuator “click”.  Both of those are present, but not particularly loud.  The “whoosh” may be associated with head actuation, or perhaps disk activity in general.  It sounds somewhat like the disk RPM rising and falling, but I don’t know if that is actually what is happening.

Apparently this has been an issue going back several years: Does your WD 320GB or 500GB hard drive make ‘swoosh’ sounds?

I contacted WD support, and they said the drive should be replaced.  Amazon replaced it promptly with another drive that did exactly the same thing.  Amazon let me return that drive and I’ve now installed the Hitachi that I wanted in the first place.  It’s a 7k750-500.  Fast, cool, and quiet.  Nice.

Update 2011.08.04:  Yike.  That 7k750 drive is an Advance Format unit with 4k-byte sectors.  Big fun: Windows Update Broken After Cloning Hard drive

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3 Responses to Strange Laptop Drive Noise: “Whoosh”

  1. iroberto says:

    imho wd hds suck

    – you get what you pay for (generally!)

    having said that, i recently had a month old toshiba 500gb 7200spin fail after about 20 hours of use :-/

  2. Luís Fernando Quitaiski says:

    Hi!
    Mine used to do it too. I managed to stop the whoosh sound by installing hdparm and shutting down the power management of the disk.
    Running “hdparm -B 255 /dev/sda” (which will shut down the power management) solved the problem. The only con is that you have to run it every time you boot the machine, so, I created a script to do it automatically just after I log in.

  3. Pingback: Cloning Hard Drives With Acronis | GeezBlog

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