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Extertnal USB drive clicking

BenG
Grafter
Posts: 202
Registered: ‎22-08-2007

Extertnal USB drive clicking

hi I got my PC around 3 years ago and there was a sale on with external hard drives for £50 that were 1TB so I got one anyway the drive has been fine bur the last month of so it been makeing a clicking sound it only lasts for about 4 seconds then stops but is out different intervals any ideas what it may be?
8 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,915
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Registered: ‎14-07-2009

Re: Extertnal USB drive clicking

Hard drive clicking sounds are a common symptom of imminent hard drive failure.  This audio clip has a range of different hard drive failure sounds
-FQ
BenG
Grafter
Posts: 202
Registered: ‎22-08-2007

Re: Extertnal USB drive clicking

Yer mine sounds a little like the first sound, a chugging train, Think I start backing up sure it should have lasted more the 3 years though still can't moan for £50 at the time, it an iomega one to
Community Veteran
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Registered: ‎10-06-2010

Re: Extertnal USB drive clicking

I've got a 3 year old 1.5TB iomega external usb drive (containing a Seagate Barracuda LP) that always used to click, clunk and chug a lot, but it does that far less after I upgraded the drive's firmware (from CC34 to CC35). You have to take the drive out of the usb caddy and install it internally to upgrade the firmware. At the same time I also put a jumper on the drive to set it to 1.5Gbps SATA, because I saw that the drive appeared to be operating at 3Gbps but the datasheet for the usb-sata bridge chip only claims to support 1.5Gbps. It also seems to behave itself better if I switch it on and allow it to warm up for half an hour or so before using it.
Technically speaking, this drive has already failed according to the SMART data, due to having 3975 reallocated sectors, 3% remaining. The failure threshold was 36% remaining. I get the impression the drive only stopped reallocating sectors because it has practically run out of spares. Despite all those reallocated sectors, the drive still actually works about as well as it ever did, I can read and verify any of the files on it.
Community Veteran
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Registered: ‎01-08-2007

Re: Extertnal USB drive clicking

Hard drive clicking and clunking is not a good sign. It usually means there is trouble ahead so don't trust it.
I would never touch an iomega drive as they're all useless and die suddenly. I wouldn't even touch iomega with seagate drives in them -the physical disk may be made by seagate but it could be do iomegas design / specs and may still fail early due to that alone.
I have a usb buffalo drive that has been problematic. It's rarely used these days to be honest but I also have a usb seagate drive that has been hassle free, sits on the desk connected to the router via usb and shared on the network. It gets its fair share of use and so far (touch wood) has been very reliable.
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: Extertnal USB drive clicking

Quote from: ejs
At the same time I also put a jumper on the drive to set it to 1.5Gbps SATA, because I saw that the drive appeared to be operating at 3Gbps but the datasheet for the usb-sata bridge chip only claims to support 1.5Gbps.

If the disc controller only supports 1.5GBs then the drive will be running at that speed, it cannot run any faster and setting a link to limit the speed makes no difference in your case. When you connect a faster drive to a system it negotiates the fastest speed that both ends can support. That is how a SATA III drive supports SATA II and SATA I interface speeds and a SATA II drive (in your case) supports SATA I speeds.
Quote
It also seems to behave itself better if I switch it on and allow it to warm up for half an hour or so before using it.
Technically speaking, this drive has already failed according to the SMART data, due to having 3975 reallocated sectors, 3% remaining. The failure threshold was 36% remaining. I get the impression the drive only stopped reallocating sectors because it has practically run out of spares. Despite all those reallocated sectors, the drive still actually works about as well as it ever did, I can read and verify any of the files on it.

A sure sign that the drive is having problems. You should not rely on that drive for any backups if I were you as it could fail at any time.
Quote from: BenG
Yer mine sounds a little like the first sound, a chugging train, Think I start backing up sure it should have lasted more the 3 years though still can't moan for £50 at the time, it an iomega one to

Check the warranty on that drive on the manufacturers website, some drives come with a 5 year warranty so you could get it replaced.
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Registered: ‎10-06-2010

Re: Extertnal USB drive clicking

Quote from: Peter
If the disc controller only supports 1.5GBs then the drive will be running at that speed, it cannot run any faster and setting a link to limit the speed makes no difference in your case. When you connect a faster drive to a system it negotiates the fastest speed that both ends can support. That is how a SATA III drive supports SATA II and SATA I interface speeds and a SATA II drive (in your case) supports SATA I speeds.

The hdparm command indicated 3.0Gbps speed was supported and enabled before putting the jumper on the drive. Perhaps the hdparm command is not accurate over usb bridges, it's indicating my newer hitachi drive has 6.0Gbps enabled, and the pdf datasheet for its usb bridge only says 3.0G.
Quote from: Peter
A sure sign that the drive is having problems. You should not rely on that drive for any backups if I were you as it could fail at any time.

The drive only had media files copied onto it from several other older smaller drives (which all still work), later I got a 2TB drive. It's been in the imminent failure / already failed yet still working state for ages! Iomega gave it a 3 year warranty if you registered it online, I decided it was not worth the hassle of getting it replaced, it's over 3 years old now.
It's probably somewhat different if the drive has suddenly started clicking, rather than always did. Although if you didn't test the drive thoroughly when you first got it, and only gradually filled it up, you might never have used the sectors towards the end of the drive until now.
Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
Posts: 13,758
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Registered: ‎27-04-2007

Re: Extertnal USB drive clicking

Useful link @ReedRichards I've got an old IDE drive that's doing a similar thing, I don't intend on trying to recover it for use bit there's some old data on there I'd like to get back. If it comes down to trying to take out the platters and put them in a different housing then I might not bother as I'd have to construct some kind of dust free environment to work in, not sure if all the effort would be worth it, BUT tinkering with such things can be fun Smiley
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 Adam Walker
 Plusnet Help Team
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: Extertnal USB drive clicking

hdparm tells you what interface speeds the drive is capable of running at, not what it is actually running at.
Fitting the 1.5Gbs limit link would then stop the drive reporting it could run at 3.0Gbs.
IDE, SATA, SCSI all support interface speed negotiation where they decide what the best/maximum speed they can run at.