I have a 5-year old hard drive (bought new at the time), but it was sitting in my closet for 5 years, unused. I have just started using it, and seems to be getting a whirring sound (rather distinct from the other noises like fans etc.). I ran a few diagnostics tests, like Seagate's SeaTools, and the SMART test, and a few generic tests and all passed. Should I be concerned? Is there any other test that I should run?

It's an internal IDE Hitachi Deskstar 5400RPM drive. Being used for a desktop, which is itself pretty high-end (AMD Phenom II X6 1100T, AMD Radeon GPU etc.), but would be used rather occasionally to begin with (avg. 1-2 hrs. per day).

Thanks for any pointers.

  • What kind of drive? Server or desktop? What's the RPM?
    – Basil
    Mar 29, 2012 at 17:21
  • Added more details in the OP.
    – Samik R
    Mar 29, 2012 at 17:27
  • Maybe the whirring is just the sound of the motor?
    – Bigbio2002
    Mar 29, 2012 at 17:53
  • unplug the power from the drive and see if the noise remains.
    – RobW
    Mar 29, 2012 at 18:18
  • @RobW: Can you tell me some more about this (haven't done anything like this before)? Should I disconnect power from the drive before booting up? The drive is then not supposed to operate w/o power, so no sound either. Isn't that true?
    – Samik R
    Mar 29, 2012 at 20:36

3 Answers 3


No, but don't use it for anything that can't be easily recovered until it's had a few months to burn in. Once you're past those months, it's extremely unlikely to die, statistically.

  • Google has written several papers on this, one of which is here, but Basil is right: Hard drive failures follow a bathtub curve.
    – voretaq7
    Mar 29, 2012 at 18:49

Western Digital offers their Data Lifeguard tool to do advanced diagnostics WD DLG Download can be done here. It is listed for a VelociRaptor but works in Windows for all WD drives. the advanced test will take some time but will report any issues. Have seen SMART report OK but advanced test find an issue.

  • Sorry, I just checked and the HDD is Hitachi Deskstar. Do you think the DLG can still be used? Any idea if Hitachi has something similar? Sorry for misleading earlier.
    – Samik R
    Mar 29, 2012 at 21:53
  • Hmm .. Hitachi seems to be "a Western Digital company", whatever that means (Well .. I guess it means WD bought Hitachi some/long time ago). Not sure, if that means I can use WD DLG tool on it ...
    – Samik R
    Mar 29, 2012 at 21:58
  • OK - I ran WD DLG anyways, and both the quick test and extended test passed. I guess, then I will go by Basil's advice. Thanks.
    – Samik R
    Mar 30, 2012 at 5:26

When the smart does not show up anything special, then the drive itself thinks it's ok. There are no other tools to make more tests.

But disks don't like to get placed in another position when they have already been running for years in one position.

  • "running for years in one position" - you mean to say, not running at all? :-)
    – Samik R
    Mar 29, 2012 at 17:30
  • There are other tools from most HD vendors.
    – Dave M
    Mar 29, 2012 at 17:50
  • @DaveM Many (though not all) of these tools just run SMART tests and report the results. Only the ones that do data-destructive testing really give you an idea of the drive's health beyond what SMART reports, at least in my experience.
    – voretaq7
    Mar 29, 2012 at 18:37
  • 1
    @voretaq7 I have used the tools from WD and Seagate and while they do SMART as a basic test, they go beyond that and can do so without destroying data. There is a destructive test but the non-destructive usually helps.
    – Dave M
    Mar 29, 2012 at 18:42
  • @DaveM cool - the last time I used WD's tools was many years ago, and all it could do was SMART and a read-test (which only reports a failure if the SMART subsystem realizes there was a read error). If they've improved that's a good thing.
    – voretaq7
    Mar 29, 2012 at 19:04

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