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Windows 7: PC Freezes then HDD makes clicking sounds.

05 May 2016   #1
Devadip

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit.
 
 
PC Freezes then HDD makes clicking sounds.

Hi!

I created this post because I'm worried about the fact that my PC seems to kill my HDDs. I bought it about 4 years ago and I had to replace the HDD two times in about 3 years. My SSD drive also broke down for some reason...

Lately, I started experiencing some minor freezes when I open applications such as Google Chrome and even some folders in Windows Explorer. Shortly after the freezes (about 2-3 seconds) you can hear the HDD ticking lightly and everything comes back to normal.

The entire PC never really freezes. It's more like a software thing. Google Chrome and windows explorer would hang for 2-3 seconds until you can hear the ticking and then everything is back. It's not very frequent but when it happens it's kinda annoying.

It never freezes when I play games or when I'm using an application. It seems like it's sometimes triggered when I open a program.

I felt like I was cursed lol. I lost 3 disks in 4 years (Kingston, WD and Seagate). My PC is a Gateway FX6860 and It's a good thing I got a 3 year warranty... What would be the problem? Thanks for your time.


-Devadip


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 May 2016   #2
RolandJS

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

I have only a couple of wild guesses: either the desktop needs some cooling help [we added a room fan to our den because the AC is weakest there] and/or the powersupply is underpowering the desktop somewhat. Meanwhile, this hard-drive is close to failing, I hope you have current restorable OS partition and data partition backups.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 May 2016   #3
alphaniner

Windows 7 Professional x64, Arch Linux
 
 

Unfortunately, I think your current disk is on its way out. Clicking from an HDD is never good or normal. Most HDD vendors offer a utility for testing their drives. I'd look into that right away... after backing up any valuable data.

Things like browsing folders and opening applications generally involve reading from disk, so it's not too surprising those actions could "cause" freezes if the disk is going bad. OTOH all but the simplest games need to read from disk from time to time while they're running, so it's surprising you never see issues when gaming.

If your PC is killing drives, it's probably not in a way you'd expect. Temperature is the prime suspect as it can seriously affect the lifespan of HDDs. It's not such a big deal with SSDs, but one failed SSD isn't enough to draw any conclusions. Most modern HDDs and SSDs permanently record the highest temperature they experience. The diagnostics should allow you to access that information.

Otherwise, well, the only things connected to drives are the motherboard and power supply. I've never heard of a motherboard being the cause of disk failure (that doesn't mean it's never happened or can't happen!) and power supply issues would probably have other symptoms.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 May 2016   #4
townsbg

Windows 7 pro 64-bit
 
 

At one time I kept having a hard drive go out which thoroughly confused WD. It turned out to be a bad power supply. I changed that and had no more fried hard drives. A bad PSU could also cause freezing and random shutdowns. But yes a ticking sound on a hard drive is a bad sign. Backup your data and download the manufacturer's diagnostic tests making sure to run the most comprehensive one.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 May 2016   #5
Devadip

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit.
 
 

Hmmm... I suspect my PSU is to blame. However, I replaced my old GPU for a Sapphire Dual-X Radeon R9 280 about a year ago. My old GPU was a GeForce GTX 560 Ti (a blower GPU) and my new one is an open air double fan GPU.

The new GPU was generating much more heat due to it's design, but I didn't really care back then. After noticing that my GPU temp stayed at 77-78 while under load, I decided to install a side fan who worked as an intake. I did some minor modifications to the side pannel because my case was not designed for a side fan.

I should've done something about the air flow earlier. I kept using my PC even if I had no intake fan (only the rear exhaust fan and my mounted cpu cooler). It must've damaged my HDD because of the heat my new GPU was generating...

What bothers me is the fact that my failing HDD problem goes back to the time I had my older GPU (and unmodified system). This is what makes me wonder if my PSU is the main cause...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 May 2016   #6
townsbg

Windows 7 pro 64-bit
 
 

With multiple hard drives from multiple manufacturers going out I'd say it's a safe bet that it is your psu. Now that I think about it in my case I had 2 hard drives and only one of them kept going out.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 May 2016   #7
Devadip

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit.
 
 

I'll back up my data and I'll scan all my drives I guess. If everything comes up fine, I'll have to test my PSU.

My HDD does not "click" really... It's more like a 0.5 seconds subtle spinning/buzzing noise. I'll still back up my data though. Backing up is life lol.

Btw, how do you effectively test a PSU anyways?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 May 2016   #8
alphaniner

Windows 7 Professional x64, Arch Linux
 
 

I'm not aware of any way to effectively test a PSU without specialized equipment. A multimeter is the bare minimum, but you can't get a whole lot with just that. See the "Basic power supply troubleshooting" section of JonnyGuru's Power Supply FAQ. But even at that basic level, it can be dangerous if you have no experience working with electricity.

Check out some power supply reviews there at JG if you want an idea of what's involved in effective testing.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 May 2016   #9
RolandJS

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

I have used Everest Home Edition from time to time, however, I do not remember if it really tests the power supply per se. Again, I mention: add a room fan if the room is somewhat warm throughout the year. You did good adding an extra fan! In my Pentium III MMX [we start bombing in five minutes], I added two or three small fans, it was noisy, and it was cool!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 May 2016   #10
Devadip

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit.
 
 

Ok so I did an extended test on my HDD with Western Digital Data LifeGuard Diagnostics and everything came up fine.

Again, I doubt that heat is the problem. My PC is in the basement so it's always cool. The only thing I don't like about my case design is the fact that it has no exhaust on the top. I would've added a fan to evacuate the hot air, but I can't really make room for a fan + I'm out of 3 and 4 pin connectors AND molex.

I've also monitored my temps and everything seems ok, thanks to the intake side fan I installed. Now I have to test my PSU. I'll check out the options you proposed and I'll keep you in touch.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 PC Freezes then HDD makes clicking sounds.




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