A place for opinions and notes of a valibuk.

Clicking Sound of Hard Drive on Dell Notebook

Tagged with: — ondrej at 1:05 am on Sunday, September 24, 2006

Arrrrgh… It was like a torture! The harddrive in an only-few-days-old notebook (Dell Latitude D820) was producing an annoying clicking sound.

Click… 10 seconds…. CLICK…. 9 seconds…. CLICK

I had an idea.. CLICK probably the harddrive is parking its head (it remembered me a sound from a very old Seagate harddrive — the first one that parked its head itself — well, it was more like CLICK RATATATATATATATaaataaa…a…). CLICK.

Firstly I tried to play with hdparm -S253 /dev/sda, but nothing CLICK helped. I tried to call hdparm -y /dev/sda (put IDE drive in standby mode) and it produced exactly the same CLICK sound.

I tried to find anything on forums of Dell CLICK and Western Digital (the producer of my harddrive). Some harddrives were really broken, some of them CLICK needed a new firmware.

I started the setup of the notebook.. and… CLICK was there too! I was afraid that the harddrive is really broken. I started Windows… and the harddrive was silent!

So I checked the hdparm --help and found a parameter CLICK that helped: :)))

Run this as root (/dev/sda points to my harddrive):

  1. hdparm -B 255 /dev/sda

You should see the following output:

  1. /dev/sda:
  2.  setting Advanced Power Management level to disabled

[added on July 4, 2008]
To set this setting after every start of your notebook (for drive /dev/sda), add (or change) the following line to the /etc/conf.d/hdparm file (Gentoo):

  1. sda_args="-B 255"

Enjoy the silence :)

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Comment by Click

April 6, 2007 @ 4:45 am

That did it!

Comment by Click No More

June 26, 2008 @ 1:10 am

Same problem on brand new DELL Inspiron 1420 with Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron).
Annoying click Hard drive sound stopped after disabling Advanced Power Management…
This laptop is so quiet now…
Thank you so much!!

Comment by ondrej

June 26, 2008 @ 1:24 am

you are welcome :)
i can still remember how annoying and frustrating it was.

Comment by curtis

July 3, 2008 @ 11:14 pm

wait.. how do i, in layman’s terms, disable this advanced power management?

don’t understand the code speak


Comment by ondrej

July 4, 2008 @ 9:26 am

hi Curtis,

the idea is to run the
hdparm -B 255 /dev/sda
command as the root on your computer, where /dev/sda points to your harddrive.


Comment by curtis

July 5, 2008 @ 5:36 am

how do i do that?

something in command prompt?

like i said, im a bit of a beginner when it comes to commands and stuff, i just dont know where you put this stuff in.

sorry if i’m being difficult, but thanks for the response!

Comment by Eric

July 24, 2008 @ 5:41 am

I have been having the same problem, please! in laymen’s terms, i REALLY need to know how to fix this annoying clicking!

Comment by nick

August 4, 2008 @ 12:33 am

Thank you so much, that noise was driving me insane.

for eric and curtis if you have ubuntu, you will have to go to Applications> Accessories > terminal. At the command prompt ( something like: curtis@curtis-laptop:~$ )you will have to type :
sudo hdparm -B 255 /dev/sda
you will be asked for your password.
the noise should stop.

I don’t know how to make it permanent in ubuntu yet.

Comment by ondrej

August 18, 2008 @ 11:08 pm

thank you very much for your response – exactly, that is the correct answer.

to make it permanent on ubuntu, i would modify the /etc/hdparm.conf file — check the end of the file, there are some samples.

i would add/modify this:

/dev/sda {
       apm = 255

or (does the same)

command_line {
       hdparm -B 255 /dev/sda

to make it permanent on different linux distos, please, check your distro documentation about the hdparm configuration.

@Curtis and Eric
(i am sorry for a late response, i was busy last weeks.)

i would follow Nick’s instructions. there could be one catch with the harddrive device — /dev/sda, /dev/hda or /dev/?d?
check the output of the

df -h

command (shows your disk(s) space usage), e.g. (just first two lines):

Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda6              15G   11G  2.8G  80% /

and check the line, where Mounted on says / – the Filesystem column contains the harddrive device path and an additional number, e.g.
/dev/sda6 = my harddrive device is /dev/sda

of course, this a simplified howto – there can be many differences, exceptions and special cases — please, write me an e-mail.

or, maybe it would be a good idea to ask a more experienced friend to help you.

Comment by Annoying Click

October 16, 2008 @ 4:55 pm

Hi, I am still not following how to do this. I have a dell XPS m1530 laptop, and I have the annoying click sound as well. It is running windows vista.

If anyone can explain this as simply as possible it would be great. I have tried running those commands but it will not open anythuing. Am i supposed to do this at the command prompt?

Comment by ondrej

November 9, 2008 @ 8:43 pm

hi, uffff.. I am sorry, this howto is only for Linux (or Linux distributions like Gentoo, Ubuntu, Fedora, etc.)

In Windows Vista I would set it in this way:
1. go to:
Control Panel -> Hardware and Sound -> Power Options

2. for your actual power plan:
Change Plan Settings -> Change advanced power settings

3. a dialog appears where:
Hard disk -> Turn off hard disk after

and set a higher value, that is your hard drive will be turned off after a longer time.

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