One of my drives keeps making beeping sounds.

April 4, 2019 at 09:42:00
Specs: Windows 10
One of my drives keeps making beeping sounds after my computer has been on for a while.
The drive seems to freeze every so often then seems to come back to life.
This drive has all my pictures and videos on and am trying to copy it. It keeps stopping and starting.Any idea why?

See More: One of my drives keeps making beeping sounds.

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#1
April 4, 2019 at 10:15:39
This might be a sign the drive is getting ready to fail... As it warms up it starts to croak as it were... Noises from any hard drive are invariably a bad sign; be it at boot up or later...

I strongly advise you get another drive; connect it externally via a usb adapter; then copy the contents of the beeping drive to the new/external drive.

If the beeping drive starts to malfunction. starts to die on you, and denies you access during the copy/transfer process... then remove it from wherever it's installed. Wrap it in a layer of paper towel; place in a small (sandwich style) plastic bag and seal it. Place bag (with drive inside it) in the freezer for about an hour... Then remove it; open the bag and loosen - but do not remove the paper towel. Let the wrapped drive breathe for about 10-15mins. Then remove paper towel and ensure the drive itself is dry (no condensation - if there is wipe it clear with the paper towel or a tissue) and reconnect to the computer and see if it will allow you further access. If it does it will only be a short while.. When again it denies access, freezes etc. repeat the cooling process as above.

You will have a few runs at this routine before the drive finally giveth up the ghost...

Incidentally it's often wise(r) to duplicate critical files (photos especially) to DVD as well as another (usually external) hard drive. That way if one or other media dies..you still have the other copies. Update duplicate storage at regular intervals; also check and if needs-be reduplicate...

message edited by trvlr


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#2
April 4, 2019 at 10:58:24
Is this an internal drive or an external, USB drive? Beeping from a USB drive is often a sign that it is getting insufficient power, in which case it needs either an external power unit or a Y USB cable that allows it to be connected to two USB sockets at the same time.

I've never known an internal drive to make a beeping noise - although other noises are common.

message edited by ijack


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#3
April 4, 2019 at 11:18:57
I concur with trvlr. Backup anything you can before trying any in-depth data recovery. The drive may be living off of borrowed time.

ijack: I've never known an internal drive to make a beeping noise
A sticky head can sometimes cause sounds that could be described as beepy. Sometimes a slower, "something's not right here" seek can come off as beepy.

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message edited by Razor2.3


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#4
April 4, 2019 at 11:41:01
I wouldn't describe either of those noises as beepy, but it's possible that the OP isn't describing them accurately. But I have external disks that produce a genuine repeated beep if they don't get enough power. Hence my question - it would be useful to establish whether we are dealing with an internal drive or an external one.

I'm probably wrong, but it's not a bad idea to get more information.

message edited by ijack


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#5
April 4, 2019 at 11:44:28
The drive in question is an internal drive. Not the main drive with Windows 10 operating system on. I do regularly back up this drive to an external 5tb drive via USB slot. It's just that I have not backed up for a year so need to back up a few files. As I try to do this it keeps stopping and starting. Hope I get there before it gives up completely. I don't know if the problem is that the drive in question is just about full 1tb showing red line not much space left.

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#6
April 4, 2019 at 11:52:09
..... Just a thought could it be that the drive in question is practically full?

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#7
April 4, 2019 at 12:24:16
The drive itself doesn't know how full it is, nor does it particularly care. Even if it is full, you wouldn't expect that to impact its reads, which are the freezes you mentioned.

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#8
April 4, 2019 at 13:08:24
These sounds might be of interest:
https://datacent.com/hard_drive_sou...

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks


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#9
April 5, 2019 at 00:23:54

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#10
April 5, 2019 at 01:53:42
Yes, that is true. Microsoft used to recommend at least 20% free space on an NTFS partition, although I don't know if this still applies with the very large partitions that are common nowadays.

In general the effect is more noticeable when writing to the disk, or if it contains a page file, but it can still be obvious if the partition is very fragmented (which is likely if it is almost full).


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#11
April 5, 2019 at 07:35:03
Yes, these yardsticks based on percentage have often been dubious. I recall those which suggested virtual memory based on percentage RAM. This meant the more RAM you had the more extra space you needed to act as RAM, which is nonsense. Wadges of RAM means you need less VM not more.

Sorry, this is just an aside.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks


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#12
April 5, 2019 at 08:02:08
It is not really true at all.

You either have enough space for a temp file, or you don't. If not, whatever program wants that temp file will be unhappy.

You either have enough space for a profile file, or you don't. If not, new profile creation fails.

You either have enough space to grow your page file, or you don't. If not, some program's probably crashing with an "out of memory" error.

You either have enough space to apply a Windows update, or you don't. If not, the update fails.

With a default configuration, we're talking about the main C: drive in every case and it does not effect drive reads.

It's a lot like saying having low fuel in your vehicle drastically increases travel times. It's only true if you run out mid-trip.

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#13
April 5, 2019 at 13:14:19
Low fuel in a car could result in extended travel time - if one drove a slower yet economical speed to reduce fuel consumption per mile - compared to that at a higher speed (with a shorter travel time...)?

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#14
April 5, 2019 at 16:48:28
That would imply Windows switches to a different behavior model when disk space is low, and it doesn't.

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#15
April 5, 2019 at 17:09:33
I was only playing with the last line of #13... it was bit to tempting - especially at this time of the night (where I is just now)...

But we all know that as the cmos battery starts to go low charge things on-board slow down; and if a laptop then even more so as the main power source/battery goes low charge... Poor lil computer just gets weaker 'n weaker 'n slower 'n slower...

tyme for hot choccy and bed...


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#16
April 5, 2019 at 17:40:55
Oh, I know you're less than serious. Which is why I didn't point out low fuel would mean less weight, which means better acceleration, which means reduced travel times.

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#17
April 5, 2019 at 18:17:26
Oh that’s sneaky. I didn’t think about that bit...

Many years back I drove from Toronto to London Ontario in a first generation Ford Escort (UK import to Canada). It was mid winter, and my first time on that route... I had no idea where gas stations where, but “thought I had more than enough in the tank to get there. Gauge went down into reserve - allegedly one gallon left. I did the numbers and got ready to run dry...

Passed the miles left in the tank and kept going... By the time I did finally find a gas station I had done at least twice the distance the reserve allowed - and some more. Overall I think the miles were near to hundred - all on that reserve one gallon (allegedly)... I drove at the fuel efficient 55mph but even that didn’t explain the how/why I got so far...

I never got that many mpg again, no matter how I drove that (hire) car.

Somebody up there was breathing fumes into the tank, ‘n it weren’t me...


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#18
April 6, 2019 at 00:22:57
Fascinating though a discussion of the effect on performance of the amount of fuel in an automobile is (and you seem to reach the conclusion that the more fuel there is - the less free space in the fuel tank - the worse the performance), it has no bearing whatsoever on the performance of hard disks.

Unlike a fuel tank, which is one big container, a hard disk consists of a large number of small storage blocks. And when you store or retrieve data (a file) from the disk you don't just pick the first few megabytes that come out when you open the tap - you are interested in a particular bit of data. How different automobiles would be if they cared which particular bit of fuel was being retrieved.

This means that it matters where each piece of data is stored, and which file it relates to. So additional information (meta-data) needs to be stored by the file system to keep track of the block allocation, which blocks belong to which files, and which blocks are used and which free. When this meta-data is all stored in one contiguous lump, and the data blocks for each file are similarly stored, performance is good. To read a file the operating system asks where the file starts and how many blocks it occupies (one read of the meta-data); it then reads the blocks from the disk (one long read, with very little head movement).

But, as the available space on the disk decreases - and as blocks are used and freed - these long contiguous spaces disappear. This is called fragmentation. A file now occupies blocks scattered all over the disk. So to read the file the meta-data is read to find the start block, the heads are moved and that block is read or, more likely, a few blocks. Back to the meta-data to find the next part of the file, etc. The heads are moving back and forth over the disk just to read a single file. Head movement is the most expensive (slowest) operation involved in reading from a hard disk. And things just get worse when thie meta-data itself is also spread all over the disk. (You can hear this movement of the heads; when a lot occur together it might sound like beeping.)

Fragmentation can have a huge effect on disk performance, and is more and more likely the less free space there is. So, yes, the disk (or rather the file system) does know, and does care, how much free space there is. The effects can be mitigated by defragmenting the disk - rearranging the data and meta-data to make files contiguous - a process that requires 15-20% free space; hence Microsoft's 20% recommendation.

Just be grateful that automobiles don't behave the same way, else you would be spluttering down the road as the next bit of fuel needed was searched for and retrieved.

You can find a more scientific explanation of fragmentation - together with tests of its effects - here: https://www.condusiv.com/disk-defra...


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#19
April 7, 2019 at 21:41:36
You can't run a car off of a file system's data structures, ijack. Data structures don't store usable amounts of energy. Like, do you even physics, bro?

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#20
April 7, 2019 at 22:40:41
Clearly my mistake. I thought the question was about disk drives, not cars.

Perhaps the OP has run out of fuel?


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#21
April 8, 2019 at 08:58:02
It's possible. We haven't heard from OP since his HDD crash, after all. Maybe he ran out of fuel while getting a replacement drive. In which case, wow, what a bad day.

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#22
April 8, 2019 at 12:05:38
Certainly if he tended to find that his acceleration ability increased as the contents of the fuel tank decreased as the fuel was used, resulting in reduced overall weight of the vehicle... then his fuel consumption might well have gone up; resulting in accelerated fuel usage, which in turn might mean he simply failed to make it to a pit stop, refuelling point... Thus no replacement drive possible as that was elsewhere beyond his runout of fuel point...

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