New aluminum Macbook hard drive "clunk" sound

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Rayban, Feb 28, 2009.

  1. Rayban macrumors 6502


    Sep 5, 2008
    When surfing the net (like right now) or just letting it idle, my hard drive makes a slight "clunk" sound like the HD arm is hitting the edge of the case (or maybe starting up and shutting down?). There seems to be no loss of performance. I did a disk verify and everything is OK. Should I be concerned?
  2. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2008
    If you have Applecare you could install the Tech Tool Pro software it included and run the diagnostics. Lots of modern hard drives make "clicking" noises (loading/unloading heads, or moving them), or whirring sounds when powering down or up.

    Often such noises change (get louder, more frequent etc) as a precursor a HD failure. It often takes having the experience of a failure to recognize the subtle differences and even then its no sure thing.

    So keep your stuff backed up and if things remain good for a few weeks, chock it up to normal for that drive and don't worry again til it sounds different.

    I reciently has this experience on my MBA. Clicking got louder. Started to get a brief occasional chirp or squeal. Frequency and duration increased so time for a new drive. Some drives give you notice and some don't.
  3. Globetrotter macrumors regular


    Nov 5, 2007
    I can tell you what it might well be.

    Since I put my WD Scorpio 320GB hard drive into my macbook, I have been noticing little 'tick' sounds while surfing the net.

    They were definitely not loud enough to be indicating an imminent failure (and unlikely since it was a brand new drive), but they were loud enough to be annoying when I am in a silent room. And they were happening every few seconds, and really driving me nuts.

    After a long net search, I have found the problem.

    Mac OS X parks the 'heads' of your HD as much as it can to protect the hard drive should the laptop suddenly move, and to conserve power. Unfortunately, it happens so much that it causes 2 problems:

    1) Each tick is known as a 'load cycle', and too many load cycles causes premature HD failure

    2) On some drives, the tick is loud enough to be highly annoying in a quiet room. But, Apple's hitachi drive didn't seem to be loud enough that I noticed it at all. I only noticed it when I put the WD drive in.

    The 'solution' to this ticking is not exactly great. It involves downloading this:


    2) Dragging the UNIX executable file to /usr/local/bin (you'll have to create the 'bin' folder)

    3) Running that file

    4) Opening terminal and typing - "hdapm disk0 max" (without quotes)

    Now, this stops the drive from EVER parking the heads, so you will never hear the ticking again.

    BUT, it causes two more problems:

    1) The head parking does actually protect the drive from movement damage, so you are increasing the chance of failure

    2) It messes with the automatic sleep function which means you have to close the laptop to get it to sleep, or go to apple > sleep. As long as the laptop is left open, the hard drive will keep spinning and spinning forever!

    AND, you have to open terminal and type 'hdapm disk0 max' every time you reboot and sometimes when you switch to battery power.

    Hmmm, 'it just works' ?
  4. petermcphee macrumors 6502a


    Aug 20, 2008
    Well, it probably did before you opened it up and put a different drive in. Sheesh!:p
  5. hmai18 macrumors 6502

    Mar 26, 2008
    The version of TechTool Deluxe currently included with Applecare is not compatible with the unibody models.
  6. Rayban thread starter macrumors 6502


    Sep 5, 2008
    Thanks for all the info. Just as long as there is nothing wrong with the drive, I'm not going to worry about it. It's a tad annoying in a silent room but not worth the hassle to install software like listed above. Thanks again!
  7. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2008
    Seems to work just fine on my unibody Macbook. If you are having that trouble maybe go under Services and check for updates.
  8. Lu-x macrumors newbie

    Apr 7, 2009
    I followed these steps but still hear that 'ping pong' noise from the HD. How can I check that I have done it properly? Any other suggestions? Driving me mad. I'm a new mac user.
  9. Thireus macrumors newbie

    Jul 18, 2009

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