Question Mysterious hard drive activity ?

Mar 3, 2022
So I have a Hitachi HUA723030ALA640 3TB connected via sata in this docking station ( and the drive works like it should in terms of reading and writing data, it even passed WD's data lifeguard extended test. But at idle, like whenever the disk isn't fully being used at 100%, it repeats this same growl pattern, every 2 seconds. No it doesn't sound like the drive is broken, it sounds like the arm is subtly accessing data in a small portion going back in forth really fast, and repeating the exact pattern every 2 seconds. All while task manager is saying 0% utilization and 0kbs read and write.

When the disk is being used 50% by something else i would hear all the usual clicking but it would get interrupted by the growl every 2 seconds, making it a lot slower. At 100% utilization, like testing for bad sectors, its dead silent, no growl. I then completely unplugged the usb cable from the docking station and only had the power connected to the drive, and restarted it, and it made the same repeated growl sound; with no computer attached at all. I don't believe the drive is faulty because it passed all tests, and I don't think the docking station is bad because I plugged a different drive into it and it did not do that.

What's causing this? And how can I get rid of it? The drive does have like 10 partitions on it copied from other smaller drives, and I'm not sure if it did that before I copied them all over. Docking station is plugged into a asus fx505 laptop. I've already disabled auto defrag, and scanned for errors, and updated all drivers
From my experience and understanding some drives develops this kind of platter access sound through age and fatigue while on rare occasions it can come with brand new disks via manufacturing inconsistency. The sound typically denotes your drive checking for throughput at regular intervals, which is kind of redundancy check by system files. You need to understand that even at 0% utilization there are constant background operations happening for the system operation and updation purpose. If your health check and SMART data are okay, it might not be harmful or detrimental to the longevity of the drive. Its just the platter arm tension isnt perfect or how it should be. If you are not comfortable with it, format it and see if that fixes the issue. If not then RMA is your best bet or might just live with it.


And I will add a couple of other thoughts:

1)Ensure that all data on that drive is backed up at least 2 x to other locations off of the current drive host. Verify that the backups are recoverable and readable.

2) Use built in Windows tools to observe what the system/ hard drive is doing when you hear the growls.

I.e., Task Manager, Resource Monitor, and Process Explorer.

[Note: you may need to download Process Explorer (Microsoft, free) via Microsoft's website.]

Keep in mind that anything you do may lead to the demise of the drive and loss of data.


As long as drives are powered up Windows is constantly querying and updating things on all attached storage devices. This is completely normal and happens whether you want it to or not. Your description sounds like perfectly normal operation.