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Clicking Noise issue *resolved*

Discussion in 'Dell' started by Cyanize, Sep 12, 2007.

  1. Cyanize

    Cyanize Notebook Consultant

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    Update2: For all the Vista users (mostly x64), please follow the suggestions by deadsimple and use hdparm if you don't want to deal with the constant "screen brightness" issues that NHC has with vista.

    Update: This solution has been proven to work with Western Digital and Toshiba Hard Drives in addition to Seagate. Several users reported success while applying the following steps. I can only recommend this to everyone who wants to max out the performance of their HDD and get rid of the annoying clicking sound.

    Well finally after waiting 6 weeks, I got my inspiron 1520 on Monday.
    I have an AUO screen (fortunately not the grainy one, unfortunately with some bad leakage on top/bottom, but tolerable), and my headphone jack is working correctly. The CPU Whine is sorta gone after installing XP.

    But just as I thought I got lucky, I heard it....a permanent clicking noise coming from the hard drive accompanied by the LED light of the HDD.

    But before I present you with the solution, my specs:

    # Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo T7300 (2.0 GHz/4MB L2 Cache)
    # OS: Microsoft XP Professional
    # Hard Drive: Seagate 160 GB SATA @ 5400RPM
    # Screen: 15.4" WXGA+ Widescreen (1440 x 900) AUO 2077
    # Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT 256MB
    # RAM: 2.0GB DDR2 SDRAM @667 MHz (2 x 1GB)
    # Optical Drive: 8x CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW) w/Double Layer Support
    # Battery: 6-cell lithium ion
    # Wireless: Intel 3945 ABG

    Purchase price: $ 1,013

    So, after spending countless hours researching the internet for a solution to the clicking sound of the HDD while being idle, I nearly gave up.

    Then I recalled a handy little tool I used a while back with my old acer laptop.

    Notebook Hardware Control.

    Since I identified the clicking noise as "HDD head parking", I knew the drive wasn't failing (and ofc I ran every possible HDD health check utility) so the only thing I needed now was a utility to change the acoustic management setting of the drive. And you guessed it, Seagate didn't offer anything like that. Thank you Seagate.

    But lets get to the solution:
    1. Download the NHC 2.0 Pre-Release 06 (Dell version)
    2. Download and install Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 (if you don't have it installed)
    3. Install NHC
    4. Run NHC
    5. Go to the newly appeared icon in your system tray and doubleclick [​IMG](it's the one with the CPU frequency...so don't confuse it with the RMclock one)
    6. In the window that just appeared select the Settings tab
    7. Click Show all NHC options and settings
    8. Now select the Hard Disk tab, and under Advanced Power Management select the highest setting: Max. Peformance Mode

    Voila, the constant clicking sound is gone for good. Have fun.

    PS: Ofc you can play around with the settings. Hope this solves the issue for many inspiron users out there.
     
    thankful guy likes this.
  2. gurujockstrap

    gurujockstrap Notebook Enthusiast

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    You don't need to install that program. You can adjust that setting in the BIOS.

    Its a great program though.
     
  3. deadsimple

    deadsimple Notebook Consultant

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    Holy crap, it worked. You are a legend! This problem has been irritating me for weeks on my Vostro. Who would have thought that "Loud" mode makes the laptop quieter!

    Does anyone have any thoughts as to the impact on battery drain? Is the hard-drive a very significant source of power consumption?
     
  4. billcsho

    billcsho Notebook Deity

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    It is still hardware related. I am using performance mode and I do not hear a click at all. Mine has a Toshiba SATA-300 5400RPM 120GB.
     
  5. deadsimple

    deadsimple Notebook Consultant

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    Well, obviously. We are talking about a hard-drive here :)

    My clicky hdd is a 160GB Seagate 5400RPM, just like the creator of this thread.
    Not a tick-of-death mind you, just a very irritating one.
     
  6. Kashinoda

    Kashinoda Notebook Enthusiast

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    Nice one finding this out, how do you do it in the bios?

    I feel a little cheeky now, dell upgraded my 160gb to 250gb coz of this and new HDD is fine hehe. Glad u didnt post this 3 days ago ^_^
     
  7. deadsimple

    deadsimple Notebook Consultant

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    The bios setting doesn't fix the clicking for me.
    Only works with the NHC program in Windows, and "hdparm -B 254 /dev/sda" under Linux.

    If you want to try it anyway: on my 1400, it's a case of hitting F2 during boot. Then just navigate like so:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Sorry for the blurriness, crappy phone camera.
     
  8. gridtalker

    gridtalker Notebook Virtuoso

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    Where in the bios?
     
  9. deadsimple

    deadsimple Notebook Consultant

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    Like I said one post before yours, it doesn't work (for me, read next page for it working for someone else)!

    The bios setting only changes the "Acoustic Mode", which didn't really do anything in terms of reducing sound.

    You have to go and set the "Power Management" to Max Performance (254) in NHC (or using hdparm in Linux).

    The hard-drive will instantly make less noise! You can infact keep the Acoustic Mode on Quiet if you like, as long as Power Management is on Performance. Personally I didn't hear any difference between Quiet and Loud.
     
  10. cbrasga

    cbrasga Notebook Enthusiast

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    An SSD hard drive should make things quieter. hehe
     
  11. manzi

    manzi Notebook Evangelist

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    So will this "fix" drain more battery or will it be the same?
     
  12. harlequin

    harlequin Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thank you for the information, Cyanize. I have a Dell Vostro 1500 with a Seagate Momentus HDD 160 GB 5400. I also have the same clicking sound problem. I installed NHC and changed the settings as you suggested, and it solved the problem. BTW, I found that running HD Tune also stopped the clicking, I think this is beause it accesses the HDD every 5 seconds or so, and the head parking only occurs after 20 or 30 seconds of HDD inactivity.

    Out of curiousity, I also tried to change my BIOS HDD Acounstic Mode from 'Bypass' to 'Performance' (after turning off NHC), and this also worked. As the BIOS message advises, the hard drive is slightly noiser, but this is far better than the 'clicking' sound that I had to put up with before.
     
  13. jeff0078

    jeff0078 Notebook Consultant

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    I can't even get NHC to run. I get this error message: :(

    [​IMG]
     
  14. deadsimple

    deadsimple Notebook Consultant

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    Running the special Dell version?

    http://www.p35-forum.de/files/nhc_2.0_pre_release_06_dell.zip

    That's really strange. I guess if it worked for you, then we might be referring to different clicking sounds or the hard-drives might be a bit different?

    What's the hdd model number of yours?
     
  15. harlequin

    harlequin Notebook Enthusiast

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    I have a Seagate Momentus ST9160821AS, SATA 160 GB 5400
     
  16. deadsimple

    deadsimple Notebook Consultant

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    Same.

    I guess if it works, then it works *shrug* :)
     
  17. jeff0078

    jeff0078 Notebook Consultant

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  18. Cyanize

    Cyanize Notebook Consultant

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    Glad to see that my suggestion helped.
     
  19. jb1007

    jb1007 Full Customization

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    Ummm pretty freaky - as soon as I changed it to high performance, the hard drive instantly stopped the constant chugging. Awesome tip!

    Is there any downside to longevity of the disk, heat, battery implications, etc?
     
  20. napalmb

    napalmb Notebook Enthusiast

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    I'm not sure if I'm having the same problem as you guys. I hear an occasional chirp noise. I figure its coming from the HDD, but its not a constant sound, and it is not very loud. Still can get annoying though.
     
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