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Why does my hard drive make a lot of noise?

Answer: If your hard drive seems to be making more noise than usual, there is a good chance it has become fragmented. Hard drive fragmentation occurs when files and folders are moved around, added, copied, and deleted.

Your computer's hard drive stores information in blocks of data. When information becomes scattered on your hard drive, some files are written onto blocks that are not next to each other. This is known as file fragmentation. Your hard drive can still run when there are fragmented files on it, but it will run slower. This is because it has to scan more of the disk to access certain files. The extra scanning is what causes the hard drive to make more noise. When you start hearing an excessive amount of grinding from your hard drive, it is time to defragment it. A program like Norton Utilities will do this well.

You can also take the defragmentation process one step further and optimize your hard drive. This process moves similar types of files next to each other, so the hard drive head doesn't need to jump around as much. Optimizing your hard drive is a great way to increase performance. If you like your computer running as fast as possible, it is a good idea to defragment it at least once a month and optimize it every three months.

Published: November 22, 2000 — by Per Christensson

Answer from the PC Help Center