Last Saturday morning I was sitting on the couch, and I began to notice a buzzing coming from behind me. It slowly got louder, and ended in a loud CRASH! I didn’t know what happened, but I expected to find material damage of some sort after such a loud bang. However, I didn’t find any evidence of damage or smoke as I looked around my desk. I’ve been working or dealing with computers since I was a teenager, and I figured that loud sound could have been a hard drive, even though it was many times louder than any problematic hard drive I’d ever encountered. From that sound, I imagined the disk platter somehow off it’s axis, and the drive head rubbing on it and the noise getting louder and more coarse as the platter tilted further.
Sitting at my desk, I noticed a broken record-like sound of a hard disk failing to spin, and then I waited to see which disk would be in the next error message on my Mac. I was just hoping it wasn’t my 500 GB internal drive, I’d rather it be my 750 GB external drive in an enclosure connected via USB.
It turned out it was the external disk, which contained my Time Machine backups. A bummer, but it could have been much worse. I suspected it could be this drive, because it had made strange clicks and stutters in the past few months. It’s death wasn’t totally unexpected, but it was more violent than I thought possible.
I opened up the drive and found a screw on the axis of the platters loose and heavily worn from scraping the roof of the hard drive casing. I believe this lead to the eventual head crash. The platter is badly scratched as well in a few spots. It may have been under warranty (if so, just barely) but at 750 GB it was always full and I was in need of a Time Machine drive upgrade anyway.