Aug 192010

Hurrah, Hallelujah esplendidos. ๐Ÿ˜€

I have finally resolved (I think) an issue I’ve had intermittently since I bought my Dell Studio 1557 in November 2009.

Hard Disk Clicking and beeping in a disturbing manner.

Every once in a while (seemed to be worse in hot weather) the Hard disk would make a clicking noise accompanied by a beep from the system (like the beeps you get at startup). If you’ve ever had a hard disk crash, you’ll know the clicking sound. And it is a sound that makes you think your hard disk is going to crash – which instills fear into the heart.

You may remember in May I discovered the cause of the DVD drive not working well. Well this HDD noise was the next niggly issue. It hasn’t stopped me from doing anything, but it has made me fearful for the life of my HDD.

This week I happened across this forum thread which has 157 pages of chatter about the Studio 1557. It also gives insight into some of the problems people have had with them. Some a lot worse than mine.

Although I didn’t specifically find the noisy HDD issue solution there (I didn’t read the whole thread – it must be there somewhere) a few people made remarks about it, which made me search for a solution. The solution was buried in the drivers update page of the dell web site. Basically, it’s a known issue with a certain batch of Seagate HDDs. All you have to do is update the HDD firmware.

Firmware 4SDM1 or 5SDM1 fixes clicking noise on Seagate 2.5″ 7200RPM HDD’s Model #’s:

160G – ST9160412AS DP/N J423T
250G – ST9250410AS DP/N K556T
320G – ST9320423AS DP/N F729T
500G – ST9500420AS DP/N G629T

So that involved

  1. Backing up some vital data in case the update failed
  2. Downloading a boot disc image file for the update.
  3. Burning a CD of the disc image (in Win 7, right click the iso file and choose “burn disc image” )
  4. Rebooting and pressing F2 to go into setup to change the boot sequence so I could boot from CD
  5. Booting from the CD and letting it do its stuff, (<1 minute)
  6. Removing CD
  7. Switch off PC and switch on again
  8. Rebooting again after Win 7 asks you to

And here we are, next day and I have yet to hear the horribly nasty sound that makes me think my Hard drive is about to crash. I think it’s worked. Hurrah, Hallelujah esplendidos. ๐Ÿ˜€

I don’t know if it’s my imagination, but the computer seems to be running slightly cooler as well.

  13 Responses to “Dell Studio 1557 Hard Disk Click and Beep problem solved :)”

  1. what can I say more than: YOU SAVED MY LIFE! and the life of my studio, which I would unevitably smash against the nearest wall after MONTHS of dealing with this issue! the beers on me!

    • You’re welcome Pawelโ€š. I was in Zgierz in the summer when I finally got fed up with it and found out how to solve the issue. It’s a great pity that Dell doesn’t have any kind of followup email to customers about issues. I’ve owned this machine for a year now, and it’s finally behaving more or less how it should have when it was new. I’m glad the blog post helped someone. Pozdrawiam.

      If you happen to have DVD problems or problems with menus going crazy when you tilt your machine, there are two more blog entries you might like in the computer section. Those are the other two problems I had with my 1557.

  2. Thanks. Was searching for a solution every since I got my device. Can’t believe it was that simple – as I tried to update the Firmware before, but the PC couln’t bott from the CD.

    Thanks again ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • You’re welcome Dominik.
      Oddly though, it doesn’t seem to happen in every instance. We bought two identical Dells at the same time. One for me, one for my wife and hers hasn’t displayed this issue at all. Mine wasn’t too bad to begin with but got really annoying when it was really hot. ?:-)

  3. Exact same probleme here.

    After the PC was running for about 3 hours – the hard drive was “clacking” every 30 seconds. But now it’s finally fixed (at least I hope so ;))

    • Mine is still behaving and I did this back in August. So I’m optimistic it’ll stay that way. Still, you owe it to yourself to make regular backups of important stuff anyway. I’ve had a couple of hard drives go bad in the past and the sound is a lot like the clacking this firmware upgrade solves. I really don’t know why Dell don’t send out emails suggesting regular visits to the firmware downloads. I suppose they just (rightly) imagine that nobody wants to delve that deeply unless there is a problem. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

  4. Hi Alex, it seems I’ve got the same problem with my Dell but it has a Western Digital 320gb 7200rm, any idea what I should do then?

    • Is there a driver update download page? I don’t see that model of drive listed for the 1557. Have you got a different model of Dell? In which case if a fix has been issued, it might be there. If not, I would possibly contact Dell about it. How old is the computer?

      • Hi i’ve got a Dell XPS 16 which is almost one yeat old. There is no driver update available for the WD unfortunately… However the problem i’ve got seems very similar to yours… And I can’t find any thread resolving my specific case! Apparently someone already contacted Dell about this, and they said the sounds were normal, whereas, it is obviously not! Since you resolved your problem I was hoping you might have an idea for mine!

        • What about contacting WD about it? After all, they made the drive and they probably take care of the drivers too. Dell only assemble and sell them (I think). Sorry I can’t be more specifically helpful. I only looked into this because I had the problem. I don’t have any in-depth technical know-how on this. I wish I could help you because I remember how unnerving and annoying it was to have a beeping clicking HDD that sounds as if it’s about to break. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ I recommend you make regular backups if you’ve got any important work on there. :yes:

  5. Hey no worries! Thanks a lot for the advice.

  6. my hard drive has the last firmware but it makes these sounds and the computer freezes when they sound!!!! =(

    any advice?

    • My advice is back up everything and be ready just in case the worst should happen.

      There’s nothing you can do about the hardware. If you’ve got the newest firmware, all you can do is change out the hard disk.

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