Question regarding external HDD "WD Elements 25A2"

Hi all, :wave:

a very happy, safe and healthy New Year to everybody here (and their families). :rocket: :heart:

I have a question about my external HDD and wonder if anybody can tell me more about a certain “noise”.

To begin with I have to say I´m using the external HDD “WD Elements 25A2” as may main drive, i.e. my system Lubuntu 20.04 is installed here.

The HDD is connected via USB 2.0 to a hub which itself is powered by a power supply of its own.
That scenario has been working well ever since I put it up.

Over night (after shutting down my PC) I also switch off the power supply of the hub and the next day (before pressing the power button of the PC in order to get started again) I switch on the power supply of the hub.

A second or two after the HDD gets power I notice a very short “whizzing” sound. It´s a bit hard to describe; a high-pitchend sound anyway (but not a “click”).

But (as I said) it´s very short, more like a “pling”, definitively less than a second of duration.
I guess this sound is produced as the the spinning part of the HDD reaches its maximum speed of rotation :question:

For the whole duration of the session (hours on end) this sound can never be heard again, just at the beginning when the HDD spins up.

Plus: the sound is barely audible; in fact I´ve noticed it the other day by sheer coincidence (I was remaining very still for a while).
Otherwise I wouldn´t have noticed it at all. :thinking:

So it may very well be that the sound has been there from the beginning of the usage of the HDD (some years now).

I´d very much like to hear what you think about it.
May it be that this kind of behaviour of a HDD is normal :question:

Thanks so much in advance.

Many greetings from Rosika :slightly_smiling_face:

I would go for a normal start-up sound for external drive

May have always done it and you did not notice especially if you normally start in different order so hiding this sound

Only guessing without hearing it live but expect it’s just start-up electricity sounds of tension

Just as a double check test the disk, cannot remember enough on lubuntu but in control panel usually is a disk option and that gives a idea on disk status.

Or go to terminal
Type disks
That should run smart (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology)
Then check the external disk

1 Like

Hello Paul, :wave:

thanks a lot for providing your thoughts on the matter.

That was my thinking as well. So glad about your confirmation. :heart:

Today for example I couldn´t hear the sound at all - just due to the fact that I was taking a few steps back from the switch of the power-supply. A loud enough sound made by my shoes to drown out the (already barely perceivable) sound. :wink:

Thanks for the link, Paul.

In Lubunutu 20.04 the respective command is gnome-disks .
I tried what is suggested on the page you referred to. Yet the button SMART Data & Self-Tests… is greyed out for the external disk and thus not available.

It would work with the internal disk though.

I think this is because of what are talking about on Festplattenstatus › Wiki › when referring to external USB housing:

External USB enclosures usually have a converter chip (e.g. a USB-SATA bridge) that functions as a converter between the various interfaces / protocols.
It can happen that an S.M.A.R.T. query is not correctly implemented:

sudo smartctl -A /dev/sdX

/dev/sdX: Unknown USB bridge [0x1e68:0x001b (0x000)]

Hard drives in external enclosures appear to be unsupported, although they are definitely S.M.A.R.T.
This can be remedied by using a special option:

sudo smartctl -A -d sat /dev/sdX

(translated from German)

As I have smartmontools installed on my system I made use of the command

sudo smartctl -H -d sat /dev/sdb

for a quick test:

smartctl 7.1 2019-12-30 r5022 [x86_64-linux-5.4.0-91-generic] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-19, Bruce Allen, Christian Franke,

SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: PASSED

Looks good, I think. :blush:

Plus: I regularly (every day, at the start of each session) run the command

sudo smartctl -A -d sat /dev/sdb

in order to check the attributes of the HDD (see: Festplattenstatus › Wiki › ):

smartctl 7.1 2019-12-30 r5022 [x86_64-linux-5.4.0-91-generic] (local build)
Copyright (C) 2002-19, Bruce Allen, Christian Franke,

SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 16
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
  1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate     0x002f   200   200   051    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  3 Spin_Up_Time            0x0027   113   108   021    Pre-fail  Always       -       5316
  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0032   098   098   000    Old_age   Always       -       2684
  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0033   200   200   140    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  7 Seek_Error_Rate         0x002e   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   088   088   000    Old_age   Always       -       8857
 10 Spin_Retry_Count        0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
 11 Calibration_Retry_Count 0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
 12 Power_Cycle_Count       0x0032   099   099   000    Old_age   Always       -       1781
192 Power-Off_Retract_Count 0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       159
193 Load_Cycle_Count        0x0032   179   179   000    Old_age   Always       -       63576
194 Temperature_Celsius     0x0022   131   105   000    Old_age   Always       -       16
196 Reallocated_Event_Count 0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
197 Current_Pending_Sector  0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
198 Offline_Uncorrectable   0x0030   100   253   000    Old_age   Offline      -       0
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    0x0032   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
200 Multi_Zone_Error_Rate   0x0008   100   253   000    Old_age   Offline      -       0

So I think (and hope) everything´s fine… :blush:

Many thanks again for your help, Paul.
… and many greetings from Rosika :slightly_smiling_face:

Superb appreciate the extra detail and info

Never used that one

Question if you have ssd will it still work or is there different tools for that … starting to see more clients with devices so thin and impossible to upgrade as a result

1 Like

Hi Paul, :wave:

you´re welcome. It´s seldom enough that I may be able to add something useful to you knowledgeable folks. :wink:
Indeed I feel honoured by your praise. :blush:

Well, I myself am not using any SSDs, so I don´t have any personal experience with them or how well the smartctl command works with them.
But according to Festplattenstatus › Wiki › (a dedicated paragraph for usage with SSDs) it shoud work well:

Due to the rapid development of SSDs and new hard disk models, the smartmontools versions have been given an update function for the internally used database.
This gives you an up-to-date drivedb.h that helps identify the storage media.
To update the database, use the following command:

sudo update-smart-drivedb

Current SSDs and even NVME hard disks that are only recently on the market are now correctly recognized and all SSD-specific attributes are correctly displayed.
This also applies to new hard disk models that may not be in the database yet.

sudo smartctl -a /dev/sda

shows if the the SSD is included in the data base.

Device is: In smartctl database ...

If the hard disk is not included, the database should be updated manually as described above

(translated from German)

I hope this might be a bit helpful… :blush:

Many greetings
Rosika :slightly_smiling_face:


further reading for smartmontools: