Acer Aspire E17 drive repeatedly spins up when in light sleep

Jul 21, 2018

My mother was recently given an Acer Aspire E17 by a friend and I've noticed that when she leaves it to idle, the HDD seems to be spinning up then parking the head immediately (taking about a second for each cycle), and this repeats indefinitely throughout the time the laptop is in light sleep (ie: the screen has gone black, computer locks) until it is woken up. When it wakes, the spin up occurs but the park sound doesn't, and the drive keeps spinning as normal. I thought the head was endlessly crashing into the plates when I first heard it, since it has a very violent-sounding park sound.

The laptop has spent all of its life in an office (constantly plugged in, if that's important) and realistically has no reason to be accessing the drive and stopping literally every second. It's suffered no heavy impacts or extreme environments. I had factory reset it before she used it but I never witnessed it go idle so I have no idea if this was persistent. There's no backup software on this PC and It only has an expired Malwarebytes install and Windows Defender turned on, so it realistically shouldn't have to access the drive that frequently, should it? It doesn't show any signs of drive degradation either. I installed HDDScan as soon as I noticed this noise, but it reported everything was okay.

I'm running a test on it now and I'll also have a recording done asap for anyone who wishes to hear what it sounds like, since a lot of people with "hard drive repeatedly spinning up and stopping" report this happening over the course of a few minutes rather than as frequent as this. If anyone can recommend other diagnostic programs for me to run, please do!

[ EDIT 1 - 15:16 GMT ]
Hoo boy. I went back to the laptop and saw the test had finished, so I double clicked on it and a "Self-test execution status: error with read element failed [ 20% ]" window appeared. Going to be a bit more vigilant with it for a bit, so I might be gone a while, but could the drive actually be failing? Does anyone have a replacement guide for this model? iFixit only had other Acer Aspire models up there.

[ EDIT 2 - 15:40 GMT ]
Okay, I downloaded SeaTools (bear in mind, the drive is Samsung), and ran the same self-test and ST reported a fail too. Running the ST "Fix all Fast" test. Information as it comes.

[ EDIT 3 - 16:23 GMT ]
SeaTools reported a fail for Drive Self test, Fix all Fast, Fix all Long... Drive is likely on its way out, I guess. Anyone with ideas is welcome, but I guess I'm going to look into opening this thing up and replacing the drive.