Hard Drive Noise Reduction with WinAAM

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 10, 2008
Updated • May 17, 2014
Software, Windows software

Being noise sensitive can have a huge impact on a daily work routine. Having to use a noisy computer can be a distraction and it might even cause sickness in the long run. One of the components that still gets neglected quite a bit when it comes to noise reduction is the computer's hard drive. That's understandable because it usually is not the loudest component of the computer.

That honor would be reserved for the fans of the video card, processor, power unit and case. You might not even hear the noise the drive makes until you decide to lower down the noise of other components first. Hard drives on the other hand can cause a high distracting pitching noise.

One possibility to lower the noise generation of hard drive is to use special hard drive cases and other hardware to reduce the noise. Software solutions on the other hand are rare, most are outdated and some even require the creation of a boot disk before they can be run.

WinAAM is a refreshing change. It is compatible with all Windows NT operating systems including the popular Windows XP and Windows Vista. It requires no installation and can be started right after the download has finished.

The software will automatically detect connected IDE or SATA drives and display the status of the Acoustic Management of the device.

The status can either be inactive, low or normal and the noise reduction software displays possible options the acoustic management can be set to in a basic interface. The option to test the changes is given by the application but it appears badly implemented. Changing a setting will close the application in the end which means that the application has to be started again to perform the test.

The software can be downloaded at the author's homepage. The same page contains a version for Mac OS Classic and tips for Mac OS X users.

It needs to be noted that drives need to support Acoustic Management for the software to work. If that is not the case, it cannot be used to lower the noise your hard drive makes.

Also note that a reduction may affect the performance of the drive. It is recommended to keep an eye on the drive for a while after you have made the changes to make sure everything is working properly. If you notice performance issues, you may want to revert the changes again and use different means of reducing the drive's noise generation, for instance special dampened hard drive cases.

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  1. gooberv said on November 17, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    Adjusting the acoustic management to quite your drive will have a big impact on seek times. It can easily double your seek time.

    I would only recommend doing this If performance is not a top priority for you.

  2. Roman ShaRP said on November 11, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    Coolers makes much more noise than my Seagate HDDs. I really like Seagate for that low-noise drives :)

  3. Rarst has cool feed said on November 11, 2008 at 12:10 am

    It only solves part of the problem. AAM reduces noice that HDD heads make but it can’t reduce hum of engine.

    I am big fan on silent computing and HDD noise is bigger problem than it seems – it’d hardest part to silence.

    I am currently using boxes from Scythe http://www.scythe-usa.com/product/hdd/005/sqd1000_detail.html

    Not really DIY person and those are as good as manufactured boxes get.

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