External hard drives are a convenient way to store your digital photographs, but they have finite lifetimes and eventually fail. Failing drives have a number of distinctive sounds that can warn you and give you some time to start a data-exodus to a healthier hard drive. Datacent, a data recovery company, has a useful page on which you can listen to some of the most common “bad drive sounds”. These are categorized by manufacturer, and include things like stuck spindles, disk heads crashing, accessing bad sectors, and bad bearings. If your drive makes any of these sounds while your photographs are still accessible, begin evasive maneuversimmediately!