It seems that my external USB hard disk drive(HDD) crashed today. It was making loud humming noise along with periodic clicks. After checking all the processes running, I noticed that the regular backups were still not finished. Normally, they take less than a minute as they are differential ones rather than full backups. The cron job had started at around 04:00hrs and was still running when I discovered the noise i.e. at around 09:00hrs.
After trying to stop the task and then kill it, the HDD was still making the noise. So I decided to reboot and check it. The PC did not shutdown as it was waiting for the USB HDD to unmount first. The USB HDD was not responding and in the end I just turned it Off.
After rebooting the system did some journal correction and said everything was fine. However, the clicking noise was still there! To test it with the Western Digital software, I had to boot in windows and did the quick test and the extended test. No error was reported, but the clicking sound was still there. So I called up WD as the disk was still under warranty. WD's 1-800 number does not have that many choices and the best one I could find was "1" = RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization). To my surprise the person at the other end just asked the serial number of the drive and said that it was still under warranty and I just needed to give my shipping information to them so that they can send me a new one.
Yippie, I will be getting a new HDD and I just hope it doesn't die on me like this one!