Hard drive vendors have a magic number they use to ward off evil spirits, know to the world as the ‘MTBF' (mean time between failure), usually a comfortingly large number.

Here's a Canadian data recovery company website that offers the less thrilling dark side of that number, the sound made by a range of drives at the point of their failure. I've experienced a few hard drive failures in my time, all but one in 2.5 inch laptop drives, but until now I hadn't realised that so many physical problems could commonly afflict hard drives.

It's worth pointing out in defence of the industry that these drives were taken from the furnace into which no hard drive enjoys being thrown in, the data centre. Data centre hard drives take a hammering at temperatures most PC units would never approach.

The company even reports requests to use the sound of failing hard drives as syncopation in music. It's safe to assume that anyone asking to do that has probably not had a bad afternoon with some bad sectors or a drooping head to traumatise them.