When a hard drive shuts down, the heads zip to the inner tracks and may cause a slight thump as the control arm bumper hits its stop.
Check the energy control settings of the control panel concerning the hard drive. If 'maximum' efficiency is set, that could cause the hard drive to shut down after only a few seconds of inactivity. This can cause excessive wear on the heads and platters, shortening its life. Best is to have it run continuously, only shutting down when the system is shut down. For laptops, of course a 'maximum' energy savings is desired.
"Never shut off" is the best choice for a hard drive, and "after 5 minutes" for a blank-screen process. A screen "saver" is no longer required, with flat-screen LCD types. Best that the input video signal goes off, and the monitor will turn off its display after a bit. Saves the backlight tubes from dying too quickly!
F@H.. to solve mankind's maladies.. in our lifetimes!