When your computer is making unusual noises

Switching on a laptop to hear unwanted noises such as grinding or buzzing is never good news. It’s a sure sign that there’s something which is wrong and needs attending to. Ignoring noises won’t make the problem go away, it simply means that the issue will grow over the coming weeks and months with the possibility that the device could completely die without any notice with the high probability of catastrophic loss of data.

There are two main reasons a computer makes a noise; the fan and the hard drive.

The fan

The fan on a computer will often first come into action when the machine is turned on. This is to act as an internal cleaner of physical debris such as dust and dirt. The extra burst of a fan is required as when the device is running at the usual low speed of air flow it isn’t enough to blow away particles resting on the circuit boards or other components. If the fan is noisy then there’s every chance that there is something blocking the blades which are constantly hitting against the obstacle. The result can be a loud grinding noise and the culprit is often debris which has stuck to the blades when turning and in particular when they are slowing down after ceasing operation. The best remedy is to open up the casing and have a look at the fan blades. Clean with care and always have the device turned off and unplugged.

Hard drive

The more serious issue if you’re hearing unpleasant noises is that you could have an imminent hard drive failure. If you think this could be just about to happen – carry out a back up. You’ll need to make a local back up onto a CD which you can use for immediate re installation and you should also need a remote back up to be stored in case of an emergency.

The only noise a hard drive should ever make is a muted clicking sound when it’s in operation.

A failing hard drive will often make a grinding or squeaking noise. The deterioration can be swift and you need to act fast. Once the hard drive is becoming problematic, internal destruction is the next stage if there is something present in the hard drive. Loose items should never exist and when they do, the noise is the audible indication that it’s moving around. Internal destruction through a physical object is severe as it’s causing unknown damage and unfortunately the ultimate result is lost data which is very difficult or impossible to recover.

How to minimise data loss with a damaged hard drive

Making regular back up copies means you’ll always have a fairly up to date version of the contents of your computer should the worst happen. All you’d need to do is replace the hard drive and restore the data onto it.

If the drive is failing, immediately run diagnostic software. This will show up the problem areas and won’t let the computer use them again but it won’t fix the hard drive itself. If this doesn’t stop the noise, it’s time to back up and replace the hard drive. Professionals can help with advanced diagnostic repairs and data recovery during the failure period.

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