My computer is making strange noises — what do I do?

Generally, computers have 3 parts that can make noise: the speakers (duh), the hard drive, and the fan or fans. We’ll assume that you have already determined that the noise you’re experiencing isn’t coming from the speakers. This leaves the hard drive and fan, the two components in computers that have moving parts. Noise coming from either could indicate a problem, so here’s a few tips to figure out what it might be:

If it’s a quiet clicking or grinding noise, its probably the hard drive. Most computers have a flashing light that indicates hard drive activity, and if the noise is concurrent with this light it  is most definitely the hard drive. In this case, you should shut down the computer immediately and take it to an expert. Continuing to use the computer increases the chance of data loss drastically, and therefore should be avoided at all costs. When you bring your computer to an expert, such as the ones at South City Computer, he or she will generally copy the data from the old drive to a safe place, and then install a new one. Hard drives can’t really be ‘fixed,’ but replacements come at a reasonable price.

If the noise you hear is a louder clicking or fluttering, and it goes on constantly for the entire time the computer is powered on, it is most likely the fan. This poses a danger to your computer too, as a defective or obstructed fan can cause the computer to overheat. This will result in unexpected shutdowns, and can possibly permanently damage the CPU, by melting it. Shut down the computer immediately to prevent possible damage. If you can access the fan, make sure that no wires or dust is obstructing it. If this doesn’t solve the problem, or if the fan is inaccessible, take the computer to an expert to have the fan replaced. Fans are generally inexpensive, but an improper installation could cause the same problems as if the fan hadn’t been replaced at all.

In either case, the best solution is to shut down the computer right away and bring it to South City computers for a professional diagnosis. South City Computer can offer you wholesale pricing on parts that you might not otherwise be able to find at all, and of course, all installations will be done by one of our expert technicians.

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