Why is Your Computer Making Weird Noises?
Is your computer making weird noises? To fix it, the first thing you should do is find the source of those loud noises. This is a complete guide in how to troubleshoot where the weird sounds like buzzing and grinding are coming from, and what the causes are.
Computer CPU Noises
|Beeping||Motherboard has detected that the fan is not running correctly.|
|Whining||Whining also known as coil whine, indicates that your hard drive is using to much power.|
|Clicking||Laptop fan is not installed or operating correctly.|
|Buzzing||A floating bearing on a CPU fan is failing.|
|Whirring||A loose CPU fan can cause a whirring noise on your computer.|
|Grinding||Dirty fans can cause a CPU to make a grinding noise. A hot CPU temperature can also cause grinding noises.|
Laptops usually only have one fan but desktop PCs usually have two and can have three or more. If the sound coming from your computer goes makes a buzzing or grinding sound, then it might be coming from your fan. The cause of the noise is probably fan friction or the fan being hit when it’s spinning.
Try cleaning your fan by using cotton and isopropyl alcohol, then let it dry before checking if the fan still makes noise or not. If it still does, then you may need to replace your computer’s fan.
If the sound is a low humming or distortion when music is playing from your computer, it’s probably the speakers. The noise is caused by the speaker being damaged by playing things at a volume higher than what it’s capable of.
If the sound goes “clack,clack,clack”, then it might be your DVD reader or your HDD. This is a sign your reader is on its way out. Other symptoms are that it fails to eject discs and tries to read disc even when there are no discs in the reader.
Hard disk drive
As mentioned above, if you hear a “clacking” noise coming from your computer, it’s usually your HDD or your DVD reader. The “clacking” sound is due to the mechanism in your HDD being worn out and is a sign that your HDD is failing. Other signs are your files frequently getting corrupted, your programs freezing and long waits to read or copy files.
You should back up your data when there’s even slight signs your HDD is dying. You should also replace your HDD if that’s what’s wrong with your computer.
Miscellaneous electrical components
If it’s making a buzzing or humming noise, it’s probably a power related electrical component. Which component is difficult to identify by sound and needs to be troubleshot further.
With laptops, the buzzing or humming noise is more often than not an adaptor problem and not a problem with the laptop itself.
How To Fix a Computer CPU Fan Making Whining Noises
The whining noise coming from your computer is probably coil whine.
Coil whine is a high-pitched noise that sounds like a quiet whine. It’s caused by electrical currents in your computer that go too high past a certain point which cause the coils in your computer to vibrate. This vibration is what makes the coil whine.
How is coil whine related to your CPU fan? Well, if your fan is working extra hard and going extra fast then it’s using more power. More power usage means higher electrical currents which means coil whine.
If you want to fix your CPU fan that’s making whining noises, then you can:
Clean out your computer
Open up your computer case and use some canned air to clean up your CPU fan as well as the other things inside your computer. Being dirty will clog up the fan and force it to run faster as well which will cause the whining noises.
Keep your computer cool
If your computer is cool, your fan won’t need to run fast and won’t produce whining noises. Try to kill off any programs you’re not running so that they don’t eat resources in the background. Make sure everything inside your computer is packed nice and tidy so that your fans can run more efficiently.
Limit your computer’s performance
This is taking a step more than the one above; limit how hard your computer (and the CPU fan) is working. You can try to lower the max number of frames per second the GPU on your computer processes. You can also try putting a cap on the max speed your fans are allowed to run but be warned; this runs the risk of overheating your computer.
Replace the CPU fan
You should replace your CPU fan if it’s faulty and producing excessive coil whine. However, it should be noted that some low quality CPU fans produce coil whine brand new because they’re poorly made. Read up on reviews online and get a high quality fan you can afford.
Soundproof your computer
This only really works on desktops but if you don’t mind the work, you can try soundproofing your computer case. Insulate the inside of your computer case by putting in sound protective foam or some thick fabric on the door of your case and the part of the case that will face you when in use.
If all this fails and you still have coil whine, then you just have to live with it and ignore it. You can do this by using headphones whenever you use your computer or by sitting further away from your computer, specifically the source of the coil whine.
How To Fix a CPU Making Grinding Noises
If your CPU is making grinding noises, it’s probably because it’s dirty, hot or running inefficiently. You can do the following to fix the grinding noises:
- If your CPU fans are dirty
Then clean them! A desktop will have more fans than a laptop so it’ll take longer to do if you’re cleaning a desktops fans. It takes roughly 30 minutes to clean all the fans in a desktop computer.
You need to clean the power supply fan and all the case fans. You can manually wipe your CPU fans but canned air will save you a lot of time and headaches.
- If your computer gets too hot
You should take preventive measures to avoid your computer from heating up so much in the first place. If your computer is running too hot then you end up with overworked fans which causes the grinding noises. Avoid running taxing programs too often and try not to use your laptop or desktop in places that are too hot to begin with.
- If your computer isn’t running efficiently
Then you need to check your task manager for demanding programs and shut them down if you’re not using them. If your fans aren’t dirty or outright defective then your software and operating system running your computer ragged will be what’s causing the grinding noise.
The task manager is a tool that helps you check which and how programs are using your computer’s hardware. Most importantly for the purposes of fixing your problem, the task manager lets you see what’s stressing out your CPU.
To use your task manager to check up on your CPU:
- Use the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+Esc or just look up the task manager on your start window.
- Click the processes tab.
- When you’re in the processes tab, click the CPU column. This will arrange your computer programs being used by how much capacity they are using.
- Usually when a program is out of control, the percentage of CPU it’s using is going to be really high. They might be close to 100%. If the programs are using CPU percentages below 25%, they’re usually nothing to be worried about.
- Usually you just need to stop the offending program but if it’s serious you may need to repair or uninstall the offending program.
If all of the above fail to fix the grinding noise, then you’re most likely going to have to replace your CPU fan. Replacing CPU fans yourself is a relatively easy project to do.
Sometimes the bearing of the CPU fan is the problem. Some people are successful fixing the bearing, but most of the time you should just replace the fan.
How To You Fix a CPU Fan Making Clicking Noises
If your CPU fan is making clicking noises, you may have a CPU fan that’s not installed properly. Always remember that the correct way to put CPU fans in (for desktops). The front, side and bottom fans need to be bringing air into your computer’s case while the rear and top fans need to be taking air out of your case.
The clicking noise may also be caused by:
- The CPU fan is a cheaper variety that makes clicking noises at slow speeds. Cheaper, budget CPU fans commonly make clicking or humming noises even when nothing’s wrong with them. If this is the case, you either need to get used to the noise or replace the fan with a higher quality one.
- A sleeve bearing is installed the wrong way and makes the clicking noise when it hits things it shouldn’t if it’s installed properly. The sleeve bearing needs to be removed and reinstalled properly.
- The CPU fan is hitting another component. It might be a plastic tie, power cable or data cable near the CPU fan. You can fix this problem by rearranging your components and making the inside of your computer tidier.
- The CPU fan is dying. If your CPU fan is on its last legs then it’ll make all kinds of noises, like clicking noises. If this is the case, you don’t have much of a choice but to replace your fan.
- The CPU fan is dirty and jammed up with dust. Open up your computer to check if this is the case and if it is, just clean your fan using isopropyl alcohol or a can of compressed air. You can also use contact cleaner which is designed for cleaning circuit boards because it’s also great for cleaning CPU fans.
How Do You Fix a Laptop making Loud Whirring Noises?
If your computer is making loud whirring noises, it’s probably a CPU fan doing it. A fan may have come loose or your computer is running so hard that the fans need to go faster than they should to keep your computer cool.
If it’s a loose fan, you just need to put it back in properly. Another possibility is that another component has come loose and is hitting your fan, so check for that as well.
If your fans are just running hard, then put less work on your computer by closing any high demand programs. If doing that doesn’t help then it may not be taxing programs that are making your computer hot; it might be dust and dirt.
In this case, you need to make sure all the insides of your computer are clean and not just the fans; using a can of compressed air works wonders on both desktops and laptops.
However, loud whirring noises might be a sign of something much more serious; a dying hard drive. A dying hard drive usually makes clicking noises but sometimes they make whirring noises as well.
If the problem is a dying hard drive, there’s not much else you can do but back up everything inside it and replace it with a new hard drive.
How To Fix a CPU Fan Making Buzzing Noises
A CPU fan making buzzing noises is a sign that a floating bearing is failing. If a floating bearing on a CPU fan is failing the best thing to do is replace the whole fan.
If you’re lucky though, the buzzing noise is just because your computer or just your fan is dirty. Dust and debris can cause buzzing noises but it’s rarer than the noises listed above.
Another thing could be that you’re just pushing your computer hard and your fan is making buzzing noises because it’s spinning fast.
Before replacing your CPU fan, try the following troubleshooting methods:
Clean your computer and CPU fans
Make sure the inside of your computer case is free from debris and dust using a can of compressed air. Clean your power supply and all your case fans.
Preventing your computer from heating up to begin with
Use your computer in a cool and well ventilated room. Try to constantly kill any programs that aren’t in use so that they don’t stress your computer in the background. If you’re using a laptop, consider using an external fan whenever you can.
Using your task manager more often
Your operating system and your programs are what are making your computer work hard if there’s nothing wrong with your hardware. Use the task manager in your computer to check which programs are running on your computer and stop any of them you’re not currently using. Also, stop any program that’s using too much of your computer’s resources.
How To Fix a CPU Fan that’s Making a Rattling Noise?
The rattling noise coming from your computer is most likely your CPU fan acting up. It’s probably bad bearings on the fan or the fan brushing up against something like a wire while it’s running.
On desktop computers, you can easily troubleshoot which fan is making the rattling noise by opening the case and checking if any of the fans are hitting something or if they’re not spinning well like they should.
If the fan is hitting something, then just tidy up the insides of the desktop so that it stops hitting the fan. You can also try tightening all the screws of the components inside your computer.
If the bearings of your fan are spoiled, you need to replace it.
Another thing that might be causing your CPU fan to make rattling noises is that the axle of your CPU fan blades is out of place. If you dropped your computer right when you started getting the rattling noises from your fan, this is a strong possibility to consider.
How To Fix a CPU Fan that’s Making Beeping Noises?
On some computers, if the motherboard detects that a fan is not running properly, it’ll report a CPU fan failure. It alarms you by beeping and sometimes sending you notifications. If your fan is broken or malfunctioning, then you’ll need to replace it.
However, if your fans are all fine and you’re still getting the beeping because your computer thinks that the fan is busted then you should try uninstalling then reinstalling your CPU fans. If that doesn’t work, then you need to disable your computer’s fan failure detection.
This is fairly simple and all you need to do is:
- Go into BIOS on your computer.
- Go to PC Health Status.
- Look for System Fan Fail Warning.
- Disable System Fan Fail Warning.
How to Fix a Laptop that Beeps 3 Times on Startup?
On most computers, three beeps on startup means something is wrong with your computer memory (RAM). Most of the time just taking out the RAM and putting it back in your computer will fix this problem. Sometimes it’s not the RAM that’s the problem but the RAM slots.
To test this, get a set of RAM sticks that are confirmed to be in working order and put them in your computer. If you’re still getting beeping, it’s the RAM slots on your computer that are the problem.
On some computers, the three beeps can be varied to help you pinpoint the problem with your computer memory.
- Three beeps, two times and then one beep means your CMOS battery or CMOS RAM is spoilt.
- Three beeps, two times and then one beep can also mean a CMOS configuration error on certain computers.
Why Does Your Computer Beep 4 Times on Startup?
Four beeps on certain computers means memory failure. This problem can mean a problem with your computer’s RAM or RAM slots and you might be able to fix it by just removing then reattaching the RAM back in your computer.
However, four beeps can also mean a loose video card or a loose CPU. Worst case scenario is that four beeps means a faulty CPU. If it’s just a loose video card or CPU then you just need to attach them properly.
If it’s a faulty CPU though, you need to back up all the stuff in your computer and try to get a replacement as soon as you can. If you can’t get a replacement, then you can back up your computer and use the faulty CPU until it eventually dies for good.
Why Does Your Computer Beep 5 Times on Startup?
If your computer beeps five times on startup, it usually means one of three things. It depends on the brand and make of your computer but those three things are:
- Your computer does not detect a CPU.
This means that your CPU is not compatible with your motherboard. Your motherboard doesn’t support the CPU because of the version of bios firmware that it has installed. Therefore, upgrading your bios firmware will fix the problem.
The bios firmware can be found on your motherboard makers website under your motherboards model number.
- Your pair of matching memory modules are currently in the wrong slots. They just need to be placed in the correct two of the four slots on your motherboard. Your computer or motherboard manual usually shows the correct positions that you need to put the memory modules in listed within.
- Your GPU is unplugged. If your motherboard doesn’t have integrated graphics and your GPU is not plugged in, then you’ll get the five beeps problem. Just plug your GPU back in to fix it.
What To Do when your Computer Beeps and then Turns itself Off?
If your computer beeps and then proceeds to turn itself off, it could be because of a:
- Faulty power supply.
- Faulty power source connected to a good power supply.
- There are too many things drawing power from inside your computer.
- Faulty RAM.
- Your CPU is overheating and is automatically shutting itself down.
- Your GPU or other PCI/PCI-E devices are faulty.
- Your hard drive is defective.
- Your keyboard or USB device is somehow drawing too much power.
- Your motherboard itself is defective.
- Your memory is installed wrongly.
- Your heatsink is installed wrongly.
What Does your Macbook Pro Beeping Mean?
Your Macbook Pro can warn you if something is wrong with it and it does this by beeping. Some models flash their notification lights but pretty much all of them send out beep codes when there’s a problem with them.
Macbook Pro Beep Codes Explained
A single beep, one tone with a five second pause and then a repeating of the beep means you have no RAM installed.
Two successive beeps means there’s RAM installed but it’s not compatible.
Three successive beeps, three tones with a five second pause between and then a repeat of three beeps means you have RAM installed but it’s faulty.
One long beep when you hold down the power button means there’s a firmware upgrade ongoing.
Three long beeps, three short beeps and then three long beeps means there’s firmware restoration ongoing.
Looping three beeps on startup means that your Mac hardware is incompatible with the operating system you’re trying to boot. Older Macs have this problem when you try and update it to something it just can’t handle.
Five beeps means that your processor is unusable.
Why Does your Macbook Pro Beep Three Times?
Your Macbook Pro beeping three times on startup means that there’s a problem with your RAM. It’s usually a problem with the RAM itself but it could be a problem with your Macbook’s RAM slots.
If you’re lucky, it’s just that your RAM has come loose and needs to be reattached. RAM coming loose usually happens after you drop your Macbook Pro.
It could also be that your RAM has just gone bad and stopped working. You’ll need to get new RAM for your Macbook if that’s the case.
Maybe you got the three beeps after you installed new RAM? This means you may have installed RAM incompatible with your Macbook. You need to get RAM your Macbook can use in that case; check with the store or online before you buy!
Lastly, it could also be a solder point problem between your RAM slots and your logic board which is a much more difficult fix. Hopefully your warranty is still active if this is the case.
Why Does your Macbook Pro Beep Three Times then get a Black Screen?
If your Macbook Pro beeps three times and then gets a black screen, it’s probably not the RAM but the logic board in your Macbook causing problems.
If you’re lucky, it is just a problem with your RAM. Try removing and reattaching your RAM and see if that fixes your problem and if not try using RAM that’s confirmed to be in working condition on your Macbook. Hopefully that fixes your problem.
Unfortunately if it doesn’t, the beeping and black screen is probably being caused by a logic board problem. It’s a GPU issue. The only way to fix this is to get a logic board replacement which is a costly fix.