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  • Windows 7 PC making intermittent whirring/roaring noises

    Posted on IreneLinda Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support Windows Windows 7 Windows 7 PC making intermittent whirring/roaring noises

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      • #2209268 Reply
        IreneLinda
        AskWoody Plus

        Hi and help,

        This noise started up a couple of days ago. It had occurred a few months ago but stopped. Now it’s back and fairly constant, though it comes and goes every few seconds.

        My research suggested it was due to CPU overuse. I checked processes via Task Manager, found several instances of Firefox, one using over 500,000 K so I ended all the Firefox processes. It’s still occurring. The yellow disk usage light is not on constantly, but does seem to be on and/or flickering when the sound occurs.

        In Task Manager, the CPU usage graph hovers around 25% but goes up to over 50 and sometimes 70, but not necessarily timed with the noise. So I’m truly confused. And maybe this has nothing to do with CPU. The noise is hard to describe. It’s almost a low howling sound.

        I have no idea what to do to correct this (not being too conversant with processes and such techy things), but am concerned the noise is telling me I’d better do something. Can anyone here help direct me as to what to do?

        If you need more information, please let me know.

        Hope this makes sense to someone out there. And I hope all of you are staying safe and well.

        Linda

         

      • #2209279 Reply
        cyberSAR
        AskWoody Plus

        Laptop or desktop? How old? Have you cleaned the dust bunnies out lately?

      • #2209282 Reply
        Canadian Tech
        AskWoody_MVP

        Please answer as many of these questions as you can. Maybe I can advise you.
        1. Laptop or Desktop
        2. Age of computer
        3. make/model
        4. Operating system installed (e.g. Windows 7)
        5. 32 or 64 bit? (Right-click on Computer, choose Properties)
        6. Service Pack 1 (SP1) installed? Same place as 5 above.
        7. Capacity of disk drive, how much is in use? Pie chart shown in Computer
        8. Model number of hard drive (click Disk in Device Manager)
        9. If Windows has ever been re-installed since it was new, when was that?
        10. Age of hard drive if not the original
        11. How much memory is installed? (Right-click on Computer, choose Properties)
        12. Please list ALL installed programs…..
        13. What security software is installed?
        14. Is your internet service wireless or wired?

        CT

      • #2209287 Reply
        Mike
        AskWoody Plus

        Wouldn’t this be a fan going bad? Bad bearings.

        • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by Mike.
        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2209317 Reply
        IreneLinda
        AskWoody Plus

        Thanks so much for  your input. Sorry I forgot to include some key information.

        Cyber SAR: Cleaned with canned air about 2 months ago. At that time, there were very few dust bunnies.

        Mike: Guess it could be possible. The weird thing is that it did this then stopped for a few months then started again. Could that be a sign of failure?

        I’ll answer all Canadian Tech questions in order:

        1. Laptop or Desktop – desktop
        2. Age of computer – 2011
        3. make/model – HP Pavilion
        4. Operating system installed (e.g. Windows 7) – Windows 7
        5. 32 or 64 bit? (Right-click on Computer, choose Properties) – 64 bit
        6. Service Pack 1 (SP1) installed? Same place as 5 above. Yes
        7. Capacity of disk drive, how much is in use? Pie chart shown in Computer – 279  GB; 143 free
        8. Model number of hard drive (click Disk in Device Manager) – WDC WD3000HLHX-01JJPV0
        9. If Windows has ever been re-installed since it was new, when was that? Not sure. I think I did a restore from backup to test my image was working; about 5 years ago … I think
        10. Age of hard drive if not the original – 6 years
        11. How much memory is installed? (Right-click on Computer, choose Properties) 6 GB
        12. Please list ALL installed programs….. I’ll get back to you on this. There are a LOT
        13. What security software is installed? Microsoft Security Essentials
        14. Is your internet service wireless or wired? Wireless

        Hope this helps. If you still need programs, I’ll get them to you tomorrow.

        Linda

        • #2209328 Reply
          Canadian Tech
          AskWoody_MVP

          Irene, your next step would be to test your Western Digital hard drive for hardware problems: http://support.wdc.com/downloads.aspx?p=3 Data Lifeguard. It may be failing and this could explain it.

          If I had it on my desk, I would buy a new hard drive ($100 or less) and re-install Windows. You would likely be quite amazed at the performance improvement. Do it yourself. Neighbourhood shops frequently louse things up pretty good. The hardware change is very easy to do. The software work (installing Windows) is a 6 to 12 hour task. If you are good at following directions precisely as written, you do it. I have posted the procedure I use on my clients’ computers:

          Canadian Tech: How to rebuild a Win7 system with minimal snooping

          Do a thorough backup. Be prepared to re-install all programs. You will need a Windows 7 install disk for the edition (home, pro, etc.) and bitness (32 or 64) that matches your Microsoft Product key (sticker on your tower).

          If I can help just ask.

          CT

      • #2209325 Reply
        cyberSAR
        AskWoody Plus

        First I would make a backup.

        Next, I’d test HDD with mfr utility https://support.wdc.com/downloads.aspx?p=3&lang=en

        Crack the case open and see if you see anything amiss or if you can identify where the noise is coming from.

      • #2209389 Reply
        Cybertooth
        AskWoody Plus

        Based on experience (much of it tragic 🙂 ), my principal suspects for strange noises coming out of the PC are, in no particular order:

        1. Fan(s) inside the case clogged with dust
        2. Fan(s) inside the case, ball bearings going bad
        3. Hard drive (HDD) failing
        4. Power supply (PSU) failing

        Several good ideas have already been suggested. Here’s a couple more suggestions:

        • During normal use, keep tabs on the system and component temperatures with the CPUID Hardware Monitor. Download and install the program, then reboot the computer and start running HWmonitor before doing anything else, in order to get baseline temperature readings (middle column). Now use the computer as you normally do when the noise starts up. If you see a component’s temperature rising to high levels, the cause of your noise will likely be related to that. Take note of approximately how long after rebooting your noise starts; this will help with subsequent steps.
        • Separately from this, disconnect the HDD and run the computer (as normally as you can) off a live DVD or live USB operating system. This will help you to identify or exclude the HDD as the culprit.
        • If neither of the above steps works to narrow down the source, then go back inside the case and disconnect the fans. Disconnect one case fan at a time, reboot, use the computer normally, and see if the noise persists or doesn’t come back with normal use during the period of time that you recorded above (add a few minutes for good measure).
        • If you still haven’t ID’d the source, then disconnect the graphics card if you have one, reboot, and see (or hear) what happens within that same amount of time.
        • If the noise still persists after that, then it may be the CPU cooler fan. If possible, disconnect the fan and reboot, see (hear) what happens. In order to protect the CPU from possible damage, do not perform this step for any longer than necessary. Monitor CPU temp with HWmonitor, and halt the test and turn the PC off if it goes above 90C.

        Let us know what happens, and good luck.

         

        • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by Cybertooth.
        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2209418 Reply
        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        My seat of the pants guess would be that it is fan related, either one that is worn out (my first guess) or that is clogged with dust (especially likely if you have pets, as the pet hairs can get stuck in there and form what look like little felt pads).  Even with high CPU utilization, a fan should sound like a fan, but one with bad bearings can make all kinds of strange noises.  Note that it could be any one of several fans that may be installed… a case fan, a CPU fan, the fan in the power supply, or if you have a discrete GPU (video card), that would have at least one fan too.

        It could also be a hard drive as some others have noted, as they have electric motors and bearings like fans do, but I’ve seen more fans fail and make weird/loud/annoying noises than hard drives.

        Fans can change speed constantly, while most hard drives run at one specific speed when they’re on.    If you use a utility that reports fan speeds, you may find that one of the fan speeds reported correlates with the noise.  My old standby for this in Windows is SpeedFan, but anything that reports the fan speeds should work.

        If it does turn out to be a hard drive, the data on that drive is in danger of being lost, so be sure anything you would be sad to lose is backed up in some fashion, in case that is what is making the noise.  (That’s a good idea even if the computer isn’t making strange sounds too!)

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.18.5).

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      • #2209440 Reply
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        If I had it on my desk, I would buy a new hard drive ($100 or less) and re-install Windows

        I would have bought a SSD drive , certainly not a HDD.

        • #2209501 Reply
          Canadian Tech
          AskWoody_MVP

          Alex, you could by an SSD. However, if you are to get one that will last 5 years, you are going to need to spend a lot more. For the vast majority of users, the performance difference is not perceivable except for startup times.

          CT

          • #2209565 Reply
            Ascaris
            AskWoody_MVP

            Alex, you could by an SSD. However, if you are to get one that will last 5 years, you are going to need to spend a lot more. For the vast majority of users, the performance difference is not perceivable except for startup times.

            I don’t agree with this at all.  I can’t say what anyone would notice until I ask that person individually, but the performance increase from a [decent, not necessarily high end; I mean something that is on par with the lower end of the retail Samsung offerings] SSD is dramatic, across the board, compared even to the fastest HDDs.  It’s not just the OS start-up time… it’s also the start-up time of every application, a frequent source of complaints with many users.  File copying, file search, system/data imaging (backup), data load and save time from any given application, program installation, program removal, all of it is much faster.  Defragging would be faster too, but you rarely (if ever) need to do that on a SSD under typical workloads.

            A SSD makes virtual memory much more useful– I used to push Firefox (in the bad old days where it had memory leaks galore; this was with Windows 7) to the point that would have had me force-quitting it if I had been using a HDD, potentially losing whatever I was doing at the time, but with the SSD, it was still responsive and usable.  There was a definite slowdown, but not so severe that I couldn’t first finish what I was doing before restarting the browser.  (Since then, I’ve added more RAM, and Firefox has improved dramatically, which also affects its cousin, Waterfox).

            SSDs make virtual memory viable enough to where I’ve set the “swappiness” parameter on my Acer Swift (4GB RAM, non-upgradeable) to 100, the maximum, and even when I run ridiculous workloads on it (browser open with a lot of tabs, Virtualbox running, etc.) given its limited RAM, it’s still usable and responsive.  It’s the speed of the SSD that makes that happen.  More RAM would be better, but when you don’t have that option, you have to make do with what you do have, and a SSD makes that much easier.

            While the sequential burst speeds are the most impressive for a SSD, it’s not the best way to really look at its impact on performance.  A decent HDD can exceed 150 MB/s transfer (though it slows down the closer you get to the center of the disk), but a SATA SSD can saturate the SATA bus at ~550 MB/s.  That’s 3.7x the speed of the hypothetical HDD, but when you look at the 4k random read/write stats, that’s where you see the biggest difference.  A HDD will typically get 4k random scores of ~0.3 MB/s, while a SATA SSD can easily get more than 100 times that (30 MB/s or more).  That’s the kind of read and write performance that best represents most computing workloads, including virtual memory use.  It’s a dramatic change from a random seek time of ~12 ms to 0.12 ms (the actual measured seek time of my fast 7200 RPM Toshiba desktop HDD and my ~7 year old Samsung 840 Pro SSD).

            As far as the cost…  yes, the cost per GB is higher with a SSD, but for most people, it’s not prohibitively so.  You can get a 1TB HDD for ~$50 US, while the lower-end-ish 1TB SSD I chose for my Swift (Samsung 860 Evo) is now selling for ~$150.  You can get bargain-basement SSDs, but they’re likely to be much slower, particularly on writes, so I avoid these in favor of the Samsung line.

            On a price per GB basis, the SSD I cited above is three times the price of the HDD, but the speed increase (and decrease in power consumption and weight when you’re talking about a laptop) makes it very well worth it if you can afford it.  When I have to use a PC with a hard drive as the primary storage device, it feels like there’s something wrong with the thing, like some kind of disk error or malware that makes it feel like it’s walking through knee-deep mud.  It’s not, though; there’s nothing wrong with it.  It’s just the way a HDD system feels after becoming used to one with a SSD.

            The manufacturer’s rated write endurance of that 860 Evo is several times higher than that of my oldest SSD, the 840 Pro (which I have used for about 7 years), and the 840 Pro still has 68% of its rated life left, after I have beat the heck out of it for all that time.  If it died today, I’d be disappointed, but I would still say I’d gotten my money’s worth out of it.  There’s no reason to believe that’s imminent, though… as the TechReport test-to-the-death showed, a lot of drives (and the 840 Pro in particular) can live way longer than their rated life.  The technology has improved since the 840 was current, so now even the entry-level Evo series boast longer rated lives than the older Pro series, and by now the small 128GB SSDs like my 840 are on the way out in favor of larger drives (double the capacity means double the number of NAND cells, and thus double the write endurance).

            I’d strongly recommend a SSD to anyone except those who are extremely budget conscious right now.  That’s for the main OS/application drive; if you want one just to be a storage place for pictures, videos, etc., or for backup purposes, I’d go with the hard drive.  My desktop PC is set up to have three ~120 GB SSDs and one 3TB HDD.  The original plan was for one SSD (the 840 Pro) and one HDD, but I accumulated two more SSDs, so rather than let them go to waste sitting on a shelf, I installed them in the desktop and put them to use.

            All of this is based on the performance of the slowest category of SSD, the SATA SSD.  If you go NVMe, the speed differences become even more dramatic.  SATA is a standard built around the characteristics of hard drives, and has latencies built in that are pretty meaningless on a HDD, but that limit the performance potential of a SSD.  NVMe was built around the characteristics of SSDs.  If a given M.2 SSD slot can accept NVMe SSDs, I’d certainly go that way rather than with a SATA SSD.  Even a lower-end NVMe drive is an improvement on the fastest SATA SSD.  My Swift’s M.2 slot can’t accept a NVMe SSD, so I settled on a SATA model.  A HDD was out of the running on this model, as there is no HDD bay present.

             

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      • #2209510 Reply
        cmptrgy
        AskWoody Plus

        IreneLinda first of all create a system image backup along with your data separately also.

        Remove the side of the chassis to see if you can relate to where the noise is coming from when it happens.

        Your post #2209317
        7. Capacity of disk drive, how much is in use? Pie chart shown in Computer – 279 GB; 143 free
        8. Model number of hard drive (click Disk in Device Manager) – WDC WD3000HLHX-01JJPV0

        Here is the user benchmark for your 300GB WDC WD3000HLHX-01JJPV0
        https://hdd.userbenchmark.com/SpeedTest/3987/WDC-WD3000HLHX-01JJPV0
        You can test your HDD by clicking on Test your HDD in the upper right hand corner.
        Or use Western Digitals HHD test recommended by Canadian Tech & cyberSAR.

        Talking about fans & CPU’s.
        Last year one of my friends was having intermittent noises but kept putting up with it until it wouldn’t perform anymore.
        Taking it to the computer shop, the technician opened the case in front of us.
        The CPU heat sink compound was wearing out; needed to be replaced: fortunately that’s all it needed.
        As a computer ages, that’s a very possible issue.
        — I don’t recall if he had to replace the CPU fan also by friend was back in business very quickly.

        During the XP days, one of my friends had a similar problem also.
        We took of the side panel, still couldn’t determine where the noise was coming from.
        He had already blown out all of the dust bunnies.
        Anyway I used my hand to feel around in a safely manner of course.
        On the exhaust fan in the back of the tower, I could feel the vibration.
        Replacing that fan solved the problem.

        Take each idea one at a time and see if you can sense where the noise is coming from when it occurs.

        Just in case this could be a possibility on your PC, one time on another PC there was quite a bit whirring but a clunking sound was also included.
        It turned out it was the optical drive even though it wasn’t in use.

        During the week before Patch Tuesday I create a system image back with an additional data backup. Please consider a similar plan that suits your schedule.
        HP EliteBook 8540w laptop Windows 10 Pro (x64)

        • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by cmptrgy.
        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2209605 Reply
          Ascaris
          AskWoody_MVP

          During the XP days, one of my friends had a similar problem also. We took of the side panel, still couldn’t determine where the noise was coming from. He had already blown out all of the dust bunnies. Anyway I used my hand to feel around in a safely manner of course. On the exhaust fan in the back of the tower, I could feel the vibration. Replacing that fan solved the problem.

          In cases like that, I use a mechanic’s stethoscope from an auto parts store to narrow down the source of the noise.  Just be sure not to touch the metal tip to anything it shouldn’t (the obvious stuff)!  You can press the tip to the case near each of the fans, and the one making the noise should be noticeably louder when you’re near it.  You can unplug that fan briefly and see if that makes the noise go away (not for long, though, since heat will build up).

          Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.18.5).

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      • #2209519 Reply
        Cybertooth
        AskWoody Plus

        One other possibility: if you have speakers hooked up to the computer, they could be acting up.

        A couple of years ago, I walked into my office to hear a constant growling or low buzzing sound coming out of my main (Vista) PC. Turned out it was one of the speakers that had gone bad. Disconnecting them from the back of the case took care of the problem. Got a new pair, plugged them in, and the sound’s been fine ever since.

         

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      • #2209543 Reply
        G
        AskWoody Plus

        My brother had a computer making noise and it DID turn out to be the HHD.  Unfortunately, he did not backup his drive soon enough.

        Backup FIRST, sleuth later (as others have mentioned).

        5 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2209553 Reply
        WoollyMammoth
        AskWoody Lounger

        IreneLinda,

        A thought, on a different track from the above posts – re your comment on the hard drive light?  Does the machine run slower when the noise is on?  It’s possible there’s nothing wrong with the disc and perhaps it’s a fan noise.  Depends where the temperature sensor is.

        Couple of places to look (anyway): (you did say Win 7 ?)

        • Ctrl-Alt-Delete to get Task Manager up
        • Select Start Task Manager
        • Go to Performance tab
        • Toward the bottom of that window, click Resource Monitor
        • Click the header bars on the left to open the sub-displays
        • Open the Disk display in that manner
        • Select the header of the Write column which will sort that in order of processes which are writing to the disc, max rate at the top.  If the machine isn’t really doing much, those figures should be relatively low (discs write fast of course, so 10,000 to 100,000 B/sec won’t be unusual.  What you’re looking for is a process or processes that are accessing files with very high B/sec figures.
        • Even if not, those displays may help you troubleshoot

        Let us know if you find anything

         

        WM
        --
        Win7Pro SP1
        new Dec 2011
        rebuilt Jun 2016
        & still going nicely

      • #2209556 Reply
        Vincenzo
        AskWoody Lounger

        To test to see if a fan is noisy, open the computer up, and when you are hearing the noise, shoot a puff of canned air into the fan blades. That will change the speed of the fan and if it is the culprit, the noise will change as you puff the air on it.

        There could be 3 fans plus the one in the power supply.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2209576 Reply
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        Alex, you could by an SSD. However, if you are to get one that will last 5 years, you are going to need to spend a lot more. For the vast majority of users, the performance difference is not perceivable except for startup times.

        SSD will last longer then any HDD. SSD doens’t need defrag, chkdisk….

        2171144

        • #2209626 Reply
          Ascaris
          AskWoody_MVP

          Chkdsk fixes errors at the filesystem level, so it can be needed for SSDs too.

          People get really put off by the SSD’s limited number of write cycles, but hard drives don’t last forever either.  Somehow, having a ? in the “how long do we expect this thing to live” category bothers people less than having a number that’s so big that most of the devices in question will have been scrapped as obsolete long before they approach it.  It’s a consumable item, sure… but it’s there TO be consumed, so unless it’s one of those Surface type deals with the SSD built into the motherboard, I say go ahead, use it up!  Or try to, before the thing is so old and obsolete that you have no more interest in it.  Even if it’s a built-in deal like the surface, there’s no point in babying it to make it last any longer than it’s useful… the non-replaceability thing would bug me, but then I’d never buy a disposable PC like that anyway.

           

          Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.18.5).

      • #2209593 Reply
        IreneLinda
        AskWoody Plus

        Once again this lounge has totally blown me away! Thank all of you for ALL of your practical, step by step suggestions. You are terrific!

        Today, the PC has been on for 9 hours, although not in much use, and there is no noise at all! Before I go further, does this suggest anything? It’s still quiet as I type this post.

        First thing I’ll do is make an image backup since it’s a few weeks overdue already. My files are backed up in the cloud with Carbonite (although I still miss Mozy!).

        Will also open the side and check if there has been dust building up (I doubt that; no pets and not too long between cleanings). While there, I can maybe try to see if a fan is a culprit.

        I hesitate to replace the HD. I have Hard Disk Sentinel Pro and, although most of its information is beyond my technical ability to understand, it does tell me each morning that my disk performance and health are 100%. Temperature generally runs at 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Today’s average is 90.5. I couldn’t figure out how to calibrate the temp settings to ensure they are on point when I set up HDSentinel, however, so these may be a bit off.

        The power supply is only about 3 years old as I had it replaced by an outside technician when an APC backup failed and blew it out in a storm.

        As for other actions, I’m going to go through each of your posts and try all the suggestions that I can; then, report back.

        If anyone has an idea of what this “no noise today’ means and if it eliminates some of the suggested fixes, please let me know.

        Again, many many thanks to each and every one of you for your help. This kind of support is especially valued during these very challenging times!

        Linda

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        • #2209627 Reply
          Ascaris
          AskWoody_MVP

          Linda,

          I’ve had PCs with worn-out fans that exhibited this kind of behavior.  Sometimes they will be quiet when they are spinning slowly and get noisy as the PC speeds them up, which it will do in response to heat.  Some PSUs (power supply units) have constant-speed fans, but many of the newer generation ones have variable speed fans, and in some models they can often turn off when the power supply is cool.

          I have only had a few hard drives make noise, but in those, the noise was constant when the computer was on.  On desktops, I have always set the hard drives to never spin down, so if the PC is on, they’re up to speed.

          One other possibility that I didn’t think of before is coil noise.  Inductors, also known as chokes or coils, are components mounted on circuit boards (like the PC’s motherboard) to control the electrical characteristics of various circuits (they’re low-pass filters), and they can vibrate when they do their job.  If the vibration is within the human range of hearing, it may impart those vibrations to the air as sound waves that we can hear.

          Inductors are often coated in epoxy or other substances to keep them from vibrating, but as they age, that can become cracked and cease to do its job.  It’s less likely than the fan, but just a possibility to watch out for.  Coil noise can be nearly constant or frustratingly intermittent, depending on what the inductor is meant to do.

          You can search on Youtube for “coil noise” or “choke noise” and get some examples.  Come to think of it, I bet the other proposed causes of this noise would be on there too… if you find something that sounds like your noise, it may help you narrow it down.

          Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.18.5).

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          • #2209638 Reply
            Canadian Tech
            AskWoody_MVP

            I’ve encountered noisy fans too.

            Be very careful in any attemps to clean the fan blades. You can easily damage it.

            On one side of the fan in the middle hub is a sticker. If it is a case fan, remove the fan from the case. Peel it off partially to expose the bearing. Drop ONE drop of machine oil into that bearing. Holding the fan horizontally, spin the fan to work in the oil. Reseal the sticker. Re-install the fan. This won’t last for years.

            Case fans are usually rather inexpensive and easy to find. You have to know the dimensions and mounting to match them.

            The CPU fan may be part of the CPU cooling system. Replacing it probably means replacing the entire assembly which can be difficult to find and expensive.

            CT

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            • #2209782 Reply
              owburp
              AskWoody Plus

              I’ve encountered noisy fans too.

              Be very careful in any attemps to clean the fan blades. You can easily damage it.

              On one side of the fan in the middle hub is a sticker. If it is a case fan, remove the fan from the case. Peel it off partially to expose the bearing. Drop ONE drop of machine oil into that bearing. Holding the fan horizontally, spin the fan to work in the oil. Reseal the sticker. Re-install the fan. This won’t last for years.

              Case fans are usually rather inexpensive and easy to find. You have to know the dimensions and mounting to match them.

              The CPU fan may be part of the CPU cooling system. Replacing it probably means replacing the entire assembly which can be difficult to find and expensive.

              Note that not all fans offer access to the inner hub underneath the sticker (as I found out trying to lube a balky CoolerMaster case fan once). The one time I really needed to lube a noisy fan, it was a tiny 1″ chipset fan; the screws that held it to the heat sink required a jeweler’s screwdriver and tweezers to grab the screws after loosening them. I applied a tiny drop of motor oil using a sewing needle and it quieted the fan down for about a year before it would start squealing again. Anyway, if you want to view the procedure with 8×10 glossy photos with the circles and arrows and all that, check out this website —

              Keep ‘Em Spinning: How To Lubricate PC Fans

      • #2209601 Reply
        cyberSAR
        AskWoody Plus

        Just thought of something and although it may sound foolish, is it possible you have a cd/dvd in the drive and it’s spinning up making noises at times? I’ve heard some that sounded really bad before.

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      • #2209755 Reply
        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody_MVP

        Linda:

        The most likely source of noise is from some mechanical device. The two devices which are always “moving” are the fan and the hard drive. (Actually, I should say the “fans”, because you probably have more than one fan in your computer.)

        As cyberSAR pointed out, your CD/DVD drive could be making noise, because it “moves” sometimes. If you unplug the power cable which is attached to the back of the CD/DVD drive, and the noise stops, then the CD/DVD drive was the source of the noise. (Be sure to power the computer down before unplugging the drive.) If that didn’t fix things, be sure to power down and then reconnect the CD/DVD drive’s power cable.

        As for the fans, a long metal rod will allow you to listen to each fan “from a distance” – with the computer on, touch one end of the rod to a fan, and put the other end of the rod against your ear. In this way, you will be able to hear any noises that the fan is making. If one of the fans is making more noise than the other fans, then it is bad and should be replaced. You can likely find an exact match for the bad fan on Ebay or Amazon – the part number will be printed somewhere on the fan. And they are generally easy to replace.

        If none of that eliminated the noise, then it is likely your hard drive. If you have a spare hard drive with an OS installed on it, you could remove your current drive and install the spare drive. If the noise stops, then the hard drive was the source of the problem. In that case, do a complete image backup of your hard drive, then do a restore to a new drive. If you go with an SSD, you will eliminate any noise coming from the drive, because an SSD is not a mechanical device.

        Good luck!

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2209874 Reply
          Canadian Tech
          AskWoody_MVP

          Jim, Using a system image for a new hard drive is sub-optimal. It transfers the corruption that may be resident in the failing disk. It also does not yield the huge benefit of a new install.

          The way to diagnose whether it is fan(s) or hard drive in a desktop is to disconnect the power cord from the hard drive and then start up the computer. If you still hear the noise, it is one or more of the fans. If you do not, it is the hard drive. If you determine that it is not the HD, you can pin down which fan it is, by simply disconnecting the cable to each fan. You can do the same thing for the DVD player. Simply pull the power plug from it to isolate that device.

          Fans need not be specific make/model. There are many fans available. The least expensive and often the best are not necessarily the same one that is currently there. As long as you can match the dimensions, mounting points and connector, they will work just fine. Often better.

          Note well: Anytime you do things inside the desktop tower, you must first hold the ON button in for a minimum of 7 seconds, ground yourself.

          CT

          2 users thanked author for this post.
          • #2210058 Reply
            MrJimPhelps
            AskWoody_MVP

            Jim, Using a system image for a new hard drive is sub-optimal. It transfers the corruption that may be resident in the failing disk. It also does not yield the huge benefit of a new install.

            Anytime I have ever replaced a bad hard drive, I have backed up the bad drive if possible, then restored that image to the new drive. That is what has generally been advised in the case of a bad hard drive both at Windows Secrets and at Ask Woody. With the difficulty that can be encountered with regard to installing Windows updates when doing a clean install of Windows 7, and with a good working copy of Windows 7 currently in place, my advice would still be the backup/restore option rather than the clean install option. Although someone could potentially get better results by doing a clean install, it is a huge hassle to do so compared to the ease of the backup/restore method.

            Now, if Linda were to want to upgrade to Windows 8.1, I would definitely recommend a clean install. In fact, upgrading to Windows 8.1 would be my preferred option. But Linda has said that she wants to stay with Windows 7; therefore, my advise would be backup/restore.

            Fans need not be specific make/model. There are many fans available. The least expensive and often the best are not necessarily the same one that is currently there. As long as you can match the dimensions, mounting points and connector, they will work just fine. Often better.

            In the interest of simplicity, if you match the part number, the fan will work in your computer. Linda is not a long-time computer tech like you or I, and so I try to keep things as uncomplicated as possible in a case like that. However, it is good to know that just about any fan will work if the dimensions match.

            I respect your opinion; my opinion happens to be different in this case.

            Group "L" (Linux Mint)
            with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
            1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #2210060 Reply
              Canadian Tech
              AskWoody_MVP

              Jim, you are absolutely correct about Windows Update and a new install. That is why I created that guide to how to do it that I referred to earlier. If you follow that precisely as written it is problem free and actually quite easy. I know it works very well every time because I have followed that exact procedure literally hundreds of times.

              CT

              1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2209779 Reply
        cmptrgy
        AskWoody Plus

        IreneLinda , please let us know the model of your HP Pavilion.
        — It would be a good idea if we access the manual in case something should be checked out.

        Do you hear any beeps when powering the PC on?
        — If so, the manual could be helpful to determine what they relate to.

        I know you have blown out the dust bunnies and that’s fine.
        However also blow out the fins of the CPU heat sink really good.

        Also please let us know the exact CPU on your PC.

        In your post #2209593 you mention “First thing I’ll do is make an image backup since it’s a few weeks overdue already. My files are backed up in the cloud with Carbonite (although I still miss Mozy!).”
        — That is really great. I wish more people I help would do the same.

        During the week before Patch Tuesday I create a system image back with an additional data backup. Please consider a similar plan that suits your schedule.
        HP EliteBook 8540w laptop Windows 10 Pro (x64)

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2209870 Reply
        wavy
        AskWoody Plus

        Jim
        Old mechanics trick 😉

        As for the fans, a long metal rod will allow you to listen to each fan “from a distance” – with the computer on, touch one end of the rod to a fan, and put the other end of the rod against your ear. In this way, you will be able to hear any noises that the fan is making.

        Popular thread here but I will make it a bit longer still. If you have a graphics card with a shrouded cooling fan a slight shift of the fan blade on its shaft might bring it into contact with the shroud which could very well produce a whirring/roaring sound amplified by the plastic of the shroud. If touching the shroud changes the character of the sound you may have found the culprit.

        If Jim’s technique did not help and it was my computer I would take a cocktail straw or plain plastic straw and angling it in the direction of rotation of the fan slowly push into the area of rotation stopping the blade for a FRACTION of a second. Again if the sound goes away…
        This would not be for the faint hearted. And others may scold me but that IS what I would do.

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
        • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by wavy.
        3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2209944 Reply
        cmptrgy
        AskWoody Plus

        cyberSAR’s post #2209601
        “Just thought of something and although it may sound foolish, is it possible you have a cd/dvd in the drive and it’s spinning up making noises at times? I’ve heard some that sounded really bad before.”
        — That is not foolish as it can be a realistic situation and I personally saw that happen.

        That’s in agreement when I included “Just in case this could be a possibility on your PC, one time on another PC there was quite a bit whirring but a clunking sound was also included. It turned out it was the optical drive even though it wasn’t in use.” in my post #2209510.

        Canadian Tech post #2209874
        Includes “You can do the same thing for the DVD player. Simply pull the power plug from it to isolate that device.”

        IreneLinda since the noise is very inconsistent please do that as soon as possible.

        During the week before Patch Tuesday I create a system image back with an additional data backup. Please consider a similar plan that suits your schedule.
        HP EliteBook 8540w laptop Windows 10 Pro (x64)

      • #2209954 Reply
        cmptrgy
        AskWoody Plus

        Canadian Tech post #2209874
        “Using a system image for a new hard drive is sub-optimal. It transfers the corruption that may be resident in the failing disk. It also does not yield the huge benefit of a new install.”
        — I understand exactly what you mean

        However in IreneLinda’s post #2209317
        “I hesitate to replace the HD. I have Hard Disk Sentinel Pro and, although most of its information is beyond my technical ability to understand, it does tell me each morning that my disk performance and health are 100%.
        — I was interpreting that to mean the HHD is OK.
        — Could that mean the HHD needs further testing for corruption, failing or anything else?
        — If so, going through the procedures with Hard Disk Sentinel Pro to determine if anything in there is involved should be conducted and verified.

        During the week before Patch Tuesday I create a system image back with an additional data backup. Please consider a similar plan that suits your schedule.
        HP EliteBook 8540w laptop Windows 10 Pro (x64)

        • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by cmptrgy.
      • #2210254 Reply
        cmptrgy
        AskWoody Plus

        IreneLinda I know you are hesitant to replace your HDD but I really believe that we should verify its condition.
        That’s why I was asking Canadian Tech a few questions because I believe he is much more adept than I am in addressing that especially since the potential of the HDD can be the problem has been brought up at least a couple of other times.

        Anyway, we know that your Hard Disk Sentinel Pro and that each morning you get the disk performance and health are 100%. I haven’t used Hard Disk Sentinel Pro but maybe their summary report from them would help us know that the HDD is ok or not.

        You could consider a couple of 2nd opinions
        In my post #2209510, I included
        “8. Model number of hard drive (click Disk in Device Manager) – WDC WD3000HLHX-01JJPV0
        Here is the user benchmark for your 300GB WDC WD3000HLHX-01JJPV0
        https://hdd.userbenchmark.com/SpeedTest/3987/WDC-WD3000HLHX-01JJPV0
        You can test your HDD by clicking on Test your HDD in the upper right-hand corner.”
        — I just checked out mine on my Dell Inspiron 580 and the results came back just fine.

        OR

        “Or use Western Digital’s HHD test recommended by Canadian Tech (post #2209328) & cyberSAR (post #2209325).”
        https://support.wdc.com/downloads.aspx?p=3&lang=en

        During the week before Patch Tuesday I create a system image back with an additional data backup. Please consider a similar plan that suits your schedule.
        HP EliteBook 8540w laptop Windows 10 Pro (x64)

        • #2210257 Reply
          Canadian Tech
          AskWoody_MVP

          cmptrgy, Thanks. What I am advising is based on a lot of experience.

          A re-install will almost always yield an amazing performance improvement. It is actually not a bad idea to plan that activity about once every 3 years.

          The beauty of a re-install is not only the performance improvement, but also the fact that it solves all non-hardware problems too. when you have completed it, you know you are working with a perfect system.

          The work to get this done is no small feat. It is not a nice thing to have done that on a 5 year old drive and a year later be faced with a failure that means you need to do it again.

          The cost of the drive itself can be well under $100, and the work involved in the physical replacement is really very small.

          so, my conclusion is that the cost is not high, the reward is high. Easy decision.

          CT

          2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2211855 Reply
        IreneLinda
        AskWoody Plus

        Hi all,

        I know I’m overdue for an update and reply to all your excellent suggestions. It’s been a week filled with site issues so I haven’t been able to get back to my (no longer making noises except sporadically) computer.

        I’ll be back with more once I can get time to carefully go through everyone’s suggestions but can provide = a couple here now:

        1. Re. #2209954 – Ran a couple of tests with Hard Disk Sentinel as suggested and they both said the disk was just fine.
        2. Did Benchmark Test suggested in post #2210254. Looked horrid to me, but the details page suggested the scores were okay. I’ve attached it. Downloaded CT’s WD test to try it as well, but it would not run. Pop up said it had stopped working, there was some problem and 2 attempts didn’t help.
        3. Also attached the report from Hard Disk Sentinel Pro in its text version. Hope that is what you meant. I think it will give the technical specs you’ve been looking for re. models.
        4. The DVD player was replaced a while ago. I know the noise it made when it was going bad and this is different.
        5. There is no disk in the DVD player so that’s not it (too bad: that would be really easy to fix!!)
        6. I love that Mr. Jim Phelps remembered my Windows 7 vs. 10 discussion! 🙂 I’m sticking with out of date 7 until I can spring for a new PC with 10
        7. Appreciate your comment, cmptrgy “That is really great. I wish more people I help would do the same.” Want you to know it was this Lounge and its loungers that made me become more conscientious about backing up!

        That’s what I  can tell everyone for now. There are some I’ve not responded to, but tried to provide “likes” to show I’d read and tried them.

        My suspicion is fan since it has become so inconsistent a noise. Today it began just after powering up, lasted for 40 seconds and has been quiet ever since. With all the intensive web site and email tasks done last week, it remained silent.

        I will get back to this issue and try more of your suggestions as soon as I can get on top of our site and software issues. You are all being so wonderfully helpful, I feel very guilty not being able to get back to you promptly!

        Your most appreciative fellow Lounger,

        Linda

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2211860 Reply
        IreneLinda
        AskWoody Plus

        P.S. Oops, forgot attachments. Here they are …

        UserBenchmark-Score

        • This reply was modified 2 months ago by Elly.
        Attachments:
      • #2211863 Reply
        Canadian Tech
        AskWoody_MVP

        You need to understand that Disk Sentinel is NOT testing the hardware, but rather the logic of the data stored there. If the WD test will not run, your hard drive HARDWARE is failing. You need to replace that hard drive. You will also need to re-install Windows. Follow my procedure to minimize Windows Update pain. https://www.askwoody.com/2019/canadian-tech-how-to-rebuild-a-win7-system-with-minimal-snooping/

        Understand that it is more than preventing snooping. It is much more about not loading many WU’s that will mess up your computer.

        CT

        • #2212005 Reply
          satrow
          AskWoody MVP

          Disk Sentinel is NOT testing the hardware, but rather the logic of the data stored there.

          HDS can be used to trigger a drive’s self testing routines:

          HDS-self-test

          Attachments:
      • #2211864 Reply
        samak
        AskWoody Plus

        ” it began just after powering up, lasted for 40 seconds and has been quiet ever since. With all the intensive web site and email tasks done last week, it remained silent.”

        Exactly the symptoms I had, it was a fan. It was too difficult for me to fix so I just lived with the noise for a few months and one day it just went away by itself and hasn’t returned.

        W7 SP1 Home Premium 64-bit, Office 2010, Group B, non-techie

        • #2212071 Reply
          Paul T
          AskWoody MVP

          This is the same symptom I had on a bad fan. Replaced fan, all better.

          cheers, Paul

      • #2211949 Reply
        wavy
        AskWoody Plus

        One more idea: if the problem is intermittent it is likely a small change in equilibrium would alter the dynamics sufficiently to change the out come. Try tilting the desktop case by putting a ~ 1 inch spacer under it. worth a try for a temp fix.

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      • #2223532 Reply
        IreneLinda
        AskWoody Plus

        Hi everyone … at last,

        Sorry for the delay. Just too many other things to attend to.

        First, as for the hard drive (I know Canadian Tech really wants me to replace it and I will if it becomes definite that it is the problem): I used the disk drive test function in Hard Disk Sentinel referred to by Satrow and the result was positive. So I think the disk is healthy.

        Finally got the computer image backup done and just cleaned it. I’m embarrassed to admit that there was a lot of dust on the outside of the fan openings, which I had not seen. Removed that and used canned air to blow out dust bunnies inside case.

        There weren’t many “loose” dust bits, but I discovered a LOT of sort of baked on dust (likely due to heat and humidity of Florida) blocking the slats behind the largest fan that is visible on the lower right. 45 minutes with a Q-tip (actually a number of Q-tips) got rid of most of it.

        So the computer is back in service and so far, after only a half hour or so, it sounds much better and its temperature is 6 degrees F lower. I will monitor it for a few days and post back.

        I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it was all that baked on dust causing the issue. If not, on to next troubleshooting steps!

        My thanks once again for all your help and suggestions.

        Linda

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2223552 Reply
          wavy
          AskWoody Plus

          Hope you are good now Linda. One more thing, be sure to try to remove accumulations on the fan blades evenly to avoid unbalancing them. Sorry we did not mention this earlier.
          Stay safe

          🍻

          Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      • #2231846 Reply
        IreneLinda
        AskWoody Plus

        Thanks, wavy. Good advice. The blades were actually fairly dust-free, but that accumulated gunk must have been why the noise kept starting up again despite canned air cleaning. It’s been a few days now and all continues fine: no noise and a constant temperature about 10 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than usual.

        I apologize to the Lounge for not doing the cleaning earlier in the thread. On the other hand, I learned a lot reading through all the positive suggestions and advice. AND I will now clean every month!

        Linda

        • #2231847 Reply
          Paul T
          AskWoody MVP

          Every month is probably too often, maybe 6 to 12 months. Use the temperature as a guide.

          cheers, Paul

      • #2231876 Reply
        IreneLinda
        AskWoody Plus

        Oh, thanks so much for telling me, Paul. Also I appreciate the tip to use temperature as a guide. I’ll schedule it for 6 months out; check temperature; reschedule if  it’s okay. BUT I will continue to try to make my image backups every month!

        Linda

        • #2231926 Reply
          kiwisolutionz
          AskWoody Lounger

          Now you have had a cleanup; if the whirring noise returns early then it will more than likely be your Hard Drive telling you to backup your data and replace asap ( one of my laptops has just undergone surgery in this dept after lots of whirring audio this week). A usb airline is a handy dandy tool to keep around for regular blow outs around the venting areas in future team – amazing how fast dust gathers ; >)

          If there is magic on this earth ... it's in the water.

      • #2232238 Reply
        IreneLinda
        AskWoody Plus

        Thanks for that hint. I hadn’t heard of a USB airline, but will now look it up. Sounds as if you got to your laptop in time to prevent failure so that is good news. And yes, if it starts again, backup will be my first step!

        Update: hmm, couldn’t find anything under “usb airline”. What should I be searching for?

        Linda

        • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by IreneLinda. Reason: Added update
        • #2232436 Reply
          Paul T
          AskWoody MVP

          I can’t imagine you can provide enough power via USB for a small compressor. Stick to a small screwdriver, small brush and a vacuum cleaner.

          cheers, Paul

          • #2233194 Reply
            Ascaris
            AskWoody_MVP

            Good old canned air can be good too.

            Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.18.5).

      • #2233108 Reply
        cmptrgy
        AskWoody Plus

        Also ensure to clean out the dust within the CPU heat sink fins
        — I have seen some that were pretty caked up
        You can see what heat sinks look like here
        https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=cpu+heat+sink+fins&qpvt=cpu+heat+sink+fins&FORM=IGRE

        During the week before Patch Tuesday I create a system image back with an additional data backup. Please consider a similar plan that suits your schedule.
        HP EliteBook 8540w laptop Windows 10 Pro (x64)

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