By Paul Vaccarelli
Let’s say you turn on your computer and instead of the normal startup whirring, you hear something that sounds like your neighbor using his snow blower. As the computer continues its start-up routine, the noise changes pitch, then settles down to a constant drone.
Although a noise like this is scary, it probably is not anything serious. Your PC has a number of cooling fans that keep the temperature of the computer at an operable level.
Over time the bearings in a fan can wear and cause the sound described above. You could hear this noise for months or even years without the fan failing outright, but it is a good idea to have it replaced as soon as possible.
If it is the cooling fan for the processor chip that is failing, the processor could overheat and cause the machine to shut down without warning. This is a safety feature that prevents serious damage to the motherboard, but damage to your operating system could result from the shutdown. If it is the computer’s case cooling fan causing the noise, the whole unit could run hot. Finally, there is a small fan on some video cards that make a really loud buzzing sound when they are ready to fail. They are harder to fix because they are not standard. However, they are available on-line.
So, if you hear a loud buzzing noise coming from your computer, there is no need to panic, but get help sooner rather than later. Cooling fans are usually inexpensive, but the damage that can be caused by overheating a computer is not.
Paul Vaccarelli is general manager of PC-911, LLC. He can be reached at 303 807 2911. Phone consultations are free.