Experiencing sudden loud noises from your computer can be annoying and sometimes a little alarming. Even small laptops can make enough noise to disturb an entire office!
But a loud computer isn’t a cause for immediate concern. Before you panic and shut the whole thing down, let’s explore the two main reasons your computer might be making such a racket:
While there are several possible causes of a loud computer, the most common is the fan. If a computer is running at its maximum capacity, the fan will increase speed to keep the system cool. Additionally, the fan might be loose, prohibiting it from working efficiently.
The second most common reason for a loud computer is broken or loose components in the hard drive.
An overactive fan can be fixed in a few easy steps, while a hard drive issue may require professional support. Whichever issue you’re facing, we’ll walk you through a few steps to identify and solve the problem.
Diagnosing the Problem
Before you can fix the issue, you need to know what it is. Fortunately, you can usually tell what’s wrong with your computer simply by the type of sound it’s emitting.
Is it the Fan?
If your computer suddenly sounds like an industrial-strength vacuum, it’s probably your fan.
We don’t always think about it, but computers are a network of sophisticated electrical components generating immense power. Each of those components is sensitive to heat and needs to stay cool as it operates.
Your computer’s fans ensure that air circulates continuously through the internal circuitry, blowing out hot air and pulling in cool air. If the airway is blocked or if the computer is running at max processing power, the fan may be working way too hard.
Is it the Hard Drive?
If you suddenly hear a new noise that is unmistakably different from a fan revving up, you may want to get your computer checked.
How to Fix a Loud Computer
So, how do you make your PC or Mac quieter?
If the issue is with a broken or faulty part in your hard drive, you have the option to try to fix it yourself or take it to a professional. However, unless you have some experience with computers, we recommend taking it in. If you don’t know how to remove a hard drive, you may easily cause more damage and lose your data.
For most of us, though, the problem will simply be with the fan.
How Do I Stop My Computer Fan From Being So Loud?
Computer fans get noisy when your computer is overheating. The solution is to check for blockages, end any unnecessary tasks, and ensure your fans and vents are clean.
Step 1 – Make Sure You Aren’t Blocking the Air Vents
If the air vents are blocked, the fans can’t expel the heat from inside your computer. This blockage will cause them to work harder while your computer continues to overheat.
Here’s how to fix this problem.
- For a desktop computer – Check the computer’s surroundings. Ensure that it is standing clear of any other structures, especially anything like blankets, pillows, or furniture.
- For a laptop – Be sure you aren’t resting your laptop on a pillow, bed, carpet, or blanket. It may seem more comfortable, but anything soft will block the vents.
Make sure your laptop or desktop is on a smooth, flat surface and in an open area rather than in a cabinet or drawer. If you want to work with your laptop on your lap, we recommend getting a cooling pad or lap desk. Never leave your computer out in the sun for too long.
Step 2 – Close Any Unnecessary Processes or Tasks
Sometimes your computer overheats because it’s doing too much!
A little extra noise is normal if you’re running a game or scan that takes up a lot of processing power. But if your computer seems to be heating up and you don’t think you’re running any big tasks, it’s time to check and make sure nothing is running in the background.
Here’s how to check for background processes:
- On a PC: Hit “control + alt + delete” on your keyboard and then select “Open Task Manager” from the menu that pops up. You can look at the tasks and processes running and end any functions you don’t need.
- On a Mac: Hit “command + option + esc” on your keyboard. A “Force Quit” menu will pop up, allowing you to select any applications you don’t need to run at the time.
Step 3 – Clean Your Air Vents and Fans
If you’ve ensured your computer has access to cool air, but the fans are still overheating, you may need to clean them out.
You’ll need a compressed air duster can and a microfiber cloth. Make sure you’ve turned off and unplugged all components before you start.
To clean, simply apply short spurts of air at an angle to blow dust up and away from the internal parts of your computer. You can take the back or bottom off to access the inside. Gently spray everything with air and then wipe with your microfiber cloth.
Final Note: Is Water Cooling Quieter?
Water cooling is both a lot quieter and a lot more expensive.
For the computer-builders out there, water cooling systems are a popular choice for computers. The system uses small pipes of liquid to cool the internal processors instead of fans. They take up less space and are very quiet. However, as we mentioned, these bonuses come with a hefty price tag.
A computer that sounds like a revving engine is not necessarily a cause for panic. The noise may just be a sign that your computer’s fans are doing their job!
Use this article as your guide to know what type of sound you’re hearing and what you can do to fix a loud computer. You can also purchase a few essential accessories to regularly clean the internal parts and keep your computer cool and running smoothly.