Why does my PC make a buzzing noise?

The most common cause of a buzzing or grinding noise coming from a PC case is that one of the two internal fans is giving up the ghost. A power supply fan, found on the upper rear of the PC, generally cools the whole case. A CPU fan is a small fan that clips directly onto the CPU. Either can become loose or caked with dust, and make noise as they vibrate. This is generally a sign that it is time to replace the fan before it fails completely. Once a fan fails, it stops rotating and the offending noise disappears. This does not mean that the problem is solved! On the contrary, when a fan fails the problem has become much more serious. Now the heat is trapped inside the PC, or the CPU is not being cooled properly. This can quickly lead to random errors and the failure of other components, and repairs become much more expensive. So when you hear your PC making strange noises, it is a good idea to let someone have a look and determine the source to avoid costly repairs down the road.

February 1998

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