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May272014

Compu-Triage: Help! What is this NOISE?

So that's what that noise was...

You’ve donned your yoga pants and work-out t-shirt. You’ve started playing soothing music at a low volume. You go to YouTube’s search bar:  “Yoga tutorial beginner,” you type. A whole list of promising videos pops up. So what if it’s June? You’re going to make good on those New Year’s resolutions. Good for you! You assume the Mountain Pose as your level-voiced instructor suggests, and take a deep breath.

This is when your tower starts making… a noise. It’s so different than the comfortable hum you’re used to hearing that your concentration is immediately ruined.

HARD DRIVE CLACKING

Your hard drive making a clicking, popping, or clacking sound could mean that it has a fatal problem. Because this is where all your data is stored, you don’t want to take any chances. Turn your computer off and take it into your local computer repair shop for a checkup.

LOUD FAN

Momentary fan-loudness is not a problem; that's just it doing its job. So if you hear your fan get up to Force 5 Hurricane then dip back into its normal range, don’t panic – but do bring it to a computer repair shop to get a thorough hardware cleanup when you get a chance. You want to make sure the tower isn’t so clogged with dust and cat hair that the air flow is blocked, causing temperatures to rise high enough that your fan needs to go on Emergency Full Blast every now and then. Take care of the problem before it becomes a much bigger problem.

If the fan starts doing its helicopter impression and doesn’t stop, you have a big problem. Either the temperature sensors are broken – good news! – or the tower has become so hot, your fan’s A-game can’t bring it back down to safe levels. That is very, very bad news.

BEEPING

A code of beeps is your BIOS’ red-alert signal. The code could mean anything from problems with power, bad memory, a component out of place, or a dead motherboard. It’s important to translate the beeps before taking action. You can try asking Google, but if that doesn't work, bring your computer in to an expert for diagnosis.

A quiet PC is a healthy PC. If you notice any kind of strange and unknowable noises emanating from your machine, you should bring it in to your local computer repair shop for a checkup. Ignore these kinds of problems for too long, and you could have a tragedy on your hands. As a general rule, if your computer ever starts acting in a way that gives you pause, it is always best to take it in for a checkup. Better safe than sorry! Now get back to downward dog.

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