If you're new to computing, there can be a lot of noises that your computer will make. It's important to know what the computer is telling you with these noises and if one noise is more significant than another. Not all noises are bad or an indication of a problem with your system so not every sound is cause for alarm. With that said, some do mean that something is wrong or not working correctly.


Hard drive spinning: If you hear your hard drive running, it usually means the computer is doing something with the hard drive- this can be anything from installing an application to playing a video game. A good indication that a software installation has been completed successfully is when you hear drivers being read or written to the disk.


PC Fan noise: The PC fan may spin up in speed during periods of extended CPU use and then slow down once everything returns to normal levels. This can happen in high temperatures so if you have the case open and it doesn't immediately return to normal speeds after turning off your system or closing out your applications, this may be an indication of trouble. Ensure that your heatsink and fan assembly are installed correctly and aren't clogged with dust or dirt. If you're still having issues, it may be time to buy a new heatsink for your processor.


Hard drive clicking: A hard drive can experience all sorts of problems during its lifetime but the most frequent one is failure due to physical damage- this usually occurs when someone accidentally steps on the hard drive or attempts to move their computer without powering it off first. This causes the read/write heads in the disk to go out of alignment with where they should be located on the platters which are what store data. Because these heads are now damaged, they will no longer properly read from or write to the platters and this clicking noise is usually an indication of the disk trying to access a bad area. If you haven't dropped your computer or physically damaged it in any other way, this may be a sign that your hard drive is failing and if you hear several clicks in a row- stop using your system immediately and back up all files because when the read/write heads go out of alignment, they can damage whatever platter they're reading from at that time which will cause permanent data loss.


Sounds coming from your speakers, even when you aren’t playing anything:


If you're hearing any kind of noise coming from your speakers when nothing is playing, it usually means that there's either a problem with the sound card or it’s not properly connected. The most common reason for this happening is because the device isn't set at 100% volume in Windows so make sure to check your system tray and right-click on the speaker icon- select "playback devices" and ensure all cables are tight between your speakers and sound card.


PC turning off unexpectedly: An unexpected computer shutdown can happen if something causes the PSU to overload- this could be due to an overloaded power strip, too many USB devices plugged into one outlet, or even faulty hardware that may have just failed. Pay attention to how and when this happens and what devices you had plugged in at the time. If you do experience a PSU shut down, replace the power supply with one that's of higher quality or has more power on hand to prevent these kinds of problems from happening again.


Static: Static is normal but can be caused by something such as dust accumulating on your sound card- if there's no obvious cause for it though, then there may just be interference with either your motherboard or network adapters which will need to be fixed. Check for loose cables and make sure all daughterboards are tightly inserted into their connectors on the motherboard. Also, check the BIOS settings to make sure nothing is too loud or is causing interference with other parts of your system.


Coil Whine, the other Clicks:


Coil whine is a high-pitched noise that usually only occurs during low FPS- it sounds just like the hard drive clicking problem but can occur on any component with an attached fan. If you have an older graphics card, this may be the culprit- the fan doesn't spin fast enough to compensate for heat which causes it to make static noises as it goes through this process. Ensure that your fan settings are set correctly in the BIOS and if this problem happens consistently, buy a new graphics card because this could potentially damage other components due to its high temperatures over time.


Coil Whine, the PSU: If you're suddenly hearing coil whine out of nowhere or it's getting progressively louder or more difficult to ignore, then something is probably wrong with your power supply. Either a cable is loose or the PSU itself has a problem and it's going to need to be replaced for this issue to go away- if your computer was making regular coil whine up until now, don't worry it's likely due to something too small to cause any damage but if this happens suddenly then you know what the problem was.


Clicking from Hard drive: If you're hearing regular clicking from your hard drive when trying to read from it, then something is most likely wrong with the platters inside that disk and they will have to be replaced. This doesn't mean that all data on there has been lost though since these drives typically store data in more than one place so while some may have been damaged by the clicking, there may still be data on the drive that hasn't been corrupted so please don't try and open it yourself to look.


Really loud sound: If something just turned your computer's volume up and you're hearing a loud buzzing noise, then you most likely have a short somewhere- unplug everything from the computer immediately and try to figure out what's causing it. There may be a faulty device that needs to be replaced before you can use the computer again or you may have just tripped over your power cable causing it to come loose- either way, try not to panic and if there isn't an obvious reason for the loud sound then the entire computer will need to be disassembled and checked.

Sounds Like Success


If your computer is booting up and everything seems to be working fine, then congratulations- there was probably just a piece of dust that got into something or it's because you hadn't turned your PC on for a few days and it needed time to run through its initial processes before doing anything.