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Rattly laptop fan noise question
March 4, 2011 2:22 PM   Subscribe

LaptopFilter: Toshiba x505 fan noise issue - why's it being loud and what to do about it?

Shortly after I got my nice new Toshiba x505 laptop, one of the fans started rattling when it kicks in. It's brand new, so I don't know why it would be doing this.

It is under warranty, but I'm uncertain about sending it in. For one, I've got a lot of music on my hard drive. It's non-DRM'd stuff I burned from my own CDs, and I'm paranoid about someone going OMG HERETICAL MUST BE FILESHARING and getting my ass in a sling. I've also added mods to the case in the form of a custom decal sticker. If I hand it over, even if I back up all the info on the drives, what guarantee do I have that I'll have the SAME COMPUTER returned to me?

Also it's my only computer, and going without for who knows how long might send me into withdrawals. (It's my primary - and sometimes only - form of communication with very widespread friends.)

I can narrow down which fan is malfunctioning. Is it possible, feasible, advisable, or reasonable to just order and replace it myself instead of sending it back under warranty?

I'm also very mistrustful of small-time repair shops, even 'authorized' ones, because of some bullshit in the past with a desktop that they full-on replaced without my consent (losing all the information on my hard drive in the process!) when all I needed was a warranty replacement of a freaking power supply and expressly told them NOT to replace anything else without my consent.

In short, what could I or should I do about this? My pretty x505 was whisper-quiet at first, and now it's highly annoying.
posted by Heretical to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
 
Did you try blowing compressed air in there? it might be dust, fuzz, etc..
posted by empath at 2:31 PM on March 4, 2011


They're not going to look on your hard drive, silly. Send it in, they'll replace your fan!
posted by dunkadunc at 2:47 PM on March 4, 2011


I previously worked in a call center specifically handling laptop repair issues for a major laptop manufacturer (not Toshiba). I do know that Toshiba did outsource repairs to some of the same depots I dealt with daily.

It's brand new, so I don't know why it would be doing this.

Sometimes fans fail right out of the box due to bad bearings. Some develop problems in the first few months. Some work for years. It really is luck of the draw and you got a bad one.

It is under warranty, but I'm uncertain about sending it in. For one, I've got a lot of music on my hard drive. It's non-DRM'd stuff I burned from my own CDs, and I'm paranoid about someone going OMG HERETICAL MUST BE FILESHARING and getting my ass in a sling. I've also added mods to the case in the form of a custom decal sticker. If I hand it over, even if I back up all the info on the drives, what guarantee do I have that I'll have the SAME COMPUTER returned to me?

They won't be going through your files, quite frankly, they don't care and they don't have the time. The most they will do in regards to files is to wipe the hard drive entirely, and reinstall Windows. You have no protection from this happening, except for removing the hard drive before sending in the laptop. If you don't send the hard drive, the repair centers usually don't put up a fuss and understand why. If you send in the hard drive with the laptop, there are agreements that you will have to make stating that you understand the hard drive may get wiped. Data is not covered under warranty.

The custom decals shouldn't have any effect unless they block a fan vent. They may call you stating this "is not normal/not factory" and see if you want the casing replaced. Repair centers usually won't replace casing for free, because decals are not an under warranty reason for repair.

Also it's my only computer, and going without for who knows how long might send me into withdrawals. (It's my primary - and sometimes only - form of communication with very widespread friends.)

You will be without your computer for 1-2 weeks in most circumstances.

I can narrow down which fan is malfunctioning. Is it possible, feasible, advisable, or reasonable to just order and replace it myself instead of sending it back under warranty?

Possible: Yes.
Feasible: Sure, if you know what you are doing inside of a laptop.
Advisable: No. You will break warranty on your computer. A lot of people tend to break wires inside of a laptop while fixing it, causing more problems.
Reasonable: Sure, if you know what you are doing inside of a laptop.

Other thoughts: If the computer has drop damage or liquid damage, don't expect anything to be covered under warranty. Don't send in the laptop with a CD or DVD in the drive. Do not send your power adapter. Take pictures of the laptop before sending it in. I personally would send it in for repair as long as it's under warranty.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 2:50 PM on March 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow, that's a lotta highly helpful information. Thanks!

The decal covers the top of the lid. There's no vents there, it just covers the red 'QOSMIO' logo.

Looks like I'll be buying some blank DVDs and doing some data backups of the important crap. I should do that anyway... though while we're here, is it difficult to pull a laptop hard drive, and would it void the warranty? (I'm vaguely inclined toward believing 'no' is the answer here because of your mention of repair centers not caring about missing drives, but I'll err on the side of asking anyway.)

And I won't be opening it up to replace the fan. I'm somewhat sure I could if I had to, but if it's only gone for a week or two I can definitely work around that.
posted by Heretical at 6:39 PM on March 4, 2011


is it difficult to pull a laptop hard drive

No. Typically involves undoing one screw underneath, and sliding out the drawer or opening the panel that the screw retained. You will almost certainly find instructions specific to your model by searching online if you can't work it out yourself.

and would it void the warranty?

Hard drives are so easy to swap out that they're quite reasonably viewed as user-replaceable parts. There's no reason why removing your laptop's hard drive should void your warranty. That said: read your warranty.

Personally I would never send a laptop back for service with its hard drive still in it. Just not worth the hassle.

I've never been inside an x505, but of the laptops I have been inside, the Toshibas have been the most annoying to take apart and the fiddliest to get back together.

I recommend pulling the drive, then sending the computer back with a written note saying that that's what you've done and requesting that the noisy fan be fixed under warranty.
posted by flabdablet at 8:30 PM on March 4, 2011


I can't speak for Toshiba, but the major manufacturer I worked with did not void warranty for pulling a hard drive. To break warranty required taking the case apart. If you could see the underside of the keyboard, you broke warranty.

Fan replacements require tearing down pretty much all of the way.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 10:43 PM on March 4, 2011


Toshiba laptops are particularly difficult for a non-expert to open up and gain access to simple things like the fan. Toshiba fans are also notoriously loud. It doesn't take an awful lot of dust to clog it up, and given the small area that they function in, blowing compressed air in the fan vent can often just clog it up more (which happened to me.) Send it in, or take it to a good repair shop if. Buy a portable hard drive and back up your files and programs just in case.
posted by zaelic at 1:56 AM on March 5, 2011


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