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January 1, 2006 10:17 PM Subscribe
My 2001 Dell Dimension 2100 desktop is making this incredibly scary and irregular grinding noise. This sounds way more serious than a fan having some issues, but I'm no expert. Help.
posted by mdonley to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
At first, the box just started making more noise than usual, sometimes for ten or twenty minutes at a time - kind of like a motor or something accelerating. I assumed it was something fan-related, but then the sound would go away, for weeks at a time, even if I was doing the same things as when the noise was happening before. This has gone on for a few months.
The computer worked fine while it made this noise - things didn't take longer to process, and I didn't see any consequences with lost data or Blue Screens of Death or anything.
But tonight the noise sounded WAY different, like a garbage disposal or some sort of grinding drain thing - very plumbing-sounding - so I saved the stuff I was working on and shut it down, even though everything on the screen seemed fine.
The noise was really erratic, and continued to happen I turned the computer on again, so I don't know if it's related to how "much" the computer is doing or if it's just some normal process that always happens when the computer's on, and this process is now making this frightening noise. I removed the case cover and saw dust but nothing hanging by a thread or anything. I know approximately zero about how to physically alter the inside of my computer, so there wasn't much I could do anyway. From what I could see, the fan blades look a little dusty, but nothing that screams, "Oh my God, I'm drowning in dust and can't keep spinning, so instead I'll just make this growling cry for help!"
I've seen the recent posts about crabby/demanding Dell desktop fans here on Ask MeFi and cruised around Google, but this sound seems somehow different, new, and more threatening, so I'm quite concerned about turning the computer on again and possibly doing it serious damage.
So, MeFites, any ideas? Will this require a huge outlay of costs and materials to repair? What are some possible causes (I'm thinking fans, but where/which one(s)/why is the noise erratic)? Are there things I, a novice with a screwdriver and some dust wipes, can do on my own? How can I determine which fan is causing the problem? Where would one get a new fan? What if they don't make it anymore - is there only one brand/type that would work here?
Finally, I don't have a lot of money to spend, but I can splurge if it's truly necessary. I appreciate whatever advice you can offer me, as someone who should know more about my computer than I actually do. Thanks.