Weird Noises in the Machine

Look, I am not poking fun at anyone when I say this, but if your computer is making weird noises, it’s probably trying to tell you something.  Weird noises can mean many things, and typically they are not good.

A whining noise in the computer usually indicates a wearing out ball bearing.  I have experienced this many times, and mostly this is because the hard drive ball bearings are wearing out.  It is time to replace your hard drive immediately.  Yes, it still “runs”, but it will not run nearly as well, and you are gambling with when, not if, your hard drive will fail.  Think about it this way, if your car were making the same noise except on a car-sized scale, would you take it into the shop?

A grinding noise could be a few things.  Grinding when accessing data on the hard drive is going to be… your hard drive, of course.  Replace it immediately.
Grinding while turned on might also be a cooling fan of some sort.  If you have the confidence and the skill, open up your machine, use canned air and a damp cloth to wipe/blow out the dust from the fan blades and try again.
If this doesn’t fix it, look at the cables around all of the fans and be sure they are not rubbing against the fan assembly.

Beeps that you didn’t ask for… the beeps I am talking about here are not the ones that happen when you click on something wrong or ask the computer to do something and it gives you an error message.  These are the grunts and beeps that show up when you turn on your computer, and uh-oh, the screen displays an ugly error message, or nothing at all.  Typically, in these scenarios, there is something catastrophically wrong with your computer.  Get it to a professional, fast!
This is the exact scenario we just encountered recently with a customer with a server that was “making weird noises.”  By that description, we couldn’t guess what the problem could be, but we knew the screen was black and that the server did not work.

Once we got it into the shop, we quickly realized the problem.  The computer was crying out for help with what are called “beep codes.”  These beep codes will typically tell you exactly what the problem is, or very nearly what the cause could be.  In this case, it was a sequence that told us that the  RAM memory was bad.

Once we knew that, it was just a simple exercise in swapping out memory until we got the code, but here is a cautionary note: the beeping may not be from just one problem – as it was in this case.  Yes, the memory was bad, but it wasn’t just one memory module.  Two had gone bad, so when you diagnose a problem, don’t stop investigating until all possibilities have been exhausted.

The customer, in this case, is now up and running again, he decided to upgrade the RAM to full capacity, and now we are just waiting for the new RAM to arrive so we can schedule an install.

How do you determine what your beep codes mean?  Here are few web sites you can use for reference:

If you would like Covenant Computing’s help in diagnosing your computer issue you can.
1. Call us at 469-844-7789 (please leave a message)
2. Email us at support@covenantcomputing.net
3. Start your own support ticket
4. Set an appointment for a consultation