Noise in Tower

Dear Computer Lady,

I’m having problems with my computer making a loud noise it sounds like a fan. I’ve spent some time on the phone with software problems with Answers By and the 4th person I talked with said mam this is a hardware issue.

My question to you is this, what kind of online service do you give? What would you suggest if this isn’t something you do? I will avoid the big companies but at this point am unaware of someone local to trust.

My husband and I did remove computer cover, not completely but as far as we could and blew it out. I have windows vista and it’s 4 years old.

Thanks a bunch, Nelva

Dear Nelva,

You are indeed having a hardware problem. Let me start by explaining the difference between hardware and software.

Hardware is anything you can touch or hold on your computer. Your mouse, keyboard, monitor and printer are all hardware devices. I like to use a music CD as an example. The CD that you can hold in your hand is hardware.

Software is not tangible. In our above example, the music on the CD is software. Many of your hardware devices need software to work. For example, your printer needs printer drivers installed in order to work on your computer. Those drivers are usually on the CD that you install when setting up your printer.

For your specific problem, you have a hardware part making a noise. From your description, it is probably a fan, but it could also be your hard drive. This is not something that you can fix over the phone with tech support, you will have to find out exactly what part is making the noise and get it replaced.

There are several fans inside your tower. One is on the CPU to keep it cool, one is inside the power supply, and there may be one or more inside the case helping with general air flow through the tower. If your CPU fan is the one making noise, you had better get it replaced before it stops working. Nothing kills a computer faster than an overheating CPU.

If the power supply fan is making noise, it is time to replace the entire power supply. There are no user replaceable parts inside a power supply, it is actually dangerous to open one up as there are capacitors that can hold quite a charge in them.

In answer to your question about my online service, this is not a problem that can be fixed from a distance. I would be happy to fix it if you live close enough to bring it in, but if not, you need to find a local computer shop that will fix the computer for you.


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Elizabeth Boston is a Web designer, Social Media Consultant and managing editor of, “Ask The Computer Lady”.
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