Noise from computer

Updated: 05/21/2018 by Computer Hope
Noise from computer

Below is a listing of components in the computer that may cause unusual noises to be generated. To determine what components are causing your issue, verify that lights on your hardware devices, such as the CD-ROM drive, are not on when the noise is being made. If you are only encountering excessive noise when a device is accessed, it is likely that the device is causing your issue.

If the noise occurs as a pattern, long or short beeps, it may be what is called a beep code. When a computer emits a specific beep code, it is trying to tell you what specific problem is occurring in the computer. See our page on beep codes and what they mean to help troubleshoot and resolve the problem.

If the noise you are experiencing is occurring the entire time the computer is on, it could be due to any of the below devices. Determine what device is causing the noise by reading through each of the below sections.

CD-ROM, DVD, or another disc drive

CD-ROM and other disc drives may generate noises when the drive is accessed. Disc drive noise should be a soft whirling noise when the CD-ROM drive is accessed and only be generated when the CD-ROM is accessed.

It is abnormal for a CD-ROM to experience any of the below symptoms.

  • No noise.
  • Clicking while accessing the CD-ROM.
  • Noises when the CD-ROM is not being accessed or no disc in the drive.

If you are exhibiting any of the above issues, it is likely that the drive is defective, and it is recommended that it be replaced.


There are several fans in computers that help provide ventilation to the computer's components. Below is a listing of the fans that may be causing noises in your computer.

Case Fans

Case fans are fans commonly attached to the front or back of a computer. It is normal for most additional case fans to generate additional noise (usually a low hum). However, you should not expect to hear any clicking noise or high pitched noise from any of the case fans. When this occurs, it is a good indication that the fan is failing or has already failed.

CPU fan (heat sink)

Although not installed on all computers, some computer heat sinks may also contain a fan to help with keeping the processor cool. It is also not uncommon for a fan to go from quiet to loud while you're working on the laptop. Most computers and laptops will adjust the fan speeds when the processor is working more, or computer is getting too hot.

You should only expect to hear a slight hum from the CPU fan; below are some issues that may cause additional noise from your CPU fan.

  1. The CPU fan is loose causing vibration.
  2. A cable is hitting the fan causing a vibration.
  3. The CPU fan is bad causing additional noise.

Power supply fan

See below power supply section.

Floppy drive

Hard drive

The computer hard drive is a common issue for additional noise. It is normal for a hard drive to produce noise. Normal noises you should expect to hear include a low humming or quiet whistling sound.

Noises you should not expect to hear are repetitive clicking, very noticeable humming, knocking, or any hard thump. If any of these noises are experienced, it is recommended that the hard drive be looked at, or you replace the hard drive as it may be going bad.


You will notice an increased volume of sound from a SCSI hard drive when it is compared to a standard IDE/EIDE hard drive.


If you have an SSD, it should never make any noise.


Dial-up Modem MP3 audio fileWhen connecting to the Internet or another computer, you may hear a loud screechy or high pitched noise. The modem noise is the onboard modem speaker and is the two computers connecting to each other and should only be heard when the computer is establishing a connection with the other computer. Click the icon to the right to hear how this may sound.

Power supply

The power supply can cause an excessive amount of noise because not only is it providing power but also provides ventilation to the computer. If the fan in the power supply becomes bad or dirty, it can cause an excessive amount of noise.

If an excessive amount of noise is coming from the fan next to where you plug your computer power cable into, it is likely that the power supply fan is failing or bad. We recommend that you first clean the fan by using compressed air to blow out any dust, dirt, or hair. If this does not resolve your issue, the power supply needs to be replaced.