Why is my Computer Fan and Hard Drive so Loud?

When your desktop computer sounds like a jet taking off, there are a couple of likely culprits: fans and the hard disk. These components are more likely to be loud if they’re older, when wear and tear and dust settles in.

If your laptop is loud, it’s best to contact the manufacturer, as the solutions for laptops can be different.

Diagnosing the noise

The first step to fixing excess noise is to pinpoint the issue. It’s likely you have a problem with your fans or the hard drive.

The two biggest culprits for excess noise in computers are fans and the hard disk. Fans are used to move the heat produced by the processor, motherboard, and graphics card out of the computer. If the fans are loose, too small, or not powerful enough, they can create noise. Hard disks can also make noise as the platters spin and the head seeks data. Loud noise is generally a very bad sign and should be dealt with immediately.

Computers can also make noise if any components have come loose and are vibrating against the frame of the computer. If the computer is in the wrong area, any noise from inside the computer can become amplified.

As computers age, they acquire dust, pet hair, and lint, which can block fans from running efficiently. Parts can also come loose, or just wear out, increasing vibrations and noise.

Cat on a computer


If you have a particularly powerful computer, there will be more fans inside the case and some components, such as the graphics card will have their own fans. More fans mean more noise, especially as those fans get older

How to make your computer quieter

There are three levels of steps you can take to quiet your computer, depending on what part is making the noise. Start out with the basics then see how much noice you were able to reduce. 

1.) Optimize Computer Placement and Positioning

Make sure there are rubber feet on the bottom of the computer and that they are resting on a flat surface. If the rubber feet are missing, you can get replacements, or put the computer on a piece of carpet or another soft surface. If the room is warm or the computer is otherwise overheating, there are cooling pads that can help cool the computer and absorb some of the sound and vibrations. Find out more about keeping your computer cool with these ten tips.

Sometimes it helps to move the computer under the desk or into a more closed location to muffle the noise. This can be tricky because you don’t want to increase the insulation around the computer, which will cause the fans to run longer and harder. If the fans are the source of the noise, then this will aggravate the problem. If you move the computer, make sure there’s at least two inches of empty space on all sides of the computer for cooling. 

2.) Check and Clean Computer Hardware

If the easy solutions didn’t help the situation, you’ll need to dive deeper. Take the back off your computer and check all the attachments; screws, gaskets, and grommets. If there are any screws loose, tighten them. Replace any worn or missing gaskets and grommets.

While you have the back off your computer, use a soft brush and a can of compressed air to blow the dust out of the computer. Don’t force the compressed air into the fans, it can damage them. Carefully blow the air around the fans.

Dusty computer fan


If the source of the noise is the hard disk, consider upgrading to a solid state drive (SSD). If your hard drive is making anything more than occasional clicks, there’s a good chance that the hardware is failing. It’s important to move your data before the drive fails, or it could be unrecoverable. Find out more about the benefits of an SSD.

3.) Replace Parts and Add Insulation

If the steps above don’t help, you’ll need to get serious. Replace your old fans with large new fans. You must know the physical size of the fans you currently have to order new fans that are the same size. This ensures that they will fit into the space necessary. Whenever possible, order a fan that will move more air and has a lower decibel rating.

If your power supply is overheating, likely because it can’t handle the additional load of upgraded components, consider a new power supply with a fan to help with cooling.

You can also add sound insulation to your computer. You must be very careful about this, however, as adding insulation can also result in more heat trapped, causing the fans to work harder. 

©2017 Micron Technology, Inc. All rights reserved. Information, products, and/or specifications are subject to change without notice. Neither Crucial nor Micron Technology, Inc. is responsible for omissions or errors in typography or photography. Micron, the Micron logo, Crucial, and the Crucial logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Micron Technology, Inc. All other trademarks and service marks are the property of their respective owners.

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