Loud buzzing noise from Toshiba laptop

hackintosh777

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Jul 30, 2014
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Hi,

I have a Toshiba Satellite E55t-A5320. It has an Intel Core i5-4200U 1.6GHz CPU, 12 GB RAM (self upgraded from stock 4GB with Crucial 8GB 1DIMM), and 500GB WD 5400RPM HDD (replaced the stock Toshiba drive after it phantomly set a HDD/SSD password). OS is Windows 8 (not 8.1) Pro 64 bit.

Since I replaced the stock Toshiba drive (or rather, my dad's IT guy did), it's been making an awful buzzing/whirring/grinding noise. I don't know where it's coming from and if it's a sign of the hard drive's death.

Link:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/hblviyob8jt0bc3/grinding%20noise.wma?dl=0
 

drapacioli

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Dec 6, 2010
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Hmm, unfortunately that doesn't help much if it's done both. If it was only when the laptop was being moved or tilted then I could say for certain it's a loose part, but with both it may be a bearing too. I noticed you said you have an IT guy, you might want to see about having him take a look at the fan and possibly replacing it if there are no loose parts that are causing it. And by loose parts, it could be something extremely tiny like a chipped bit of plastic! There's not much extra room in those fan enclosures, so the smallest pieces of debris can become a problem. When you get access to the fan, if the blades look at all like they're being scraped against something, just buy a new one because there's no telling if the motor is slowly getting damaged. Better to replace the fan than to have it break and ruin your CPU by allowing it to overheat.
 

permanoob

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Sep 22, 2011
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The link you have there isn't a public link for Dropbox. Might be the hard drive. If you have a hard drive making that kind of noise, your computer wouldn't work boot into Windows. It may be a fan.
 

hackintosh777

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Jul 30, 2014
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OK I updated the dropbox link. Try again.
 

drapacioli

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I wouldn't be surprised if someone that took the casing or components apart lost a few screws and something is loose...or some other contaminant got into the fan, because it either sounds like the fan was replaced by a leaf blower, or there's something rattling around in it.
 

permanoob

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Ok so your issue won't be a hard drive if you still have good performance. It's going to be the optical drive like drapacioli suggested or the fan. If it's the fan, normally the sound comes and goes with intensity as the fan speeds up and slows down to compensate for heat. If it's the optical drive it wouldn't make that noise ALL the time.
 

hackintosh777

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Jul 30, 2014
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Sorry that I was a bit vague but my E55t (ultrabook) doesn't have a dvd drive. It only makes this noise occasionally (and just started as I was writing this, damn it) but it is annoying as hell when it does this, especially as I have to take this to school every day. I'm suspecting the fan, could it be that it's choking on the new HDD's SATA cable as it only started once I replaced the hard drive. Do you think the IT guy made a mistake?
 

hackintosh777

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Jul 30, 2014
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Yeah. It sounds close to the back of the laptop where the fan is but not the HDD.
 

drapacioli

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It is probably fan or bearing related then. If you're proficient enough you can open the laptop up and check for debris in the fan, or check to see if there are any other moving parts that might be making noise, but this typically requires a full disassembly which is not recommended if you don't know what you're doing. Servicing a laptop is NOT like servicing a desktop, it's a lot more complicated.
 

hackintosh777

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Jul 30, 2014
93
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Usually seems random but sometimes it has a bit of a warning like the fan revs up then down, then this horrible noise. It USED to start when I move the laptop but it doesn't do that anymore.
 

drapacioli

Distinguished
Dec 6, 2010
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Hmm, unfortunately that doesn't help much if it's done both. If it was only when the laptop was being moved or tilted then I could say for certain it's a loose part, but with both it may be a bearing too. I noticed you said you have an IT guy, you might want to see about having him take a look at the fan and possibly replacing it if there are no loose parts that are causing it. And by loose parts, it could be something extremely tiny like a chipped bit of plastic! There's not much extra room in those fan enclosures, so the smallest pieces of debris can become a problem. When you get access to the fan, if the blades look at all like they're being scraped against something, just buy a new one because there's no telling if the motor is slowly getting damaged. Better to replace the fan than to have it break and ruin your CPU by allowing it to overheat.
 

hackintosh777

Estimable
Jul 30, 2014
93
0
4,610
11


Can we rule out the HDD for sure? And what would be the cost of repair of a fan?

I really need to stop this soon because it's a pain in school, all my friends tell me to get a Mac which is the last thing I'll do in my life :)
 

drapacioli

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You can rule it out by taking it out and replacing it with another drive. If it's accessible via a back panel it should be fairly easy to do, just a few screws to unscrew and it slides right out. Just be careful when handling the drives and don't touch the unprotected bit on the back.

For the record, if you got a Mac and this happened, you would basically have to get a new laptop, because almost any repair that requires access to the components means a lot of labor and a lot of cost. Some models don't even have user-replaceable RAM or storage, so you'd have to replace the whole logic board if something went wrong. Not what you want to do if you like to upgrade or are worried about things not lasting as long as you'd expect them to.
 
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