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Re: OT Computer Guy Question [longish reply]
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OT Computer Guy Question ()

John McGaw
As others wrote, cleaning is a good (and usually safe) first step. To me the only concerning thing is the "Winding up and winding down" part. Typically in a home PC the only thing that normally will do that audibly is the fan on the CPU cooler and it will do this in response to heat changes but under many or most circumstances you will know if you are running a program which will stress and heat the CPU. The hard disk may make a slight sound but in almost every case unless you have a gaming computer with a super-fast hard disk it will be inaudible (unless it is dying a painful death).

With apologies if I get you in over your head, a way to get a handle on what is going on would be to 1] run task manager in a small window and watch the CPU usage (sorting on that column will place the heaviest user on top) and 2] installing a temperature-monitoring program to see if there is a correlation between the sound and measured temperature. I use Core Temp for the latter and run it constantly but there are others out there.

Oh, and before I forget I would be just a but suspicious of whatever hardware is holding the CPU cooler in place. I can't begin to number the times I've found an old PC where the heatsink had come loose from its moorings. This has nearly always been on systems using the standard abominable Intel plastic-pin fastenings which can let go or snap spontaneously. If the heatsink is loose it would make the system susceptible to wild temperatures swings which might explain "Winding up and winding down" for no discernible reason.

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