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PC chugs like washing machine


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Hi Gang,

I've got a problem - which may become your problem as well. My AD production computer has started to sound like a churning laundry (washing) machine. A few weeks ago I opened it up and vacuumed out quite a bit of cat hair from between the CPU cooling fins beneath the CPU fan. This seemed to work OK for a while and the sound went away. It is back now and is quite worrying. I opened the machine and took the Hoover to it but no improvement this time and no visible accumulation of dust or cat hair.

I'm backing up everything for production of the AD site on my laptop and double backing up to flash drives, but would sure like to solve this problem as soon as possible. What is most disconcerting is the chug-chug-chug sound it makes, like an old forward-reverse laundry cycle.

Any suggestions or advice?


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Sounds like the power supply. It will run fine with the noise until it just plain dies- usually on a boot cycle. Most of the time the noise is caused by a malfunctioning fan.

It could be a hard drive going bad but what you describe does not sound right (when hard drives go, its usually the bearings).


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I'd agree with James. Put your ear to them and see which is causing the problem.

If it is the hard drive there's a program called SpinRite that can help - though it costs (it is worth watching the explanation of what it does even if you don't buy it) and it might be cheaper to get a new drive. A new power supply is relatively cheap and easy to replace - you can often find them for free in dumped pcs.

It's worth checking if the CPU has a clogged fan, too - though it might just have a heat sink.

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OK I've turned the unit on it's side and am running it now. It seems the sound is coming from the CPU Fan which is attached atop the heat sink. It's pulsing on and off, at about one second intervals. It shuts off then immediately goes up to full speed then shuts off again. Unless something in the power supply is pulsing it on and off, it seems I'll have to replace the fan. Now... to try to find the correct one... it's off the Newegg website....

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Not just any grease, you need thermal grease or a thermal pad. Cole's right, it should be provided.

Right, heat needs to transfer from the CPU to the heat sink. Understand that!

If your CPU fan is stopping completely, even for a second or two, before running again, that's a real problem. You could fry your CPU in seconds.

Understand that, too. I am juggling around doing the Halloween posting along with the regular weekend updates using the laptop. It looks like an all nighter.

Dude, if we have a spare 500GB lying around, I'll send it to you. Be sure to back everything up!

That would be excellent! I have the software to copy all files, including system onto a new drive. Can hold on to the old one as backup till all proves to be OK... Thanks!


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