Five signs your laptop is in trouble – Popular Science

5. Strange noises

As a computer’s internal components begin to wear out, it can grow too old to function properly. Refusal to switch on is a sure sign of hardware issues. But you should also keep an ear out for strange and repeated noises coming from the depths of your laptop, because these can indicate that hardware failure is imminent.

When you hear these sounds, immediately save your data to an external machine or a cloud service. (This task will be easier if you’re already backing up your files on a regular basis, a habit that everyone should cultivate.) Even if the noises prove to be inconsequential, it never hurts to back up your data. And in a worst-case scenario, an archive of this information will preserve your digital memories and ease the process of switching to a new computer.

Once you know your files are safe, you can start figuring out just what the problem might be. Consider your laptop’s age: The older it is, the more likely hardware failure is to blame. Have you ever dropped your machine or spilled a hot drink on it? Accidents like these can speed up a computer’s aging process. If your machine is relatively new, a foreign object could be gunking up the works. Try cleaning out your laptop’s sockets and ports with a small can of compressed air to make sure it’s not carrying some small, easily dislodgeable item.

If the weird noises persist, run a systems diagnostics program to figure out whether your laptop really is on its last legs. For example, software like CrystalDiskInfo for Windows (free) and DriveDx for macOS ($20 with a free trial) can report on the health of your hard drive. And if an internal component is on its last legs, it may cause other symptoms such as overheating, random crashes, and particularly slow performance.

Unfortunately, if a part of your laptop is failing, you can’t do too much about it at home. So go to the experts: Visit your local computer repair shop to see if they can replace the component. Or, depending on your computer’s age, you may want to invest in a new laptop instead of trying to resuscitate an old machine.


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