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My laptop makes a strange noise


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#1 Mesmerized

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 01:45 PM

Hello everyone,
My laptop (a Toshiba Satellite - P300) makes a strange noise. I don’t know how to describe it (it’s like the sound of something which is trickling). The noise is really irritating; sometimes it seems as if my laptop will crack down. I usually wait for 10 – 15 minutes, if the noise doesn’t stop after that, I either restart my laptop or shut it down and turn it on again. Sometimes I restart it twice, the noise disappear after that for the rest of the day but reappears on the following day, when windows resumes.
As far as I can tell, the noise is coming from the right underside (i.e. from the hard disk area). The HDD/ODD indicator starts blinking awkwardly, sometimes it blinks very feebly, and it looks as if it’s going to stop blinking. In addition to that, the size of one of my hard drives keeps decreasing abnormally. The amount of free space on my Drive C used to be more than 92 Gb. When it drops, it usually drops to 90.8 Gb. However, after noticing the noise which I have described above, I have also noticed that the amount of free space on Drive C started dropping until it reached 88.4 Gb, in three weeks approximately. It climbed back again due to the disk defragmentation task which runs on a scheduled time, to 91.8 GB and decreased gradually after five days, to 91.2 Gb.
The problem started two months ago, but apart from the things which I have described, everything is functioning normally.

P.S. I am using Windows vista – 32 bit.

Does anyone have a clue about what might cause the “symptoms” which I have described, especially the noise?

I would really appreciate any help.

Thanks in advance :)

Edited by Mesmerized, 23 February 2012 - 04:37 PM.


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#2 James Litten

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 02:25 PM

It sounds to me like the system is using virtual memory (a special kind of disk usage that emulates extra memory in Windows and often can vary in disk space used by several gigabytes over time) and you are hearing a noise from normal disk vibration that has become more pronounced from things being looser now than when you first got it.

That is just a guess, though.

In order to at least determine that the noise is from multiple disk operations being run in succession you can try this.

Open your antivirus software and have it do a full scan. This will cause a tremendous amount of disk activity and if you hear the sound while it is running then you should start troubleshooting the disk. Otherwise, it may be something else like a fan getting out of balance.

James

#3 Mesmerized

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 04:40 PM

Thanks for your feedback. I performed a complete computer scan twice. I could hear the noise which Iíve described for some time but it wasnít very intense.
As for the fan, I donít think that it is the source of the problem; itís on the left side while the noise is coming from the right underside.
I guess that the problem is with the disk. Can you please tell me what I should do to troubleshoot it?

#4 the_patriot11

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 04:56 PM

wouldnt hurt to download and run the hard drive diagnostic utility from toshiba

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#5 James Litten

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 05:29 PM

wouldnt hurt to download and run the hard drive diagnostic utility from toshiba


I agree, if the drive turns out to be okay then your only problem is stopping the noise.

If it is from the entire harddrive being a little loose then it might simply need to be reseated but if it's coming from inside the drive itself, you'll have to do what my roommate in college used to do when his car made a strange noise...

Turn up the radio :)

James

#6 Mesmerized

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 07:54 PM

wouldnt hurt to download and run the hard drive diagnostic utility from toshiba


Thanks a lot for your advice :). However, after downloading the diagnostic tool, it detected the drive model which is Toshiba MK3252GSX but didn't detect any of the two drives, so it kept telling me to choose the hard drive which should be tested but there weren't any drives to pick out from. The page for which you have provided the link indicates that the diagnostic tool only works with IDE/ADA/SATA hard drives. I looked in the device manager, there is IDE ADA/ATAPI controllers, so the diagnostic tool is suitable for my hard drive, but it didn't work :(.

If you have any other suggestion, I would be thankful

but if it's coming from inside the drive itself, you'll have to do what my roommate in college used to do when his car made a strange noise...
Turn up the radio :)


hahahahahahaha
Unfortunately, the noise is definitely coming from the inside so I probably ought to follow your advice and do what your roommate did, just after making sure that my hard drives are working properly :)

Edited by Mesmerized, 23 February 2012 - 07:56 PM.


#7 the_patriot11

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 07:59 PM

IDE ADA is IDE. . .it just probably isnt compatible with that specific model.

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Primary system: Motherboard: ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3, Processor: AMD Phenom II x4 945, Memory: 16 gigs of Patriot G2 DDR3 1600, Video: AMD Sapphire Nitro R9 380, Storage: 1 WD 500 gig HD, 1 Hitachi 500 gig HD, and Power supply: Coolermaster 750 watt, OS: Windows 10 64 bit. 

Media Center: Motherboard: Gigabyte mp61p-S3, Processor: AMD Athlon 64 x2 6000+, Memory: 6 gigs Patriot DDR2 800, Video: Gigabyte GeForce GT730, Storage: 500 gig Hitachi, PSU: Seasonic M1211 620W full modular, OS: Windows 10.

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#8 Jonathan_W

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:02 PM

That sound is most likely either the drive starting to go bad or it working too hard.

Use CrystalDiskInfo to check the HDD SMART status and report backup. Be sure to run as admin.

#9 James Litten

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:33 PM

If you're going to go down the path of trying various disk checking tools, make sure you have a good backup and recovery disks first before you start.

Too many times, I've seen a seemingly good disk with a minor issue grow to a mess when you task it with a lot of diagnostic software. Problems with the Toshiba diagnostic software is just the kind of thing that may or may not be a bad sign.

At the very least get your pictures, important docs and things like your outlook .pst (or other mail file) file onto a USB key or a burn a DVD with them. Troubleshooting is a lot easier when you aren't terrified of what might happen when you click an OK button that you aren't sure about :)

James

#10 Mesmerized

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:47 PM

IDE ADA is IDE. . .it just probably isnt compatible with that specific model.


Thanks for the explanation

That sound is most likely either the drive starting to go bad or it working too hard.
Use CrystalDiskInfo to check the HDD SMART status and report backup. Be sure to run as admin.


Thanks you. Your reply was helpful.

At the very least get your pictures, important docs and things like your outlook .pst (or other mail file) file onto a USB key or a burn a DVD with them. Troubleshooting is a lot easier when you aren't terrified of what might happen when you click an OK button that you aren't sure about :)


Well, I backup all my files on a regular basis so I don't have to worry about this problem, but you are right there no need to rush into things. I may end up damaging my machine permanently
Thanks for the advice. :)

#11 Artrooks

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 04:55 PM

You could run the TOSHIBA PC Diagnostic Tool Utility and test the hard drive. This utility should be installed on your computer.

Regards,
Brooks



 


#12 Mesmerized

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 12:29 PM

Yes it's installed on my computer but I’ve completely forgotten about it. Thanks for pointing it out. Just for the record, I’ve ran the test. All the results were positive including those related to the hard drives. However, I am not sure if it is a good indicator or not, because the (full) test only took about three minutes :P.

Edited by Mesmerized, 25 February 2012 - 12:47 PM.


#13 Artrooks

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 02:21 PM

1) As Jonathan_W mentioned earlier, you could downolad and run CrystalDiskInfo. It displays the hard drive "Temperature" and "Health Status" buttons: Blue color = Good; Yellow = Caution; Red = Bad. It also lists several of the SMART parameters that are monitored with the same color code.

Posted Image

2) You could also download Seatools for DOS diagnostic software linked from here: http://pcsupport.about.com/od/toolsofthetrade/tp/tophddiag.htm. Seatools for DOS should work for most drives.
  • The DOS "iso" file needs to be burned to CD so it is bootable. Don't know how? See here
  • Boot the computer from the CDROM first.
  • Run the Short and then the Extended test and note any reported problems. A "Failed" in either the Short Test or the Extended Test would implicate a failing hard drive.

Regards,
Brooks



 


#14 Mesmerized

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 08:14 PM

Yes I've downloaded the tool after reading Jonathan_W's post but I was reluctant about using it because it's the first time that I handle such tools.
After running it, I have one question: Is the information provided by CrystalDiskInfo reliable because the result was positive. The Health status was "good" (blue) and the temperature is 34ْ C (colored in blue). The smart parameters are also colored in blue.

As for the Seatools I've decided to download the Seatools for Windows because they are much easier to handle than the former. In addition to that, I only want to know if my drives are failing or not.
There are several options which come with SeaTools for windows:
- Fix all: fast, long
- S.M.A.R.T check
- Short Drive Self Test
- Drive Information
- Short Generic
- Long Generic
- Advanced Tests

I went for the Short Drive Self Test because it's "completely data safe" as the users' manual indicates. The test was positive. Which test should I choose next, the long generic?

(P.S. Thank you Artrooks for the explanation you have provided).

Edited by Mesmerized, 25 February 2012 - 09:17 PM.


#15 Artrooks

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 09:34 AM

I would try the long generic.

Regards,
Brooks



 





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