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Really need more information, but my guess is dirty fan. If fan is blocked by dust, it may make noise and may run at high speed all the time because the CPU is overheating. If CPU gets hot enough, the laptop will shut itself down without warning. If dust is the problem, get some canned air. Before blowing into the air vents, try to spot where the CPU fan is and gently insert a toothpick to block the fan and prevent it from turning. A long blast of compressed air can spin the fan too fast and burn out its delicate bearings. Blow air from underneath and also from the side vent until air blows clear. In some bad cases of dust, the bottom or top cover must be removed to get it all out.
Lots of fans are variable speed. Meaning they spin faster when the computer is hot and slow down when not. It's most likely spinning down. If the fan was bad the computer will either shutdown or generate an error during BIOS and halt the boot process.
In fact for a full month when I first boot the computer, the fans runs,
no extra beeps, the light blinked correctly but no bios at the screeen. I
remarked also that the fans run full speed doing a lot of noise. Then I
stopped the computer and wait 2 minutes and then it always works
correclty at the second boot with the bios screen appearing. Also, the
fan calm down after 1 second with less noise. So when I start the
computer and hear that the fan calm down with less noise after 1 second,
I know that the computer will boot correctly. That happens always at
the second try after waiting 2 minutes. But since yesterday, the fans
never calm down and the noise still remains high with no Bios at the
screen. I'm suspecting the Power Supply...
Have you tried right clicking on the desktop (opening Display Properties), clicking on Screen Saver tab, Clicking the Power button, and setting the power schemes to Home/Office Desk? If its set on laptop it will reduce the processor speed when running on battery. I have noticed that even with it plugged in that some times it will run at half processor speed. Try that out.
If the system is posting and you can access the BIOS, then the ac adapter is probably giving the system enough power. Remove the HDD, see if the Clicking goes away and see if the system will boot to a WIndows XP CD with the HDD removed. (Most clicking issues in a portable are drive related.
If the system will post and boot to a CD with the HDD removed, then most likely the HDD is bad and will need to be replaced.
If the noise and boot problem do not change, then I'd see if the system runs normally with a Dell power adapter next.
Fans on laptops run when the CPU is taxed. The more its taxed the louder it will be due to higher fan speed. The laptop over the years has gotten bloated with programs and stuff that gets in and stays on your hard drive. The more programs running in the backround the more the CPU is taxed. Try uninstalling useless programs first, empty your recycle bin, delete temporary internet files and cookies, run the disk cleanup utility then perform a scan disk and a deframent. Also you may want to add more memory to your system if it needs it. I use crucial's website (crucial.com) to scan the computer and tell me what memory I can use in my machine. Hope this info helps you out.