Question about IBM ThinkPad R40 2722 Notebook

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Whirring Sound Can't quite figure out if the hard drive is dying or what. It's not the fan, as I can hear it come on and off periodically, but the sound is coming from the same space (upper left side) of my laptop. Suggestions? Advice?

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  • gruurly Apr 04, 2008

    Thanks everyone. I should have added it already is sitting on a cooling pad.

    Interestingly, the sound has disappeared now, and everything seems fine. I'll blow out the fan and oil the bearings in case that is the issue, and look at heat and speed programs to see if that's the issue too.

    This is just a temp laptop (my old one) while my new one gets fixed while still under warranty (it had LCD issues).


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Hello gruurly

There are only two possibilities as there are only two device types inside your laptop that have moving parts; fan(s) and hard disk(s). The sound you described is usually a fan.

Normally, when a fan dies, it does so slowly and painfully over a period of time. It'll begin w/ the whirring - some times w/ the sound oscillating up in down - indicating the fan is unbalanced or for some other reason varying in RPMs.

When the noise stops - that's not necessarily a good sign. It could mean that the fan bearings have frozen completely and it is not spinning at all any more.

It is quite possible that there is more than one fan inside your laptop so, while one sounds as though it is working fine, another could be on its last legs.

This is one of those cases where a $10 or $20 part can kill a $900+ system. Computers' electronic components are extremely sensitive to heat. Keeping that heat at a minimum is particularly critical in laptops because of the closed space and limited room for air circulation.

I recommend you check IBM/Lenova's web site for a Service Manual on your laptop. Find out how to open it to get at the fan(s) and what is required to replace one. While you're at it, get a can of compressed air and blow out all the dust and dirt inside your laptop. Get a tin of sewing machine oil, too and place a drop into the bearings cylinder of any remaining fans (you may have to lift the fan label to do this.)

In the interim, you can purchase an laptop cooling device (or "pad"). This is a device w/ built-in fans that you sit your laptop on top of. Some of them will plug right into one or two of your USB ports to power the fans.

You can find some examples of them HERE on (a great resource for purchasing electronic devices online. Their prices are very competitive and their customer service is excellent).

If you need assistance finding your laptop's service manual, just let us know, we'll help you w/ that.

Please, let us know if this response was helpful for you or, of course, if you have more questions, etc. on this topic.

Thank you

Posted on Apr 04, 2008

  • B Joan Rapier
    B Joan Rapier Apr 04, 2008

    You're welcome, of course.

    That's great you're already using a cooling pad.

    That's pretty normal (the sound coming and going in the beginning). When fans start to fail, the problem starts out being very intermittent then gets worse and worse (w/ respect to sound) and finally stops making the sound all together (usually because the bearings have frozen up completely).

    Be sure that, when you oil the bearings, that you replace the sticker (covering them) securely. If you have to, tape or glue it back down. You don't want the bearings exposed (they'd get all clogged up w/ dirt and dust in no time).

    The sewing machine oil is an old trick. It comes in real handy for prolonging the life of fans - particularly those whose form factors can't be found any more because they're obsolete.

    Just let us know if you have any more questions, etc. We're glad to help.


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It's probably your Hard Drive (as you suspect) , as other than the fan(s) and optical drive(s) the only other moving part would be the Hard Drive. You may want to start backing up your data and shopping for a larger, faster HD, if it is failing. Due to the heat issues with laptops it's pretty common that Hard Drives lose their lubrication and begin wearing out their bushings/bearings (which would make noises). Just make sure you have eliminated the other possibilities. You can find software to monitor the temperature and speed of your hard drive to help isolate it as the problem also.

Posted on Apr 04, 2008

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