Acer Aspire 4540 -- grinding noise

I just bought a brand new Acer Aspire 4540 about a month ago, and up until today, it was working perfectly. But now it's making a horrible grinding noise. It happens every 20 minutes or so and lasts about 15 seconds, then stops. I can't find any rhyme or reason to it, though it seems worse if it is slightly tipped (that is, if it's tilted a bit on my lap vs. flat on a surface).

I am not getting any error messages.

I assume it must either be the fan or the hard drive. Should I be worried? How do I fix it? I am not a tech type at all, and am not sure I am up to sending in my laptop for repair again (I got this one after having to turn in my last Acer, which was less than a year old, when the monitor cracked through no fault of my own).

Thanks for any help.
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  1. Best answer
    Does the noise only occur when your fan is on? It may be clogged with dust. You can use an air compressor to blow out the dust from the fan and heatsink.
  2. The fan is so mild that it's hard for me to tell when it's on.... it almost seems to be on (mildly so) all the time. Can you tell I know very little about laptop hardware? :) Anyway, the grinding has stopped for now (after I lightly tapped the fan area while it was grinding), but now there is a very, very mild but constant whirring. Oh boy. :) I will look into getting an air compressor and see how that goes, then report back. Could it really be clogged with dust after only one month? Thanks for your help.
  3. It depends on the conditions you put it through. One month is a little short, but it's certainly not impossible.

    The fan could also just be out-of-balance from the manufacturer.
  4. It has never left my nightstand/bed, and I don't use it for more than a couple hours a day.

    I assume a fan can be easily fixed? Obviously it is still under warranty, but I hate to have to send it in and be computerless for 3 weeks.
  5. They're easy to fix if you know your way around the innards of a notebook, but it will most definitely void your warranty.

    You should, though, verify it is the fan before we jump to conclusions.
  6. Just an update: I tried the air compressor. No dust came out, but so far, the grinding noise has stopped (less one 5 second episode). So, will keep my fingers crossed it's solved. If the noise comes back, I'll come back here for more suggestions. :) Thanks for your help!
  7. Best answer selected by Brightraven.
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