had a whining noise on start up for quite a few months now. during this time have had a new psu , new cpu and fan and new graphics card , so with no case fans present i can only conclude it is the hard drive. the noise usually goes after a few minutes . am having a few probs such as media player playing mp 3s slowly at times with cpu at 100%. dvd writer and rom freezing the pc when trying to access a disc through my computer and things in general running slowly. if it is the hard drive is there any way i can test it.
Does the mobo have a chipset fan ? this if fitted can also make this noise.Another way of determining this is to unplug the IDE& power leads (jot down/note how they go ) to the hard drive then boot up to cdrom (some live linux , noppix or something similar)
Thinking about the noise. I got this a couple of years ago I was positive it was the hard drive failing but it passed all tests. Turned out it was the Northbridge fan failing which is common enough, replaced it with a Zalman heatsink(no fan Involved) and it never bothered me again. Only cost about £4 from Dabs.
Best check on HD performance is provided by the SMART diagnostic system built into all modern drives. Download a free monitoring utility and run it continuously or every few days. It will tell you the rate of change of each operating parameter, and provide an estimate of the remaining life of the drive - much more informative than simply doing a surface scan.
Do a Web search for 'SMART hard drive diagnostics' or something similar to get a more detailed explanation and sources of the utility.
I killed my last hard drive as a result of my constant updating (gfx card etc) and my Time computer having a bad air flow. instead of the recommended cool air blowing in the front with one fan and hot air out the back using another, the default system fron the store had the one simple fan with cool air in the back, which wasnt much use!
if your system is staying cool -mid 30s or below at the maximum then youre doing well.