Happened to read a post on the Guardian site's Ask Jack column about older computers where he said it's worth checking the hard disk health. Now, shameful though it may be, I hadn't thought of doing this before now with my 4 year plus pc.
So I downloaded a couple of hard disk checkers (HDD Health and HD Tune) to see what they say. HDD Health immediately starts pop up after pop up telling me that the HDD temp is up to 65C. This is not good.
One shut down and restart after 10 minutes and it's back down to 41C, where it's been for the last hour. HD Tune says the same. Both of them say that the health of the HDD is good, apart from this initial temp problem.
On the plus side I now have a check on it and am reassured. On the minus side, I'm now paranoid beyond reason that it's all likely to explode if I do anything HDD intensive on it. So of course, I'm spending a lot of time watching the little temp icon on the taskbar now. It may be because I moved the pc around to try and cut down on the noise problem I was getting with my buzzy ears. I'd turned it round and backed it into the unit by the side of the desk. This probably meant that there just wasn't enough air going through the machine. So I guess I'll just have to put up with it out in the open. Turn the music up and cope.
I'm just off to do a couple of backups though - just to be sure!