Re: Inspiron 1545 - Random clicking/popping noises
If this is a new noise coming from the hard drive that you have never heard before, it most likely indicates a failing hard drive. It really should not be related to the OS at all, and I think that it is a coincidence. This noise is usually referred to as "the click of death". If you do not back up data on that hard drive regularly, now is the time to start before it completely fails. If the computer is still under warranty then see if you can get it replaced. If not then you can buy new hard drives pretty cheap these days. Just make sure that you get the right type (IDE, SATA). Dell's instructions on replacing parts in their computers are very good.
Running the hard drive diagnostics is a good idea and probably the first thing that Dell tech support would have you do. If it does not test bad with the diagnostics then Dell might not replace it yet. Hard drives are the most common thing to break in a computer.
Dell also has all the drivers for XP for your laptop on their website so it should not be a problem finding them.
Hope this helps.