What Does It Mean When You Hear the Fan Running in Your Laptop?

by James Wright

If your laptop fans are running louder or more frequently than usual, this could be a sign that your laptop is running too hot and needs better air flow, or it could mean that your fans are getting old and starting to wear down. You can check your running processes to see if shutting down programs will help and to see if you are suffering from any memory leaks. Keeping your vents clean will also make sure your laptop runs cool, preventing your fans from working overtime.

Heavy Resource Use

When you have many programs open, your computer's processor and memory will have to work harder to keep everything running smoothly. The additional work generates more heat, so your fans need to run faster to keep the flow of cool air coming through and push the warmer air out. If you have a large number of programs running, try shutting some of the bigger ones down. If too many resource-intensive programs was the cause, your fan should start slowing down within a few minutes.

Bugged or Hidden Process

Sometimes it may seem like your fan is running loudly for no reason. If your laptop is in a cool environment where air can flow freely and you aren't using many -- or any -- programs, but your fan is still running at full speed, check your Task Manager. Processes can sometimes become "stuck" or experience a memory leak, taking up almost all of your processor power. These programs or processes might not even seem to be visibly running at the time. Click "CPU" in Task Manager to sort your applications by how much processor power they are all using. If you see a program you aren't using that is taking up a high percentage of your processor, select it, then click "End task." Reboot your computer if you don't notice a difference after a few minutes.

Fan Interference

In order for laptop fans to run properly, they need to be well ventilated to ensure proper circulation and lets hot air be vented out. If your vents and fans are dusty, hot air will have a harder time escaping, so your fans will run louder and faster to try to compensate. This problem can be remedied by using a can of compressed air in short bursts to clean out the vents. You may be able to see dust coming out in small clouds as you do this, so continue using the air until you don't see any more. Be sure to perform this maintenance while your computer is off to avoid any possible damage.

Fans Running Loudly

If your fans are running loudly no matter how fast they're moving, they might simply be getting old or worn down. They could also be unseated or grinding against something else, especially likely if your laptop is constantly moved around or bumped. If your fans are immediately audible when you turn on your computer, or if they are making loud grinding sounds even if they are running slowly, you may need to have your computer's internal mechanisms looked at.

About the Author

Based in California, James Wright has been writing since 1998. Wright's articles have been published on various websites with a focus on technical fields such as computers and the Internet, and were also featured in a now-retired publication for an online artistic community. Wright studied English, journalism, politics and psychology at Riverside Community College.

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