Cooling fan

Laptop CPU and GPU fans

A CPU cooling fan is a dedicated fan which cools down the heatsink and eventually the CPU (Processor). Usually the CPU cooling fan comes as a part of the heatsink assembly – a metal part drawing heat from the CPU chip. In addition to the CPU cooling fan, some laptops have a dedicated GPU (graphics processing unit) fan which cools down the GPU chip.

The CPU and GPU cooling fans connect directly to the motherboard via a cable running from the fan. When CPU and GPU chips get hotter, the cooling fan spins faster.

COOLING FAN LOCATION IN A LAPTOP.

On some laptops the cooling fan can be easily accessed through a door on the bottom, as on the following Gateway laptop.

Cooling fan accessed through bottom

If you cannot find it on the bottom, then it’s buried inside the case, as on the following Dell laptop.

Cooling fan inside laptop

COOLING FAN RELATED PROBLEMS.

If your laptop feels very hot and shuts down without any warning, it’s possible that you have a faulty fan. Listen for the fan. Is it working? Sometimes you can see the fan through the fan grill on the bottom of the laptop. Can you see the fan spinning?
If the fan never starts, probably it is bad and has to be replaced.

When the fan bearing goes bad, the fan starts making grinding noise. In this case you’ll have to replace the fan.

If your CPU fan works hard all the time, most likely it happens because the heatsink is dirty and is clogged with dust and lint. You can clean the heatsink using compressed air.

99 comments on “Cooling fan
  1. HiBee says:

    Pls i need serious help, my Toshiba Satellite L655-S5107 is giving me problem.
    The last time i used it, it worked perfectly and i tried putting it on again only that the fan rolls 1 or 2 secs with the led light on and all go off again. If i tried using battery alone the battery led (red) just blinks four times and at a point the when the AC and battery is in it will just continue to blink the power led, but most thing is the fan rolls and stop immediately, i had tried removing battery, press and hole d power botton for 30, 60 secs, removing hard drive, reinstalling memory sticks etc etc, but i cant really open my laptop case cos sth seem to be holding it down.

    Pls i am fed up what do i do? Urgent help pls cos i need it for presentation

  2. Tapan Roy says:

    my laptop gets hot and the fan spins and stops and it spins.what is the problem?

  3. Repair Man says:

    @ Richard,
    Does it spin? It’s possible the fan was on the verge of failure and cleaning killed it completely.

  4. Richard says:

    my fan on my lap top was making noise I cleaned it with compressed air now just hot air is coming out I can barley here the fan why?

  5. gadaphy says:

    my laptop keeps on shurting down and if you but a usb mobile cable it can charge the phone and the fan fan keeps on stopping from rotating what can be the problem

  6. alan says:

    Hi Repair Man, I have Toshiba Satellite A135-S7404 that when I power it ON the fan will spin and stop after few seconds. This cause my laptop to sudden shutdown due to hot CPU. Is this a fan problem that can be repaired or need fan replacement or this is a fan control problem? I already used compress air to removed dust. Thanks for information to be provided.

  7. janjan says:

    i have acer aspire laptop and i use this for gaming and i think when i used in long hours my laptop is heating what can i do to still my laptop is froze when im gaming.

  8. Leandra says:

    I have a Toshiba Qosmio x505, its not even two years old yet, and its got some serious overheating issues.
    I chose to send it in to toshiba 2 months before my warrenty Expired and they sent it back after 4 weeks saying absolutely nothing was wrong. Everyone who looks at my computer can tell somethings wrong with it that it shouldn’t make the noise it does, but no one can pin point it. Some say it might be a heat sync problem, since the fan is still running, others say its just the fan.
    My main issue is I cant figure out where to get another heat sink for it…does it have to be the same make and model? I am very lost at what to do, and it gets terribly cold having to keep a real fan on my laptop to keep it cool while the fans struggle to keep it from being hot.

  9. Repair Man says:

    OPEN UP AND CLEAN THE FAN AND REPLACE COMPOUND WHICH WILL NEED REPLACED DUE TO EXCESSIVE HEAT

    If you decide to replace thermal compound, make sure to have it before laptop disassembly.

  10. Repair Man says:

    @ DARREN,

    OPEN IT DONT SPRAY COMPRESSED AIR BECAUSE THE DUST GETS SO BAD IT LOOKS LIKE A FILTER U NEED TO PHYSICALLY REMOVE IT AND UR ONLY BLOWING DUST TO OTHER PLACE RESTRICTING AIRFLOW

    This is true with some laptops. Sometimes the dust builtup is so bad that it have to be physically removed.
    If you decide to clean up the cooling fan using compressed air, blow it into the fan so the dust gets out from the side.

  11. DARREN says:

    OPEN IT DONT SPRAY COMPRESSED AIR BECAUSE THE DUST GETS SO BAD IT LOOKS LIKE A FILTER U NEED TO PHYSICALLY REMOVE IT AND UR ONLY BLOWING DUST TO OTHER PLACE RESTRICTING AIRFLOW

  12. DARREN says:

    MOST COMMONLY YOUR LAPTOP WILL SHUT OFF .THE FAN BLOWS AIR TO THE HEATSINK TO KEEP IT COOL AND 9/10 BETWEEN THE FAN AND THE HEATSINK IT GET CLOGGED.OPEN UP AND CLEAN THE FAN AND REPLACE COMPOUND WHICH WILL NEED REPLACED DUE TO EXCESSIVE HEAT.NOW YOUR LAPTOP SHOULD BE GOOD A NEW.

  13. neil says:

    I have a gateway model MX 6454 laptop. The cooling fan will come on at start up but then does not run while in operation. What would be the problem to look for.

    Neil

  14. sagar bajaj says:

    I HAVE CPU FAN STOPPED TOSHIBA LApTOP I HEAR SOUND COME OUT FORM THE FAN SO WHAT THE PROBLEM DOES I NEED TO CHANGE OR TO DUST IT WELL …
    SOME TIMES IT STARTS AUTOMATICALLY.

  15. Bea says:

    I have a Gateway W350a T series. I need to check the fan for dust but have no idea where to find the fan. Do I just take off the entire bottom of the laptop?

  16. venkatesh says:

    HI i have hp dv4 series laptop, i have a problem with my laptop, my system boots up but i, i cant c anything on the screen, i can login to my laptop but cant c anything , can anyone plz suggest me any solutions, apart from giving my laptop to servicing as it is costing me more

  17. Repair Man says:

    Nikki,

    My gateway kept over heating so I followed your instructions and not only did it not overheat but the fan ran quieter. thanks so much for this article.

    You are welcome.
    Now you can keep your fan clean by spraying compressed air into the fan grill once in a while.

  18. Nikki says:

    My gateway kept over heating so I followed your instructions and not only did it not overheat but the fan ran quieter. thanks so much for this article.

  19. Eliza says:

    I have a Toshiba Satellite L450. I accidentally hit it against a door (not that hard!) when I was leaving a room in my house yesterday and bringing it with me. It’s been making noises ever since, although if I change the angle of the computer, the noise stops. Is it the fan? I have 2 weeks left in the semester (so I need my computer here), so I was wondering what I can do until I can take it to get repaired?

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