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.

 

97 Comments

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  1. 97
    Repair Man Says:

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

  2. 96
    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?

  3. 95
    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

  4. 94
    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.

  5. 93
    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.

  6. 92
    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.

  7. 91
    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.

  8. 90
    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.

  9. 89
    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

  10. 88
    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.

  11. 87
    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

  12. 86
    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.

  13. 85
    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?

  14. 84
    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

  15. 83
    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.

  16. 82
    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.

  17. 81
    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?

  18. 80
    Linda Says:

    I wanted to thank you for the article, it saved me 199 plus shipping to send my Gateway Laptop T series to service. My laptop was excessively overheating, and shutting down. I did a cleaning of it a few months back generally, afraid to take the fan compartment off, as Gateway support had said not to clean within the laptop on their support pages. So the problem of overheating wasn’t solved on my first attempt. After talking with support, and finding that the cost would be absolutely too high for me to afford on getting my laptop serviced, I figured I couldn’t do much to hurt the situation, and started researching how to on the internet, thus I found your site and read some of the remarkable statements of others that followed the instructions you recommended. Last nite I got brave, took the computer’s back off, checked it for any damage, loose cables, etc, vacuumed it out, and then decided to get even braver and take the fan cover off and explore under it. Oh, wow, glad I did, the dust accumulated on the fan’s vent area was really gross and cumulated to what looked like a good 1/4 of an inch. So I cleaned! and vacuumed again, put back together, and my laptop so far is running smoother, quieter, and not getting extremely hot. My fan seems to be running nicely as well. Thank you for saving me a bundle of money on cost to get my laptop running again. I appreciate it!

  19. 79
    Repair Man Says:

    Ernie Mac,

    I’ve got an asus g1sn gaming laptop and the cooling fun spins very loud and now its causing my laptop to freeze every time I boot it, am trying to replace it and I want to know if I can get any ordinary cooling fun or get one specially for that laptop.

    I guess it depends on the cooling fan installed into your laptop.
    Does your fan has any sticker on the top? Can you find any fan part number?
    If you can, google it or search on ebay. Most likely it doesn’t have to be a specific fan.

  20. 78
    Ernie Mac Says:

    I’ve got an asus g1sn gaming laptop and the cooling fun spins very loud and now its causing my laptop to freeze every time I boot it, am trying to replace it and I want to know if I can get any ordinary cooling fun or get one specially for that laptop.

  21. 77
    Repair Man Says:

    Isaac,

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

    If the laptop gets hot try cleaning the cooling module. Probably the heatsink clogged with dust.
    Try cleaning the heatsink using compressed air.

  22. 76
    Isaac Says:

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

  23. 75
    Repair Man Says:

    rookie,

    can i get away with a laptop fan pad for a few weeks until i can get someone to replace it?

    What’s going on? Is is noise or stopped working completely?
    You shouldn’t use the laptop with a failed fan because you can damage the motherboard. The cooling pad will not help if you have a failed fan.

    i have an HP Dv7 and the fan is hard to get to.

    You can download service manual from HP website. It has disassembly instructions.

  24. 74
    rookie Says:

    can i get away with a laptop fan pad for a few weeks until i can get someone to replace it? i have an HP Dv7 and the fan is hard to get to.

  25. 73
    Repair Man Says:

    Matthew,

    my laptop cooling fan broke. i think it had something to do with the laptop falling out of the bag and onto a concrete floor. i am tempted to open it but scared im gonna brake something. if i buy a fan off ebay can i give it to someone to put into my laptop? and how much should it cost to replace one?

    It depends on the laptop model. Maybe you can do it yourself. What is your laptop model?

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