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Why Is My Laptop Fan so Loud?

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You're working hard to meet your deadline before the end of the day. But as you frantically type, you hear a weird clunking noise coming from the base of your hardy laptop. You pause your keyboard clacking. The noise continues. As you listen harder, the realization dawns on you: your laptop is making that distressing sound. Your prime suspect? The fan. That indispensable element of your laptop that keeps it (and your lap) nice and cool has now turned against you. You can't see it, but you know it's there. And now, you know it is making that noise. Now you're wondering, why is my laptop fan so loud?

The reasons for laptop fan loudness are, unfortunately, as varied as the different types of laptop that might have fan issues. Though the answers to “why is my laptop fan so loud” may be varied, so are the solutions. Read on, and you may have an answer and a fixer in mere minutes. A loud laptop fan doesn't have to be the end of the road for your e-mail or for your computer.

Why Is My Laptop Fan So Loud?

laptop fan

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That's a great question. Your fan may be working harder than it needs to, it might be covered in dust or grime, or it might be old and needs some replacements. Regardless of the problem, there is probably a solution.

If you're feeling confident and ready to know your laptop on a deeper, inner level, go ahead and diagnose and fix it all on your own. But if you decide to take it to a dealer, a professional, or a tech-focused dude down the street, no judgment. Knowing what it could be doesn't mean you have to fix it yourself: heck, knowing how to fix it yourself doesn't mean you have to do the dirty work! Having an idea about the answer to the question “why is my laptop fan so loud” will give you a step in the right direction, no matter your level of tech comfort.

Clean the Dust

One of the most common causes of laptop fan noise is that insidious little devil: dust. Laptops are small but complex, so it is likely that you have no idea how to dust or clean out your laptop. However, the dust might be causing you to suffer through laptop fan noise.

When dust accumulates on your laptop fan blades, the fan has to work harder to effectively cool your laptop. This can lead to noise. To avoid this type of buildup, try to dust the insides of your laptop about once a year.

Get Virus-Free

It seems strange, but computer viruses can cause your laptop fan to start making noise. Malware - a fancy name for a computer-slowing virus - can drastically affect the life and working of your laptop. If your computer has malware, not only will it not be working as fast as it should be, but it will be working more than it needs to be. This type of overwork can cause your fan to make weird noises because it is suddenly having to work harder to cool down your computer.

Slow It Down

Even if you don't have a virus, your laptop fan might be working too hard to keep up with your frantic typing and internet browsing. If you have a bunch of tabs and programs open on your laptop, even if they are minimized or in the background, they are still running and making your fan work to keep your computer cool.

You might not be able to immediately see all the programs running on your computer in any given moment. If it's been a while (or forever) since you checked the number of currently running processes, this could be the cause of your fan noise.

Keep It Cool

This one is pretty straight-forward, but that doesn't mean it won't work. The answer to your question “why is my laptop fan so loud” might be that it is overworked, but getting rid of programs and processes isn't the only way to get it cooler.

Cooling your overworked laptop down will drastically change the amount of work your fan has to do as well as the amount of noise it produces. If you're working with a lot of programs or doing work with serious, complex programs on your laptop, this is a likely cause of your noise.

What Can I Do to Fix My Loud Laptop Fan?

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Although it is completely acceptable (and maybe even super smart) to leave it to a professional to determine “why is my laptop fan so loud,” and give them some bucks to fix it up, if you're feeling brave and/or tech-savvy, you can certainly try fixing your fan yourself.

And if you know what the likely fix is, you might realize you don't actually need to pay someone: most of these fixes are actually pretty simple. Give them a whirl and keep the tech expert as a last resort; not only will you probably save some money, you'll be able to brag to your friends about how you fixed your laptop like the techy genius you are.

If It's Dusty

If dust is causing your noise, you'll need to get in there and deal with it. Unlike a desktop computer, you can't just open up the CPU and spray canned air throughout the machine and hope it works. However, cleaning the dust out of your laptop to get rid of the fan noise isn't really all that difficult, so just carefully follow these steps if you decide to do it yourself.

Make sure the laptop is unplugged and flip it over so you can access the battery. Remove the battery and find the air vent—it should be on the outer edge. When you've identified the air vent, unscrew it. Then you should be able to see the fan.

If a dusty fan is the true culprit, the fan will be covered in dust. Use another fan, canned air, or your breath to get rid of the dust. But be warned: if your laptop is still under warranty, taking apart your laptop like this will probably void the warranty.

If It's Sick

If you determine that a virus and a consequently overworked computer is the reason for your fan noise, you're in luck. Open the “process” tab in your computer's task manager; if it looks like a random collection of numbers and letters, your computer might have a virus. Download a reputable antivirus program or take your computer into an expert and you shouldn't have an issue with a loud fan anymore.

If It's Overworked

When researching "why is my laptop fan so loud," you may find that your computer is trying to run too many programs at once (or you suspect this may be the problem). There are a couple of steps you can take to check and fix. First, open your task manager and see how many processes are listed there. If there is a long list, close any processes you don't need anymore.

If you have a tendency to have a ton of internet tabs open at once, this behavior will naturally cause your fan to work harder and make some noise. (It can also slow down your computer.) Even if you're okay with that, you might want to check your task manager when you're finished and close out processes that are still listed to speed up your next internet adventure.

If It's Hot

If your laptop is simply too hot, you can cool it down in a couple of different ways. First, you can just buy a laptop fan. These are specially made for laptops and will sit right underneath your laptop. These fans have the added benefit of cooling your legs or your desk, but they also cost money.

If you're not interested in spending money on making your laptop cooler (because it's already covered in stickers, for example), you're in luck. Propping up your laptop with some books or bricks or stacks of coasters will do the same thing but for much cheaper. Just make sure you're not blocking the fan with your homemade risers.

Fan-tastically Quiet Fans Coming Your Way

student using laptop

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Quieting your laptop fan is great, but it may have inadvertently introduced another problem. Instead of asking yourself “Why is my laptop fan so loud?”, you may now be wondering, “Why isn't my laptop making any noise?” A quiet fan, a quiet laptop, and a speedy and efficient computer are all coming your way with just a little bit of exploration and work.

And if none of the previously listed solutions work on their own, don't be afraid to go the extra mile and try two at once. Or three at once. The sky is the limit: prop your laptop up with some small books, uninstall unneeded programs, and try keeping YouTube to two tabs at a time. Who knows, your productivity might even increase as the fan noise decreases.

About Britney Shepard

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