5 Things You Can Do To Silence A Noisy Laptop Fan

   5 Things You Can Do To Silence A Noisy Laptop FanI’ve had laptops for a good few years now, and never really looked back. The portability and masses of space I save outweighs my desire for a desktop PC and separate monitor.

The only thing that annoys me about my current laptop is the noise it kicks out when things start happening. This noise is my laptop cooling fan, which indicates that my laptop is hot. If it’s really loud then it’s too hot, and that’s not a good thing.

After years of dealing with this problem, I’ve learned that there are a few things you can do to silence that cacophony on your desk and hopefully stop your laptop from falling victim to heat exhaustion.

Buy A Laptop Cooler

Due to their nature, size and increasing amounts of power; laptops seem to just get hotter and hotter. As a rule, my old laptops would generally go for a year without getting too hot. Now they’re so small and powerful that a laptop cooler is pretty much a necessity from day one.

If you’re thinking of gaming, editing photos and video or just leaving your laptop on for hours with 30 tabs open then a cooler is a good start. They’ll differ slightly, but generally keep to the same format of being metal (of course) slanted or flat frames with a couple of fans inside.

Your laptop sits on top of the cooler which attaches to your laptop via USB, and just so you don’t lose that extra USB slot many even come with USB hubs built-in. They’re not ideal for on-the-go, but they’re a wise decision if you use your laptop for any great length of time at home or work.

Coolers should help control your laptop’s temperature, providing you with a chilled-out PC and little-to-no fan noise.

Kill Your Processes

The heat generated by the CPU is generally the main heat source within a laptop, and non-vital background processes only serve to make this worse. The processor is working overtime, generating lots of heat that a very noisy laptop cooling fan has to try and get rid of. By killing any unwanted programs, you’re doing your processor and your ears a big favour.

One solution is to kill the processes before they even start. You can manually configure what starts up in Windows using the Microsoft System Configuration Utility. Hit Start, find Run (you may need to search for it, depending on your particular version of Windows) and type in msconfig and click OK.

msconfig   5 Things You Can Do To Silence A Noisy Laptop Fan

Navigate to the Startup tab and simply toggle the items you’d like to run when your computer first boots. Many update managers and system tray processes (like Quicktime, Java Update Scheduler, etc) are completely useless and simply sit there wasting your precious resources.

Another solution is to use a program like Soluto, which analyses your boot and lets you know what action is required and what’s not required.

soluto   5 Things You Can Do To Silence A Noisy Laptop Fan

Open Her Up

Your laptop’s number one enemy is dust, so removing this dust not only cleans and safeguards your machine but also increases airflow which in turn will boost your fan’s efficiency. I wouldn’t recommend doing this if you’re not 100% sure what your doing (or if it voids any warranties, naturally).

You’ll need a can of compressed air (often known as computer duster), a screwdriver and patience. Turn your laptop off, remove the battery and find the screws that secure the case. Once you’ve exposed the filthy mess that is your laptop’s inner workings, set about cleaning it with the air.

Preserve the air and use short sharp bursts to remove any build-up around fans, heatsinks and vents. You might want to do this outside, especially if you’ve never cleaned your laptop in this way before, as it gets pretty messy. The above video relates to cleaning a desktop PC, but the technique behind cleaning a laptop isn’t radically different.

Whilst your laptop case is open, it may be worth fitting a powerful “silent” fan (though they’re never completely silent) which should keep your machine cooler and quieter.

The Software Route

If you occasionally find yourself in situations where your laptop cooling fan must be quiet at all costs then you might want to install software that controls the speed of your fan. By limiting the speed you can vastly reduce the noise produced, though your laptop may cook.

speedfan   5 Things You Can Do To Silence A Noisy Laptop Fan

This isn’t the best idea if you’re having cooling problems, but freeware utility SpeedFan allows you to monitor and control your fans. You can turn them right down if you need to, just don’t forget to turn them back up again afterwards.

Use a Lightweight OS

I’m not suggesting you switch your primary operating system, but for when you’re on-the-go (and away from your laptop cooler) there’s a whole load of alternatives to resource-intensive Windows.

Personally I find Ubuntu (the desktop version) runs considerably cooler on my laptop than Windows 7. This could be because I have an anti-virus, firewall and other processor-hungry things going on in Windows which I don’t need on Linux.

Using UNetbootin, you can create bootable USB sticks with whole operating systems on them that you can use simply by sticking them in your machine and powering up. Some of these include Google Chromium OS, Jolicloud and mobile versions of desktop favourites.

chromium   5 Things You Can Do To Silence A Noisy Laptop Fan

Have you any other tips for quietening that noisy fan? Do you regularly clean your machine, or are you fond of the noise? Commenting is good for you, so drop us a tip in the box below.

Laptop Fan Image: Shutterstock

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28 Comments -

0 votes

T1

I installed a SSD in my laptop and that keeps the fan noise down since the drive doesn’t get hot. That was a major source of heat.

0 votes

TLW

Tim, sometimes I get done reading MUO and I’m pretty sure my head is going to explode. So much info, so little time. What I really need right now is for someone to swing by my office and clean the brain bits off the ceiling. Some visual huh? :)

0 votes

Tim Brookes

As long as you don’t get little bits of brain inside your laptop. I’m pretty sure that won’t help with the noise!

0 votes

rajkalyan

My laptop ran really hat, not loud necessarily. I took it apart and took the toothbrush to the heatsink and it was all better. Furthermore, the cooler also had dust in it but I couldn’t get it apart so I just gave it a good dusting. Compressed air is good for cleaning lots of things.

0 votes

Tim Brookes

Was it a clean toothbrush? Haha.

Compressed air is brilliant, but can be a bit expensive so use it sparingly. If you lose pressure in the can just wait for it to heat up again, then it will be powerful again.

0 votes

Scott_T

I use old toothbrushes too, compressed air doesnt cut it a lot of the times. While you’re in there put new bearing grease in the fan and apply new heatsink compound.

0 votes

Sagar

The article is very helpful. It removed about 32 processes which are unwanted at startup. I have tried Ubuntu on my HP laptop, but i find the 64-bit windows 7 running faster than ubuntu.

0 votes

Hushburn

Thank you so much for this article. I’ve been hearing this noise lately and it annoys me. Because of your post i can now minimize the noise…

0 votes

Tim Brookes

Glad it helped :)

Heat is the number one killer when it comes to laptops, so the less noise you hear the cooler (and safer) your laptop will be.

0 votes

Tim Brookes

Glad it helped :)

Heat is the number one killer when it comes to laptops, so the less noise you hear the cooler (and safer) your laptop will be.

0 votes

Black Friday Deals

Nice list in here dude… thanks… from now i wont be annoyed by the noise of my fan…

0 votes

Tim Brookes

Was it a clean toothbrush? Haha.

Compressed air is brilliant, but can be a bit expensive so use it sparingly. If you lose pressure in the can just wait for it to heat up again, then it will be powerful again.

0 votes

Rayman

For those people who have experience sudden shutdown or super hot laptops. You can try this tips at http://hiwayparkcomputers.blogspot.com/2010/07/sony-vgn-cs13m-how-to-open-and-clean.html

Hope that helps..

0 votes

Rayman

For those people who have experience sudden shutdown or super hot laptops. You can try this tips at http://hiwayparkcomputers.blog

Hope that helps..

0 votes

DeadlyDad

I have a laptop with a dead screen that I use as an internet gateway. The fan used to run 24/7 until I install SpeedSwitchXP on it, in ‘Max Battery’ mode. Now it is completely silent, as the CPU speed (and heat output) has been dropped from 1400MHz to 500. Whenever I use it for something, I just switch SSXP to ‘Dynamic Switching’ mode, which brings the speed back up as needed. I highly recommend it.

0 votes

Aibek

tip 6: blow the air in all air vents from sides. I have a sony vaio laptop and do this once every 2-3 months and see lots of dust coming out. This has an immediate impact on the fan noise.

0 votes

John5247

If you clean a lot of electronics – like I do – and its often too cold outside to blow the dust out in the fresh air, get yourself a vacuum cleaner and a set of soft artist paintbrushes. Gently flick the dust off your circuit boards, heat sinks and fans while holding the cleaner hose nearby. Compressed air is only really necessary for cleaning optics like lenses and mirrors. In a big space like a PC box, air often just moves the dust about!
Now you can stay warm at your bench and not go through ten cans of air!

0 votes

John5247

If you clean a lot of electronics – like I do – and its often too cold outside to blow the dust out in the fresh air, get yourself a vacuum cleaner and a set of soft artist paintbrushes. Gently flick the dust off your circuit boards, heat sinks and fans while holding the cleaner hose nearby. Compressed air is only really necessary for cleaning optics like lenses and mirrors. In a big space like a PC box, air often just moves the dust about!
Now you can stay warm at your bench and not go through ten cans of air!