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I’ve had laptops The Laptop Buying Guide (Year 2009) The Laptop Buying Guide (Year 2009) Read More 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 3 Laptop Computer Temperature Monitor Apps That Could Save Your Hard Drive 3 Laptop Computer Temperature Monitor Apps That Could Save Your Hard Drive Read More . 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 How To Make Your Own DIY Vented Laptop Tray How To Make Your Own DIY Vented Laptop Tray Read More 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 100 Portable Apps for your USB Stick (for Mac and Win) 100 Portable Apps for your USB Stick (for Mac and Win) Read More , 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.

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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 Top 5 Free Computer Maintenance Tools You Should Know About Top 5 Free Computer Maintenance Tools You Should Know About Read More . 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 How To Troubleshoot Your Windows With The MSconfig Utility How To Troubleshoot Your Windows With The MSconfig Utility Read More . 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.

laptop cooling 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 Use Soluto To Improve Your Windows Boot Up Time Use Soluto To Improve Your Windows Boot Up Time Read More , which analyses your boot and lets you know what action is required and what’s not required.

silence a 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.

laptop fan

This isn’t the best idea if you’re having cooling problems, but freeware utility SpeedFan How To Use SpeedFan to Remotely Monitor Computer Health How To Use SpeedFan to Remotely Monitor Computer Health Read More 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 Ubuntu 10.04 - An Extremely Simple Operating System [Linux] Ubuntu 10.04 - An Extremely Simple Operating System [Linux] Read More (the desktop version) runs considerably cooler on my laptop than Windows 7. This could be because I have an anti-virus The 10 Best Free Anti-Virus Programs The 10 Best Free Anti-Virus Programs Read More , firewall 7 Top Firewall Programs To Consider For Your Computer's Security 7 Top Firewall Programs To Consider For Your Computer's Security Read More and other processor-hungry things going on in Windows which I don’t need on Linux.

Using UNetbootin How To Install Linux With Ease Using UNetbootin How To Install Linux With Ease Using UNetbootin We've already talked about Linux and why you should try it, but probably the hardest part of getting used to Linux is getting it in the first place. For Windows users, the simplest way is... Read More , you can create bootable USB sticks The PC Repair Toolkit in your Pocket: Boot CD on a USB Stick The PC Repair Toolkit in your Pocket: Boot CD on a USB Stick Read More 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 Try Out Google's Chromium OS on Your Laptop or Netbook With Flow Try Out Google's Chromium OS on Your Laptop or Netbook With Flow Read More , Jolicloud Jolicloud: The Operating System Download for Netbook You've Been Looking For Jolicloud: The Operating System Download for Netbook You've Been Looking For Read More and mobile versions of desktop favourites.

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

  1. anonymous
    November 17, 2016 at 4:33 am

    The laptop cooler is louder than the laptop is itself

  2. Lee
    November 12, 2016 at 1:06 am

    Donations
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  3. Lee
    November 12, 2016 at 1:05 am

    ://pages.giveforward.com/family/page-jrq87m6/

  4. Dreiyno
    August 29, 2016 at 3:38 am

    just hit that shit! worked for me :)

  5. Satrio
    July 22, 2016 at 12:40 am

    - JUST buy latest processor, especially ULV / Ultra Low Voltage. Mine is Broadwell 15 watt max
    - Than run app. named "NoteBook FanControl". Choose your model.
    - If your laptop is not listed, you have to find out by yourself EC registers that control fan speed.

    *** Currently using Acer E5-573G runing "NoteBook FanControl".
    *** Configured manually to turn off fans when temperature is below 60 C. Because without fans my notebook is quicky drop to 44 C

    Here we go, i have a fanless Notebook. 0 Dba because i'm using SSD, and no Optical Drive.

  6. kenneth
    June 8, 2016 at 1:55 am

    jusk kill the running apps or close the app you are nothing use .

  7. Nitin
    May 2, 2016 at 3:32 am

    hi kindly suggest me,
    i have dell inspiron model laptop which from starting onwards fan makes noise.

    what to do for this?

    • Tim Brookes
      May 2, 2016 at 4:09 am

      You could possibly get the fan replaced fairly cheaply at a computer repair store? If the laptop is still new and covered by warranty I would approach Dell first though.

      A lot of the time when a laptop is making excessive fan noise it's because the bearings have come loose. If you start to get random shut downs and graphical glitches, you're looking at a laptop that's suffering heat problems so you definitely want to get it looked at before it gets to that stage.

  8. MANNY
    March 21, 2016 at 11:37 am

    I JUST HIT IT AND IT SHUTS UP WHILE STILL COOLING BUT NOT TOO HARD JUS LIKE 3 HARD TAPS

    • Ayush
      March 22, 2016 at 9:54 pm

      :D I do the same

      • Dreiyno
        August 29, 2016 at 3:40 am

        Me too :0000 hahaha work well

  9. Runfast MacChunky
    January 15, 2016 at 12:24 am

    I have an Acer Chromebook c720, and since the operating system (Chrome OS) is very light, you would think the fan would be quieter and smaller.
    No.
    The fan runs like crazy when you use it for anything that doesn't involve Google. And now, after the tech guy at my school opened the computer up, the fan makes a horrible dog-whistle-like noise that only stops when you 1. turn the computer off, or 2. make the fan run hard enough that your can't hear anything besides the air coming out the right side of your keyboard. I have tried all the methods in this article, but none of them worked. Should I replace?

    • TomKat
      January 15, 2016 at 9:14 am

      Yes! Call them up for a replacement.

  10. anik paul
    December 30, 2015 at 8:32 am

    my laptop is suddenly making noise while fan start to move. its like something just making contact with the fan. i dont know what is the reason, but i think if laptop csae can be opened, my problem will be solved. can anyone suggest me how to open a laptop case (its lenovo )

    • TomKat
      January 15, 2016 at 9:13 am

      I differs from model to model. If it's under warranty, I'd suggest you call up their tech support for the system being too hot to work with and when the guy arrives ask him to open & clean it up.

      If it's not under warranty anymore, refer the user manual or search for the specifi model's instructions on Google.

  11. Gesuti Lupa Chinezoilor
    November 28, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    They are all horrorful, it's just like not having a door ring bell, and having to open the door from time to time to see if there's anyone there...
    I don't even blame the laptop producers, as they'll sell everything they know we're going to buy, but I blame mostly the reviewers that simply lye: I bought a Lenovo E540 which was supposed to have it's bottom side with 42C at maximum load (while the CPU heated to maximum 60C), but instead it's 58C on idle when the CPU is 60C idling, going over 85C at maximum load, and then the bottom of it gets to 78C to 80C maybe, effectively. Moreover, no review will tell you that no BIOS option will ever be possible to control the fan, as actually the circuitry is missing (the options are hidden, but even if hacking the BIOS -actually not even BIOS, but a locked UEFI) supposing that you manage to unhide the options they will not do anything. No advise can ever work, as if a locked setting (that is not controlled !!!) make the fan to start only when the CPU gets to 70C, that means that no matter how better will be your heatsink, no matter if you replaced the thermal-compound, no matter your downclocking, downvolting, etc.. no matter how good you optimized the power settings, you will never be able to change these temperatures, as even with a modified double/triple heatsink y o u r f a n w i l l n o t s t a r t u n t i l g e t t i n g t o 7 0 d e g r e e s C e l s i u s. No soft trying to control the fan will ever work, as there is no such controller to allow it to be controlled, probably a fixed resistor or diode and that's it: cheap and "practical"- loool . No review is telling us that !

  12. Hadia Shah
    October 18, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    Disabled some processes and it instantly reduced the noise. Thanks a bunch! :)

  13. Julie Cornewell
    October 14, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    I've had issues with my fan being loud. I checked what was running and saw Oovoo was running. I ended the process my fan immediately stopped! Thank you!

  14. Chakru
    May 4, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    My fan makes clunky noise as if its hitting the edges. Wat should i doo

  15. saket saurabh
    April 8, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    Nice article, covering all the possibilities of a problematic fan. Although, I don't support killing processes to make your fan comfortable inside your laptop. Cleaning dust or replacing it are better options.

  16. seeifixedit
    April 1, 2015 at 8:46 am

    noisy fan on laptop? before u start breaking warranties And opening the case.
    a slight pick up and drop (1 Inch from the desk). it dislodges some big crap. then the hoover comes out. outlet then inlet. then repeat until noise clears.

    • Tim Brookes
      April 3, 2015 at 12:44 am

      That sounds like a risky procedure, so I can't say I would recommend others do the same but if it worked for you, then that's great. Canned air might be a safer solution in future, especially if you have a standard HDD rather than an SSD.

  17. Uros
    March 20, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    So, until recently, my laptop was kind of loud, but just the normal sounds.
    And like for 4 months now, it is making a noise that sounds like a buldozer, really gravelly and really anoying. I was wondering what could cause it, and how do i fix it? Do i need to buy a new fan, or does this one just need a cleaning?

    • Tim Brookes
      March 20, 2015 at 10:33 pm

      Hi,

      If it sounds like a long droning noise, it's probably a bearing issue. The fan is still working, but as the bearing wears loose it starts to vibrate, causing a rather horrible noise.

      You should probably look into replacing the fan as it's probably more likely to fail now, or be operating below optimal speeds. It's also a pretty horrible noise that you could do without sitting through ;)

      It could be something else, but the noise would indicate movement so at least it's still somewhat working!

      Tim

      Tim

  18. Vibha
    February 18, 2015 at 6:43 am

    hi,
    have been really bothered with the same issue for a week now. then eventually some one guided me to update my catalyst software. it worked totally. the noise fan is so gone now. its worth a shot !

  19. sadam
    December 26, 2014 at 9:55 am

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    bodybuildingandfatloss.blogspot.com

  20. John5247
    October 20, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    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!

  21. John5247
    October 20, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    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!

  22. Aibek
    September 30, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    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.

  23. DeadlyDad
    September 22, 2010 at 7:33 am

    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.

  24. Rayman
    September 21, 2010 at 2:47 pm

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

    Hope that helps..

  25. Rayman
    September 21, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    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..

  26. Tim Brookes
    September 21, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    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.

  27. Black Friday Deals
    September 21, 2010 at 11:47 am

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

  28. Tim Brookes
    September 21, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    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.

  29. Hushburn
    September 21, 2010 at 11:42 am

    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...

    • Tim Brookes
      September 21, 2010 at 11:46 am

      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.

  30. Sagar
    September 21, 2010 at 5:41 am

    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.

  31. rajkalyan
    September 20, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    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.

    • Tim Brookes
      September 21, 2010 at 11:47 am

      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.

      • Scott_T
        September 21, 2010 at 3:13 pm

        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.

  32. TLW
    September 20, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    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? :)

    • Tim Brookes
      September 21, 2010 at 11:48 am

      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!

  33. T1
    September 20, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    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.

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