7 Ways to Quieten a Noisy Laptop Fan (With No Experience)

A laptop being repaired

Last updated: January 11, 2021 at 13:13 pm

In both work and home life, laptops have become more and more a part of life over the last 10 years. Since the coronavirus pandemic, increasing numbers of us are using laptops to work from home and stay in touch with colleagues, friends, and family. They’re a great tool due to their portability allowing you to work anywhere you want.

However:

If you’re sensitive to noise, a noisy laptop fan can become extremely irritating. In this article, we’ll take a look at why your laptop might be making too much noise, and 7 ways to try and fix it.

What Is a Laptop Fan For?

The fan is there to cool the laptop as it heats up when in use. This much is obvious but many things affect how often it needs to come on, how fast it spins, and how long it stays on. If you’re using your laptop on a soft surface like a bed or sofa the heat will build up more quickly. As the laptop struggles to get rid of the heat it will have to work harder. Also if you’re making your laptop work especially hard, either with programs that use high-resolution graphics or a computer game you’ll notice the fans coming on.

What Type of Noise is Normal?

It should be a constant whirring sound such as you would expect from a car motor running. If there are banging, rattling or grinding sounds then something is wrong. In these circumstances, you’ll either need to open the laptop to take a look or take it to a repair shop.

Tip:

Please do not open up your laptop if it’s still under warranty. This will break the seals and void your warranty. Contact the manufacturer for a warranty repair.

7 Ways to Quieten Your Noisy Laptop Fan

1. Use a Hard Surface

As explained above, a laptop tends to build up heat if it’s not being used on an appropriate surface. Try to use it on a table or desk with lots of free space around it to allow the heat to escape. If you have no choice but to use it on a soft surface then laptop trays and tables that go on your lap are relatively cheap to buy. This investment is worth it if it prevents overheating, extends the life of your laptop, and, most importantly, runs more quietly.

Note:

Even when using a hard surface, a laptop stand will put space between the laptop and desk cooling the laptop underneath.

2. Invest in a Cooling Pad

If you’re not using your laptop on a soft surface but you are using it in a very warm climate you could consider a laptop cooling pad. Admittedly these pads do use fans but most users report they are quieter than their laptop fans.

3. Close Unnecessary Programs

More work equals more heat and therefore the fan has to run more. Ensure you close any programs you’re not using so you only have open the things you actually need. In windows, you can either press Control+Alt+Delete or right-click your task bar and choose open task manager. On a Mac click spotlight and search for Activity Monitor. Both of these programs will show you everything running on your laptop. Close anything you’re not using.

4. Clean the Fan

A lot of dust can build up both on the fan and the vent it uses to blow the heat out of your laptop. If either of these is clogged the fan will be less effective and have to run more. To get at the fan you’ll have to unscrew the back of the laptop. Again, please do not do this if you’re under warranty. If you’re not then proceed carefully. It’s a good idea to wear an anti-static wristband to avoid shocks damaging any components. Carefully unscrew and remove the back of the laptop. Use a can of compressed air in gentle bursts to clean the dust out of the fan and the vent.

5. Check for Malware and Viruses

This is more of a problem for windows users rather than Mac. Viruses and malware can cause many problems for a pc including processes running in the background causing it to heat up. A simple google search will find both free and paid-for programs which you can use to check for malicious programs and remove them. If you’re not too confident using them most computer stores will be able to help. Usually, repair programs will clean your laptop completely but in extreme cases you’ll need to wipe your hard drive completely to remove the infection.

6. Replace the Fan

If the fan is old you may want to replace it. It’s a fairly easy job so you should be able to it yourself. Just make sure it’s the same size as the one you’re removing.

7. Replace the Laptop

This is the most expensive option but if your laptop is old it may never run again in tip-top condition. A new laptop will be more efficient and therefore run more quietly. If you’re very noise sensitive then there’s an even better option. There are some models of laptops which have no fan at all. Peace and quiet guaranteed! Make sure you do your research to ensure the model you pick does everything else you need it to though. Some have no fan because they are fairly basic. If you play a lot of computer games or are doing graphics processing it may not have the power you need.

Conclusion

Most of the time the fan in your laptop will run as intended and not cause you much of a problem where noise is concerned. To ensure this keep your laptop in a well-ventilated space when using it, clean the dust out of it at least once a year and make sure your security programs are up to date. If you’re still having problems with your noisy laptop fan, try the steps above to get your laptop running as quietly as possible.

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About the Author: AJ

Hi, my name's AJ! I write about living a quieter life, soundproofing tips and recommending the best quiet products here on Quiet Living.