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Time Saving Tip: Noisy Computer Fan?

5 min read

In many computers, especially desktops, over time one of the fans may become noisy. Newer computers have several fans, but the one that usually acts up is the fan for the central processing unit (CPU). The CPU is the ‘brain’ of the computer. If one of your PC-based fans becomes noisy, you or your tech person should consider running through the following troubleshooting tips.

  1. Vacuum or blow out the dust! Often the root cause of the noise is that inside the computer’s casing, the components are hugely dusty. Get a can of compressed air and blow out the dust, especially the stuff that collects in the fans. You should be able to easily do this yourself.
  2. Run diagnostics if your computer has them. VAIO computers, for example, have something called VAIO Care™. Most computers ship with some kind of software diagnostics. Try checking for that by clicking Start, All Programs, and then looking in PC Help & Tools for diagnostic software. If the software finds something, it may be able to walk you through fixing it by simply connecting to the Internet and downloading new or updated software.
  3. There can be other causes for fan noise, but one that is often overlooked is simple and relatively inexpensive to fix. Get a tech person to do this one, however. Many computers have something called heat sink compound (or paste) that’s pre-applied between the heat sink that sits over a CPU and the actual CPU. This paste can dry out in time. If it dries out, it can’t conduct heat (i.e., wicks off the heat the CPU creates). If it can’t conduct heat, the fan will kick in more often. A re-application of this paste can do the trick.
  4. Get a tech person to run specific diagnostics for your system. It could be that your fan or its controller needs to be replaced. In more serious situations, you may need to replace the power supply, or even the motherboard.

Photo Credit: Ballerinus

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