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I have a new issue with my laptop (3-yr old Lenovo ThinkPad T61 running Windows XP). For a few months, it has been running hot, hotter than before. A couple months ago I took off the keyboard to clean any dust that might have accumulated under.

The laptop is still running very hot. I have been wondering whether the fan was malfunctioning so I installed SpeedFan. I cannot find much documentation on how to use SpeedFan, but when I go under "configure", no fan is listed on the fan tab. I also don't find "fan" listed anywhere in the BIOS.

So I'm wondering whether my fan died, or if there might be a bad connection somewhere. Any idea how I can assess that?

If my fan died, how hard is it to replace, and is it just a hardware swap or is there a systems aspect to it?

Many thanks,


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up vote 5 down vote accepted

It isn't very strange that speedfan can't detect your fan. It's probably incompatible with your chipset or fan controller. If speedfan could detect your fan and it was dead, you would get a reading of 0 RPM under its speed.

The heating problem is normal. If you haven't cleaned your fan until now, you should consider doing so as soon as possible. The insides of your laptop probably look like insides of a vacuum-cleaner right now. I've seen fans die because of dust. There are no standard laptop fans so if the fan did die or is near death, you may need to look for a spare part for your exact model. The fan could be several times more expensive than standard desktop fan.
The replacement itself should be pretty simple. Just access old fan, remove it and place new in its place. However problematic parts could be accessing the fan and obtaining new one.

Right now you should try to clean you old fan. If you could remove the keyboard, accessing fan shouldn't be more difficult. You should also get sole compressed air and clean the dust in heat dissipation system.

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I had cleaned it, but clearly not well enough. This time I completely removed it and used a can of compressed air, and it now works fine. Thanks! – JDelage Jul 16 '10 at 13:23

There are viruses that disable it, overheating your system. In that case, you should get rid of the virus.

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Sorry, but do you have a citation for that? I don't believe it's that simple (or even possible) to completely disable the fan through software. – Sasha Chedygov Jul 15 '10 at 7:29
With more modern 4-wire fans using PWM it is possible to control them through software. See However, buying a new fan just because a virus disabled it is somewhat absurd, since as soon as the virus is gone the fan will work again. – Brian Kintz Jul 15 '10 at 10:15

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