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I have a Dell laptop with a i7 720QM CPU, and for the past few months the fan has been running nonstop (or so it seems). This hasn't always been the case, and it just started all of the sudden. I finally checked the CPU temperature today, and it looks to me the CPU is running hot (see screenshot below)

enter image description here

I've checked Task Manager, and I don't see any processes that are using CPU excessively, and I've scanned the computer for malware. The computer was purchased in June 2010. What is causing this issue?

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closed as too localized by Breakthrough, Dave M, Dave, Scott, Brad Patton Jun 12 '13 at 19:31

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Can you open the case and look at it? May be an issue of just blowing the dust off from the cooler or replacing the thermal grease. –  AnonymousLurker Jun 11 '13 at 1:50
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Those temperatures seem fine. Eve the max temperature s are fine. –  Ramhound Jun 11 '13 at 1:52
    
If the temperatures might are fine, then why is the fan running constantly? (You had to downvote the question?) –  RHPT Jun 11 '13 at 1:54
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@RHPT I got better things to do the.down vote questions. I still maintain the temperature s are fine. –  Ramhound Jun 11 '13 at 2:24
    
Have you switched power profiles? If you changed to high performance your fans would be running non-stop. –  Tog Jun 11 '13 at 6:48

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The most likely cause is that the computer was purchased in June 2010. Three years is old age for most laptops and you can expect some problems. You should try the following (in this order):

  1. Open the laptop and clean it thoroughly using a can of compressed air. Make sure you clean the CPU fan, heat sink and air intake and exit grilles. If you have never done this in three years, you really really should.

  2. If the previous step makes no difference, you may need to change the thermal paste between the CPU and its heat sink. This is a heat conductive grease that acts to maximize heat transfer between the CPU and heat sink.

    You will need to remove the heat sink, carefully scrape off all the old thermal paste from both the CPU and the heat sink and then apply a new layer of paste. Even better, as @David suggested in the comment below, use an isopropyl alcohol wipe to get the old thermal compound off. Bear in mind that once you remove the heat sink from the CPU, the old thermal paste is destroyed and you will have to apply a new layer. So don't try this unless you have some paste available.

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I would recommend not scraping the thermal paste off and instead using an isopropyl alcohol wipe to get the old thermal compound off. Also, DO NOT use too much or too little thermal compound. Watch a video on YouTube, or simply use a pea sized amount of thermal compound. Too much can cause some to leak into the CPU (causing weird intermittent issues or breaking it completely), and too little can cause overheating. –  David Jun 11 '13 at 2:08
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There's no reason to remove the thermal paste and lots of reasons not to -- it's easy to mess things up. I would just remove the dust with compressed air. Most likely, you don't even need to open the case. –  David Schwartz Jun 11 '13 at 2:10
    
@DavidSchwartz I only recommend changing the paste if cleaning is not enough. –  terdon Jun 11 '13 at 2:10

If you see above the "Core"s "Tj.Max" -- that's the max temperature the cpu is designed to operate at. Without more information one can only guess at what would cause the temperature increases.

Different locations/airflow around the laptop; fan problem

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Dust is one of the problems which causes CPU overheating. You need to clean the laptop inside and here is the link where you can learn how. http://www.techradar.com/news/mobile-computing/laptops/how-to-clean-your-laptop-of-dust-and-dirt-942783

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