Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

A friend's laptop's fan has been making louder sound than normal, intermittently. I checked it over a period of time and confirmed that this is so. Sometimes while observing it, the sound increases for a while and then decreases (and then repeats that pattern).

Is this a potential issue? I've advised him to show it to the service center (it is under warranty) but would like to get other opinions on this.


Edit 1: Thanks to all those who answered, so far. I will give him these suggestions and check about the questions mentioned, and then reply again.

share|improve this question
I think more info about the noise and what is being done when the noise happens. Make and model may help if others are familiar with a specific issue – Dave M Sep 19 '13 at 18:07
The noise happens randomly at any time. He has not noticed any pattern such as the noise happening only when some specific program is being run or specific task is being done. Make is a Dell laptop and model is a Vostro. – Audiophile Sep 22 '13 at 19:34

Possible causes:

Without knowing the type of sound.

  1. If the issue presented itself after a while, it could be the CPU fan clogged with dust. Your friend would just need to open the laptop and blast out the dust with a can of compressed air/an electric duster. You should keep Task Manager open and record what happens when the noise level increases. Obviously, if the CPU usage spikes when the noise level increases, the CPU fan is the culprit.

  2. It could also just be Hard-drive activity. In this case, nothing he could realistically do to reduce the noise level (apart from replacing the hard-drive with an SSD).

share|improve this answer
And please keep the fan-blades from rotating when doing this (#1). If you manually (or with air) rotate the blades an electrical surge can come back to you motherboard and potentially frying it. – Rik Sep 19 '13 at 18:22
@Rik - Yeh, that's a good point. Just hold the fan blade with a single finger. – Yass Sep 19 '13 at 18:24
Thanks for those suggestions. – Audiophile Sep 22 '13 at 19:35

Your friend's laptop fan speeds up and slows down based on the cpu processing information. If the cpu reaches a certain threshold, the fan speeds up to keeps the cpu cool and stable to continue its work. this is not uncommon amongst desktop cpu fans or gpu fans.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.