Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

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

Tonight I started having problems, meaning that my laptop started turning off instantly. I guess it is from overheating. It was happening when I tried playing some heavy game, but now it started doing it even before the OS has loaded. I opened it (thinking that it is the thermal paste). I was right - the last time (about 6 months ago) when I changed it, I apparently missed a little end of one corner on the plate of the GPU. Even the plate, that connects to the cooling way, started getting black-ish.

So I changed the thermal paste and it was fine. Though, I couldn't hear the fan working. Putting a napkin next to the exit of the fan proved it's working, so I thought "ooh, there is such good thermal conductivity that the fan doesn't even have to turn on higher speed..." Even when I turned on a game (which was strange).

5 min. later, while I was just browsing around, the laptop shut down again. Now I am writing from an open machine, looking at the fan rotating...

I don't know if it is gonna turn off again, but the laptop is quite hot from bellow and I have no idea why is that happening. And why doesn't the fan turn on higher rate? It seems to work on only 1 frequency (as if just to show that it's working)?! The CPU is not over-heating. The GPU makes the problem here...

UPDATE: After I changed the thermal paste and turned on the machine again, it went into Windows recovery mode. I was like "okey, sure...", but it froze and I was forced to restart. After this, the fan started failing. My guess is that not finishing the process of recovery mode broke the driver or some other part of the firmware, which is connected to the fan, or smth like that. Re-installing the drivers for the video card and updating the BIOS did not help...

P.S. the laptop is HP probook 4520s

screen shot of my SpeedFan program

share|improve this question
Use a program (e.g., SpeedFan) to monitor the temperatures and fan speeds. If the fan is not spinning fast enough, then of course it won’t move enough air to keep things cool. Before assuming that it is broken and needs to be replaced, see if it’s possible to simply clean it; perhaps it is clogged with dust. If it’s not dusty (and you have checked under the blades for dust as well), then see if you can oil it. If all else fails, then change the fan. Unfortunately these kinds of fans can be a little harder to come by, but check with the laptop manufacturer, and check eBay for a compatible one. – Synetech Nov 17 '13 at 23:33
@Synetech - The fan is clean. And it was working properly before I opened it this time for changing the paste. It is only now that it started working weirdly. And you can see that the program shows it as 0 RPM... I have just one fan for both the CPU and the GPU the architecture is the following: one thermal bus going from the CPU, through the GPU to the fan. – Milkncookiez Nov 17 '13 at 23:56
The temperatures aren’t horribly high, but do seem a little bit high considering the load (CPU only 18.1% and GPU only showing Windows, assuming no game). Most fans cannot do a smooth transition from 0%-100% and usually turn off completely below ~50%. Yours is showing 30%, so it’s to be expected that the fan is off. Did you try de-selecting the automatic-fan-speed checkbox and cranking the fan-speed control to 100%? – Synetech Nov 18 '13 at 0:47
@Synetech - I don't really know what these percentages for the Fan are setting and the "automatic-fan-speed" checkbox do. I looked at some tutorials for usage of SpeedFan but couldn't find exactly those features. I will try in the evening when get back home. Otherwise, what does this percentage of the Fan set ? – Milkncookiez Nov 18 '13 at 10:58
It sets the speed of the fan. 100%=full speed, 50%=half speed. (At least that’s the goal, but technical limitations tend to prevent that from being exact, and you will usually just get a few ranges of speeds, and below ~50%=off.) The automatic checkbox lets SpeedFan automatically adjust the fan speed according to temperature so that it can turn them down (and thus reduce noise and vibration) when the system is cool and turn them up when the system heats up. Turning it off will allow you to manually set the speed which is what you need to do to test (set it to 100% to see if it can spin fast). – Synetech Nov 18 '13 at 15:54

First thing is to go to and get the latest drivers for your video card, bios and chipset. If that still shuts off randomly after install, I would go to the manufacturers website (intel, NVidia etc..) and download the driver from there. Make sure this isn't on your lap, you could be constricting air flow.

Lastly the daily operation. You could turn off as many of the graphical effects in windows as possible (aero, desktop themes, etc..) till Hp or Microsoft, or the manufacturer of the component fixes the problem. But if you are going to do that then please give them a call if it's under warranty. They can't fix what they don't know about.

share|improve this answer
Yeah, the problem is that the laptop is 2.5 years old and the warranty is gone long time ago... :D But the idea with the drivers is good, I haven't thought about it and I will check. :) – Milkncookiez Nov 18 '13 at 10:55

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .