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I opened a ticket with our IT department for this issue. They ran the onboard Dell diagnostics, which returned no issues. As such, they've essentially just given up and told me to live with it...but this fan noise is driving me insane and I have to do something about it. There doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to when the fan spins up or why. I check Task Manager and nothing seems to be using a lot of CPU or power. Everything I run on the laptop is very standard: Google Chrome (and/or Firefox, and/or Opera), Outlook, Slack, etc. My point is I'm not running any VMs, SQL, AutoCAD...nothing that is resource intensive at all. Also, this laptop is less than a year old and has more-than-adequate specs: Core i5 7300U CPU, 512GB NVMe SSD, 16GBs of RAM.

The bottom of the laptop where the vent is does feel hot to the touch, so I am running Core Temp and Open Hardware Monitor to check the temperature of the machine. Currently they are showing CPU core max temp is around 88C (Core Temp) 79C (Open Hardware Monitor). A quick Google search shows that is well above normal..? I have just now placed the laptop up on two large (empty) coffee cups to allow the bottom of the laptop to "breathe" more...and this actually seems to be helping. However, this issue is so sporadic it is hard to be sure.

All Dell drivers and firmware patches are up-to-date and installed. What else can I do here to stop this excessive fan noise?

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    It's very possible that there is dust blocking air flow/coating the heat sink and causing thermal issues (hence high temp and loud fans). However, clearing this out might required a little more than spraying some compressed air into the fan, because this will just loosen the dust. You might have to take the machine apart, however because it sounds like you are talking about a corporate owned computer you probably shouldn't open the device up and should probably request someone do this from your IT department. – Daniel Hayes Apr 15 '19 at 14:52
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    Your IT department sounds....incompetent. Dust it out with some compressed air, and you could also replace the fan. Running Dell diagnostics for this, really? – DrZoo Apr 15 '19 at 14:53
  • Much thanks, guys. Believe it or not just elevating the laptop off the desk with the coffee cups seems to have helped quite a bit, so I think you're both right about it being a physical (airflow) issue! And not to get off on a tangent but Helpdesk is such a low-paying job, so as much as I don't like the situation I kind of get it. :/ – KidACrimson Apr 15 '19 at 15:27
  • I was wrong - it's definitley something to do with this cursed TB16 dock! I had it off the dock for a few hours for a meeting...fan never spun up once, laptop was in use the entire time. I dock it again a few minutes ago...fan goes CRAZY. :( – KidACrimson Apr 15 '19 at 20:35
  • The ultimate solution is true low power (best fanless) notebook for consuming workload without VM+ desktop for production. Notebook is always a trade off when desktop is not available. Opening the notebook to clear fan can result in extra sound which is even more anoying since you touched the fan and it will soon become blocked again. The only thing you can do for now is blow strong air into the air outlet since the fin and the dusts are at there. I once used this to lower the temperature from 99C to 85C. – jw_ Feb 25 at 4:18
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My company IT directed me to a fix and I wanted to share that with anyone who may be having this issue.

1) I had a defective battery, it was replaced easily with a new one. Symptoms: Computer always ran HOT, Battery was beginning to bulge out from the bottom of the bottom which prompted the deeper dive into the issue.

2) Something about the Windows updates will change the thermal control settings prompting the fans to remain on and continue to show that the system is need more cooling that it needs... 

FIX: https://www.dell.com/support/home/us/en/04/product-support/product/latitude-14-5480-laptop/drivers

Fill In the following:

"Keyword: Intel Dynamic Platform and Thermal Framework"

"Category: Chipset"

DOWNLOAD 

This may require administrative access and if this is a corporate device, you should confirm with them prior to making any changes. 

This is a very delayed reply but I am very happy two weeks into this fix. My IT person also saved this to my download folders as the Windows system may remove this download or override the driver controls and you may need to do this again, should your device show similar symptoms in the future.

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  • Thank you, @Bill! I'll try it out! – KidACrimson Jul 22 '19 at 21:29
  • Thanks! This literally saved my laptop from going ballistically hot. – Soham Dasgupta May 14 at 16:51
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I recently started to have the same issue on a Latitude 7480 with most recent updates of BIOS and Thermal Framework. I also read about the battery issue as a potential cause of this. There were several recommendations like rolling back Intel Management Engine or BIOS.

My laptop had a battery issue which I was waiting for replacement, however, even after putting in the new dell battery and playing with all drivers versioning, I was still seeing the extreme fan activity when plugged into my WD-15 dock or even normal charger. The fan activity seemed less when running on battery.

I went to check the power plan when I noticed, a new software by dell Dell Power Manager has been installed which actually allows to set thermal profile and is set to optimized by default. In my case, setting it to quiet did the fix, but I went ahead and removed the application altogether as it's clearly not working properly on optimized mode!

Hope this be the source of it for some of you.

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I was fighting the loud DELL fan for ages - lifting the PC so it can breathe air from the bottom, installing DELL power manager, etc. Nothing worked. The solution is really simple - in Windows, go to "power & sleep" -> "Additional power settings" -> "Change plan settings" -> "change advanced power settings" -> "Processor power management" -> "System cooling policy" -> "Plugged in" and set it to Passive! Problem solved :)

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