On very cold days, when I first turn my computer on, the fan runs on its highest setting for 20 seconds. On this boot, the computer responds much more slowly than usual. I have to reboot after the computer has been running for a while, then it will turn on with normal fan and operate fine.

What causes this issue and is there anything to do about it?

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    Just to clarify, is it also cold in the room where the computer is? A cold day outside may just mean that you have cranked up the heating and the room itself is hotter than usual. – terdon Jan 21 '13 at 19:22
  • @terdon Yes, it's cold in the room with the computer. No central heating means rooms close to the outside walls get very cold. – just.another.programmer Jan 21 '13 at 20:57
  • Sounds like a BIOS bug. Or maybe the temperature is cold enough that its interpreting it as "sensor is not connected", and thus is doing a fail-safe of maximum cooling, minimum heat production. Also, how cold are we talking? — when you say very cold, I think "well below freezing." – derobert Jan 23 '13 at 22:31
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    Ok—a few more followup questions, then. (1) how are you determining how fast the fan speed is? Are you reading off an RPM sensor in the BIOS, or are you just going by how loud it is? A failing fan can be quite loud, but not spinning fast at all. (2) Just to confirm, your humidity is low enough that you don't have condensation anywhere. (3) Normally the low-temperature spec is 0°C, any idea on yours? Or make and model and someone can try and look it up for you. – derobert Jan 24 '13 at 22:36
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    Ok, according to the spec sheet, it should run at 0–35°C, you're within the range. Its probably way past when you can complain to Dell about it. Which BIOS version do you have? A05 has a "thermal control enhancement" (current is A10). dell.com/support/drivers/us/en/19/… – derobert Jan 25 '13 at 16:07

Most computers run their fans on full speed when the system is first powered on. It's generally a BIOS-controlled function.

Also, when your computer first starts up and the Operating System loads for the first time, it runs a lot of checks, loads drivers into memory, and starts services as well as any programs you've installed that run all the time. All this means your CPU and other system components are getting a lot of use.

It is normal for it to take a few minutes for your computer to complete all it's necessary processing and to settle down for smooth running.

Using startup manager programs you can see see many of the programs set to run on start and may help resolve your freezing on start up issue.

In summary: I wouldn't worry about the fan running high. It's not a serious issue and is not normally indicative of any sort of problem.

I would worry slightly about your computer needing to be hard reset on load from time to time, but there are other questions that deal with that here on SU.

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  • On problem boots the whole system takes considerably longer than on normal boots to start up. Even post all the programs being loaded fully, checks being run, etc, it still functions more slowly than normal. – just.another.programmer Mar 28 '13 at 11:14

Please read this small article, leaving your computer in a very cold place when it is turned off could damage your computer.


usually servers are maintained in cold rooms to be more efficient, and this is the purpose of the fan (keep the processor and the computer well aired and somehow cold for a better performance) As a result for your case as I saw in the comments it should be either :

  • bios problem.
  • wiring problem to the temperature sensor.
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  • Extremely low temperatures can be damaging indeed, but thermal stress is a negligable factor. The entire laptop will be colder, but temperature differences between hot and cold parts will remain the same and coefficients of expansion are fairly constant across realistic weather. – Marcks Thomas Mar 3 '13 at 11:22

Not sure for the first part of your question, maybe there is some process using the CPU, some automatic update?

For the second part of your question, try SpeedFan http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php You can control the speed of the fans and many CPU settings, like active cooling, etc.

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I'm also going to chime in to this as well, I've seen this happen on several computers in my time.

Usually it's a BIOS problem, which can be fixed by upgrading the BIOS to the latest version (or in some cases, downgrading to a specific version, but only when directed to by support, or guides, etc), or just re-flashing the current version of your BIOS.

If it's not a BIOS problem, it could be an issue with a faulty temperature sensor. What does the BIOS or a temp utility read?

Lastly, pretty rarely though, could be a bad motherboard.

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This issue may happen on older motherboards.

This will also happen if your computer is used to being hot or even if it overheats alot, causing the fan to spin really hard no matter what temperature it is.

Liquid cooling or a fan underneath will help solving this problem so it will get used to being cold.

You also may be mistaking this noise for hard drive activity. Take the hard drive out of the case and see if you still hear the noise. If it indeed persists, then the problem would be the cooling fans.

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