I have a Dell Inspiron 9400 with a Nvidia GeForce 7800 video card.

The fan on the video card seems to not be working as it get extremely hot on the side where the video card is. I can see the fan through the vents and it never seems to turn on. My question is, is there anyway to diagnose the problem without actually opening up the laptop.

Eg. Any software ulilities to detect if the fan cables are plugged in properly (1 might have come loose), to manually force the fan to turn on, etc...

Any tips or pointers would be appreciated.


Well I wasn't able to find any tools to get readings on the fan at all even in the BIOS and Dell support wasn't much help. Since the problem was started after I used compressed air to clean the fan area I did just the opposite...

I connected a hand held vacuum to the fans vent areas and sealed of the area around it. I then turn on the vacuum and sucked out bunch of dust that I must have blown in. After that I started the computer back up and the fan started to work again :)


NVIDIA has a utility that allows you to adjust video card settings such as fan speed. It may allow you to detect the voltage on the fan circuit as well so you'll know if power is getting to the fan.


(Have you tried good ol' compressed air?)

  • Yes I did try compressed air... after I used it is when the fan stopped working :( That's why I think I could have blown something loose. I don't want to go out and buy a new fan if is what happened and taking this thing apart does not look simple. – Kelsey Jul 19 '09 at 2:46
  • I installed nTune but it doesn't seem to give me much useful information. I couldn't find any information with regards to the fan. – Kelsey Jul 19 '09 at 18:29

Contact Dell support, they might have a program to help force turn it on. If it is not running however when the laptop is hot then most likely it is broke, or a loose cable.

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