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Like you, I too have found myself asking “Why is my laptop fan so loud?” Apparently, both brand new machines and antique artifacts can both suffer from a noisy laptop fan.
Malicious malware might be to blame. Alternatively, your laptop fans might also be clogged with dust, reducing the effectiveness of the fans in cooling down the machine.
Fortunately, these problems, and the others we’ll explore, have pretty simple solutions. Even better, you can do them yourself without an expensive trip to the repair shop!
Why Is My Laptop Fan so Loud?
And is it really the fan in the first place?
Before rummaging through your cabinet drawers desperately trying to find the warranty certificate, take a deep breath and try to remain calm. Diagnosing the root cause of a loud laptop fan is usually quite simple and doesn’t take a lot of time.
The initial inspection
When trying to figure out why is my laptop fan so loud, the first thing to do is figure if it’s actually the laptop fan or not.
Upon noticing the loud fan noise, try to distinguish whether it is coming from your cooling fans or your hard drive. One easy way to tell is to turn the laptop over and place your ear near the fan vent, usually located on the laptop’s underside. If your machine feels hot to touch, and the sound is coming from the fan vent, it is most likely an overheating issue.
On the other hand, if your cooling fans are quiet but there is a strange whirring or scratching noise coming from the inside, it could be a sign of a hard drive issue. In this case, you will need to consult the manufacturer or take the laptop to be seen by a professional.
Should I Reset My Slow, Noisy Laptop?
Does your laptop fire up its fans immediately upon booting, or does it only occur when performing heavy tasks such as video editing or image processing? Why is my laptop fan so loud, you ask? They might be frantically trying to cool your laptop down due to substantial resources taking their toll on the processor.
While a brand new machine probably won’t have noise issues due to computer clutter, an older laptop might. We’ve all been there before. Our desktop and downloads folder is cluttered with redundant games, applications, and old media. In this case, it might be time for a clean-up.
Clearing hard-hard drive space won’t directly effect processor heat.
However, removing unwanted programs that could potentially be draining resources in the background will free up computing power. As a result, your processor won’t be overloaded or overheated.
Best of all, you might be free of that irritating noise.
Reducing laptop workload
Much like their biological counterparts, computers tend to heat up and slow down when given overwhelming workloads. Does your laptop whir up after opening your 19th Chrome tab while streaming movies and simultaneously working on that all-important essay due tomorrow? Sometimes, it’s essential to step back and realize just how much you are demanding of your laptop.
Other times, reducing processes might not be as obvious.
For example, many applications and programs run operations in the background that you might not be aware of. These apps take a lot of your processing power, RAM, and cause your fans to make a harsh, irritating noise.
Limit resource hogging applications
The processes for canceling unwanted background processes will vary from Windows to Mac operating systems. For Windows, you will need to open “Task Manager” and close any unwanted processes. If you are using a MacBook, you can do the same using the “Activity Monitor” application.
Similarly, if like me you use Chrome as your daily browser, there is a simple fix that will work on both platforms. Namely, it is possible to cancel unwanted Chrome background pages and processes.
To apply this fix, click the three vertical dots or “more” tab and then open More tools and click Task Manager.
Secondly, click “Memory” in order to sort tasks by memory demand. Finish by closing all unwanted background processes labeled as “Background page.”
Remember that you will lose any unsaved work if you close that particular page or process.
Does my laptop have a virus?
Malicious malware or computer virus is software that is designed to disrupt or damage a computer and may be the answer to “Why is my laptop fan so loud?” A common sign of a computer virus is a slow, lagging laptop that gets loud and hot even when you aren’t running anything.
Typical malware programs work by demanding tremendous amounts of processing power to effectively slow down your computer and sometimes even steal your data. As a result, your laptop’s fans will work in overdrive to counteract the overheating internal components. That is why a virus is a common cause of a loud laptop fan.
It is recommended to monitor your Windows or Mac inbuilt antivirus software. Alternatively, installing third-party anti-virus applications could discover something that your operating system’s defenses missed. Killing all malware should solve your noisy laptop fan issues.
Ensure Adequate Ventilation
Laptops cool themselves by removing hot air from inside the machine and replacing it with colder, ambient air. Most laptops suck in this air through the bottom vent. If you habitually rest your computer on a soft surface such as a blanket, bed or carpet, you are restricting air flow and subsequently impairing the airflow.
If you’re still wondering why my laptop fan is so loud while smothering the vents, well, there you go. Instead, make sure only to use your laptop on a flat and even surface. This allows air to flow through naturally, reducing the need for your fans to work in overdrive.
But what if you still have blocked vents? A common cause of a loud laptop fan is a build up of dust. Similarly to a soft, uneven surface, this dust prevents air from flowing through the laptop fans. Cleaning and removing dust and dirt from your machine is one of the best ways to silence your device.
Can I remove laptop dust by myself?
Commonly, the dust buildup on the bottom grille vents is on the outside. This is because most laptops have a filter which prevents dust from entering your device. It is recommended to use appropriate dust-removal tools such as this inexpensive cleaning kit, which only costs between $8 and $10. You can get it on Amazon, and it’s a lifesaver.
Regardless, if the dust build-up is on the inside of the machine, it will be difficult to remove. To avoid any warranty issues, it is not recommended to open your machine and clean the sensitive internal components by yourself.
Of course, if you have an older machine and you are willing to take the risk of damaging your laptop, it is possible to do clear your laptop of dust by yourself. A good recommendation is to search for a guide online which details the process for your particular laptop.
How to avoid laptop dust in the future
So, you’ve finally managed to silence that annoying buzz? Moving forward, it’s essential to take steps to ensure that dust doesn’t continue to infiltrate your precious laptop.
Only using your laptop on a hard, even surface such as a table or desk will allow clean air to cycle through your computer. On the other hand, placing your laptop grill onto a soft surface will suck up unwanted dust particles into your machine.
Furthermore, it’s essential to use your laptop in clean, well-ventilated areas when possible. This will not only reduce the amount of dust that enters the device but will also improve the cooling capabilities, reducing the need for fast, annoying fan speeds.
Using an external cooler
Unfortunately, sometimes taking all the preventative steps will still result in a hot, dusty machine. For those that struggle with ventilation, using an external cooling fan is a way to never have to ask why is my laptop fan so loud again. External coolers work by providing additional airflow, reducing the need for your laptop fans to work in overdrive.
A popular choice is the Notepal Ultra by Cooler Master. It’s available for between $15 and $20, and it has been a lifesaver for me in hot or badly ventilated environments.
Still Have a Loud Laptop?
As annoying as it can be, sometimes silencing your laptop isn’t as easy at it seems. Faulty devices or manufacturer issues can cause some hardware failures that result in a loud laptop fan. It is possible that you have received a defective machine or damaged some internal components. In some cases, the warranty might save you.
In other cases, like when your laptop is old, components wear out. Sometimes the answer to “Why is my laptop fan so loud?” is “Because stuff breaks down.” And that’s no one’s fault. It’s just the nature of electronics.
It’s also entirely possible that your machine is just naturally loud. Namely, gaming laptops with powerful internal components are notoriously noisy. Before you waste any more time trying to diagnose a problem, ensure that your laptop isn’t simply just a loud model.
Luckily, I was able to solve my noisy buzzing laptop. Which steps worked for you? I’d love to hear other potential solutions in the comments below.