Why is My Laptop Fan So Loud All of a Sudden? (+ Fix It)

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This is why your laptop fan is so loud all of a sudden.

You’ll learn:

  • Why your laptop fan is so loud
  • How to stop your laptop fan from making noise
  • Lots more

Let’s dive right in!

My Laptop Fan Is So Loud All of a Sudden

You’re working away and the gentle hum of your laptop you’re accustomed to suddenly gets louder. Before you know it, the noise escalates to a whirring and grinding noise louder than your lawnmower and it’s all you can do to keep you from smashing it.

If this experience sounds familiar to you, don’t panic. The cramped up space inside the machine and the high capacity batteries it utilizes to run causes heat buildup. And as soon as things heat up, your laptop fan runs faster, resulting in noises.

This article discusses why your laptop fan is so loud, how to prevent the noise from your laptop fan (at you own risk), and some frequently asked questions.

What a Loud Laptop Fan Means

Here’s what you should know about fan noise. The fan, probably the loudest laptop component within your computer, performs a vital function of cooling your laptop, specifically the CPU (central processing unit).

All computers emit heat due to the electricity they consume and then transmit it around their circuitry, all in compacted space.  

So some noise is okay, but if for one reason or another (which we’ll discuss in more detail later), your laptop fan needs to dissipate more heat, the fan spins faster, causing unusually loud noises. 

If the noise gets too loud and distracting that you can barely hear yourself think, you should be concerned as this can negatively impact your laptop.

Overheating can result in your laptop shutting down now and then; something called a thermal check. This shutting down happens when the laptop fan reaches a pre-set temperature, a built-in protective feature in all computers.

Reasons for a Loud Laptop Fan

We’ve determined the reason your laptop fan is making loud noises is a malfunctioning fan resulting in your laptop overheating. But what causes it to overheat? Here are the three primary reasons:

1. Software Issues

This may surprise you but software running in never-ending loops can cause excess demand on your laptop, making it generate more heat than is necessary.

You may have recently made changes to your computer’s operating system (OS) or installed software that’s running continuously in the background, resulting in a systems overload.

The truth is, such situations put too much load on your laptop, causing it to overheat, which means more work for your laptop fan, hence the loud noises. Therefore, take note of what you’re doing right before your laptop loses its mind and starts making noise or shuts down. 

Running demanding 3D games or watching videos, for example, exerts way more stress on your laptop than browsing the internet.  

2. Blocked Vents and Dirty Fan

As laptops get older, they overheat more. Especially if you’re not in the habit of cleaning the vents regularly, they get clogged up with dust that blocks the internal airflow, causing the fans to spin faster and make more noise.

Inadequate ventilation can also cause your laptop to overheat and make noise, and the way you use your laptop can determine whether there’s sufficient ventilation or not. 

For example, placing it on your lap or a soft surface, such as a pillow or blanket, can block the vents, causing reduced airflow, which triggers overheating.

Therefore, avoid soft surfaces and instead place your laptop on a hard, flat surface when using it. Preferably, elevate it slightly to allow for better air circulation. Also, clean your laptop regularly.

3. Hard Disk Failure

If you hear whirring, grinding, or clicking noises emanating from the area near your hard drive, it’s a sign of an impending hard drive failure, in which case you need to get your files backed up.

When the mechanisms inside an HDD start to malfunction, the result is a noisier hard drive, and all you can do after backing up your data is to replace the hard drive with a new model. 

4. Malware

A virus, worm, or other types of malware are another common cause for overheating laptops. It causes the processor to max out, and if this occurs frequently, the system eventually overheats.

Cybercriminals create crypto-mining malware intended for hijacking your laptop’s CPU power to mine cryptocurrencies.

Viruses, adware, and various digital threats can also put a lot of pressure on your laptop’s resources, resulting in its internal components heating up. 

Now, you might be wondering how you can combat this as it’s a problem that seems somewhat beyond your control. The most effective way is to invest in reliable antivirus software.

5. Outdated Drivers

Before you have a meltdown next time your laptop gets so noisy, ask yourself when was the last time you updated your drivers.

It’s essential to update your drive regularly because outdated and unoptimized drivers impact laptop efficiency significantly. Don’t update your driver and what happens is your system has to work harder (and get hotter and louder) to perform even simple tasks.

A point to note is, when updating your drivers, only download them either from Windows Update or your device’s manufacturer’s website. However, there’s a caveat to this. You may notice overheating, in which case you should consider a rollback to a more stable version.

How to Stop Your Laptop Fan from Being So Loud

As mentioned earlier, there’s a genuine reason for concern when you hear loud noises emanating from your laptop. The good news, it’s often a situation you can easily remedy with the following:

1. Kill Background Processes

Here’s the truth: Often noisy fans are a result of demands placed on the hardware. So check if there are any background processes running that are causing your laptop to run hotter and disable these processes to eliminate the demand. 

Also, remove programs you’re not using. How? 

If you’re a Mac user, use the Activity Monitor. You can launch the Activity Monitor by searching for it on Spotlight by pressing Cmd + Space or using the Launchpad icon on your Dock, opening the Other folder, and then clicking on the Activity Monitor icon.

If you’re a Windows user, launch the Task Manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc, the “three-finger salute,” or Ctrl + Alt + Del if you’re a Windows 10 user.  

For Linux users, there are options available for managing rogue background processes in Linux.

It’s wise to prevent too many processes from starting when your computer boots. 

Again, for Mac users, remove anything unnecessary by going to System Preferences > Users > Startup and deleting it. For Windows 10, edit the startup folder.

2. Clean Your Fan

If you’re sure the noise has nothing to do with the hard drive, then your fan is probably dirty. Clogged up fan vents are preventing airflow, causing your laptop to heat up and make noises.

If you’re worried about voiding your warranty by opening up your laptop, or you’re just not comfortable doing so, the good news is, you can clean your laptop fan without opening it.

First, make sure you’re somewhere you don’t mind getting dusty. Then get a can of compressed air, point it at the laptop’s cooling vents, and blast some air at them.

If you’re comfortable with laptop repair and disassembly, use a cloth to wipe the laptop’s inside vents and any other open area that has accumulated dust. Also, try replacing the thermal paste on the heat sink.

Do that only if you know what you do—entirely at your own risk.

3. Cool Your Laptop

You’ll need to cool your laptop if it’s unable to cool sufficiently. And for Pete’s sake, no, that doesn’t mean you can wrap it in a plastic bag and shove it in the refrigerator; that’s a bad idea. 

Use a cooling pad (cooler). They’re specially designed for this purpose. And don’t worry, because gone are the days when laptop coolers were metal plates with fans in the base to maximize airflow. 

They’re now cool accessories consisting of LEDs with adjustable wind speeds, temperature sensors, and in-built USB hubs.

Coolers reduce the operating temperature and are a great accessory, especially if you put your laptop under load for extended periods playing demanding 3D games.  

And the best part is, you can opt for a clip-on fan cooler. These suck out hot air from your laptop, reducing the operating temperature.

FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions:

Is It Bad if My Laptop Fan Is Loud?

Some noise is okay, but if the noise suddenly gets too loud, it spells a problem. It could be a system overload, blocked vents, dirty fan, hard disk failure, or malware.

How Do I Stop My Laptop From Making Noises?

Several issues can cause noises, and this is what you need to do:

  • Eliminate any rogue background processes.
  • Clean your fan regularly.
  • Cool your laptop. 
  • Ensure nothing is blocking your laptop’s vents.

How Can I Make My Fan Quieter?

Do the following to make your laptop fan quiet:

  • Ensure there’s continuous airflow by giving your laptop room to breathe. Remove anything preventing airflow or obstructing the laptop sides.
  • Use your laptop where it’s not dusty or too hot.
  • Use a cooling pad or fan to help with air circulation.
  • If you haven’t replaced your CPU fan in years, it’s about time you upgraded. 

How Can I Clean My Laptop Without Opening It?

All you need is a can of compressed air, which you’ll point at your laptop’s cooling vents and give them a few blasts of air.

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