3 Reasons Laptop CPU Fan is Not Working and How To Solve It in 2024

By: Editorial Team

Laptops have become prominent in our lives, and almost everyone has one.

Due to this, laptops are now used for nearly everything, including gaming, editing videos, design work, etc. Most of these are intensive tasks that overheat the CPU.

The fans are also overworked and under-maintained leading to failure or malfunction. This article offers solutions to your fan problem preventative measures and explains why your laptop CPU fan isn’t working.

Reasons Why Laptop CPU Fan Isn’t Working

The most common culprit is a clogged CPU fan due to dust buildup.

Can Your Laptop Function Without a Fan?

Yes, your laptop will continue running without the fan. But how long can you sustain it? Unfortunately, not for long due to overheating issues.

Your laptop relies on the CPU fan to cool it, and without it, any extra load on the CPU can be damaging.

You can add a cooling fan to keep it running, but even that isn’t enough. Therefore, don’t operate your laptop if the CPU fans aren’t working.

Without the CPU fans, your laptop will only last minutes. If you continue pushing, it could also damage your hard drive.

Your laptop should have safeguards to prevent extensive damage, as it’ll likely shut down if the CPU overheats beyond its limit.

Occasionally, these safeguards will fail; thus, shut down your laptop to avoid further damage.

Is the Fan Broken If You Can’t Feel Air Coming Out Of The Vents?

Feeling the air around the vents isn’t a foolproof method to determine whether your fan is functioning. In some cases, the fan could be functioning but running quietly while moving little air.

This isn’t to say your fan is malfunctioning. Your laptop is likely idle, or it’s not handling heavy loads to warrant higher fan speeds.

Another possibility is clogged vents and fans, which reduce fan speed.

Place your hand over the fan to feel whether it’s lukewarm or hot. If it’s the latter, your laptop CPU fan might have an issue.

Laptop Cooling Fan Not Working How To Clean and Fix

Is Your Laptop CPU Fan Failing?

Since the CPU fan is located inside the laptop, it’s hard to inspect it without opening up your laptop.

Fortunately, you can identify imminent CPU fan failure through these signs:

Noisy Fan

Your laptop fan should run quietly, especially when idle, watching videos, browsing, or using Word. These tasks aren’t CPU or GPU-intensive; thus, your fan shouldn’t function at 100%.

Also, listen to the sound of the fan. Is it a humming sound? If yes, your laptop CPU fan is fine.

If you can hear a clicking, buzzing, or ticking noise, it means that your fan has accumulated dirt and is struggling to run at full capacity.

Error Messages

As your CPU fan begins to deteriorate, your laptop will respond by alerting you through error messages. For example, the computer will send a CPU over temperature error to indicate that your CPU is overheating

It can also display the CPU fan error if the fan isn’t working. In such situations, the laptop will shut down and can try figuring out why the fan isn’t working.

Consult a laptop specialist to avoid damaging your motherboard and CPU.

How to Fix Laptop CPU Fan Not Working

In some cases, your fan requires a simple fix while in others more complicated remedies are needed. These remedies include:

Close Apps

Your CPU fan could malfunctioning because it can’t handle heavy loads. It’s easy to forget that you’ve opened 3 or more apps on your laptop.

And while your laptop can handle one app, it will struggle to run 10 or more. Your laptop’s CPU might overheat leading to fan issues.

Open the task manager and close any apps you’re not using. This should stop the overheating issues and hopefully fix your fan issues.

Restart Your Laptop

This is likely your first thought but like many, you’ll dismiss it for being too easy. It might sound and look easy but it can fix your malfunctioning fans.

Simply, unplug the power adapter, press down the power button, and remove the battery.

Once you’ve removed the battery, press down on the power button to eliminate any residue charge. Leave your laptop for several minutes then reassemble it and turn it on.

Clean the Fan

If closing the apps and restarting the laptop doesn’t help, try cleaning your laptop fan. Your CPU fan draws air into the laptop and it often sucks in dust, dirt, hair, and other particles.

If the dirt, hair, and dust particles accumulate in the fan and bearings, it clogs the fan. This slows the fan considerably and in some cases, the buildup can be so severe that the fan can’t move.

You’ll need to clean the fans to clear the buildup. This remedy will require you to locate the manufacturer’s assembly guide to avoid damaging anything. Alternatively, consult a laptop specialist.

For DIYers, you can place your laptop on a clear table with a lamp or light source. Turn off the laptop, unplug it and remove the battery.

Remove any screws that are securing the cover. Unscrew the hard drive sled and pull it out.

Flip the laptop and check if it has a screw holding the keyboard. If it does, unscrew it. Flip it again and remove any other screws securing the keyboard.

Once done, unplug the fan and remove any screws securing the fan and heat sink.

Remove the fan and clean it using compressed air. Also, remove any layer of thermal compound present on the CPU and heat sink. Apply another layer and begin reassembling your laptop.

Once done, plug in your laptop and turn it on. Check whether the fan is working again.

Reset BIOS

CPU fans are primarily controlled by BIOS; thus, resetting it should resolve most of the issues. To reset BIOS, boot your laptop and press F2 to load BIOS.

Select load BIOS default and press Esc. Select save and exit, press enter and allow your laptop to boot.

Replace CPU Fan

As a last resort, consider replacing the laptop fan if it’s not working. You’ll follow the same steps outlined in the cleaning section to open and remove the CPU fan.

Purchase a CPU fan that’s compatible with your laptop. Install it and reassemble your laptop.

Final Thoughts

Most CPU fan repair remedies will only work if it’s partially damaged. Also, if we’ve left out other remedies, feel free to share them in the comment section.