Laptop fans are the key cooling instrument for the internal hardware of your computer system. The fan extracts the heat from the motherboard, processor, and blast the hot air out through the fan vents, this is the same mechanism as of radiator that blows hot air out from a car engine.
The fan produces a modest audible sound, so if your fan is inaudible, you can’t feel the air rushing out of the vents and most importantly the laptop is getting hot frequently, it is most likely that the fan has stopped its proper functioning. And you need to do something about it. Right?
The fan plays a crucial role in prolonging systems life and usefulness of a laptop system, as a superheated laptop doesn’t perform up to the mark and can cause several problems i.e. frequent abrupt shutdowns, application crashes, and in the worst case, can potentially damage the hardware of the laptop.
Overheating can lead to severe malfunctioning or damage to internal components of the system. Checking your laptop’s fan is simple and should be done regularly. Ensure to replace the buggy fan to save yourself from potential problems.
The obvious job of a fan is to cool down the system, might it be any system. In our case, the laptop fan does the same to keep the laptop internals ventilated. For the very reason to keep the laptop at its best performance. As an electronic physical device like this can heat up pretty quickly and thwart the performance of the system. Resultantly causing all programs to slow down or crash.
The major issue with a broken fan is that it can potentially damage other parts of the laptop as well. Because in the laptop certain components can’t sustain the heat level caused by the malfunctioning fan. Unless you resolve the heating problem, your whole machine is at risk of being broken down.
So the crux of the discussion is that a laptop fan is of dire importance and needs to be well working. Now the real question, how will you find out if something’s off with the fan? That’s what we’re going to examine now.
Check the Fan
Listen for Noise
The first thing you can check if your laptop’s fan is working properly or not is by listening to it. Yes, try to pry out the sound of fan running because as we mentioned earlier a running fan produced a moderate audible sound. Most laptops have a customary noise while working.
Move into a quiet place and get your ear near the laptop’s bottom, behind the keyboard. In most modern laptops, a fan doesn’t work every now and then not all the time. When performing processor-intensive tasks like image editing, gaming or editing a video the fan starts working. Because in processor demanding jobs the system can heat up pretty quickly.
Therefore you don’t need to worry if you don’t hear any noise when you turn on your laptop, because it is running at the slowest possible speed. To improve battery performance and efficiency the manufacturers often set the fans to work only under stress situations to facilitate the cooling process.
To deliberately put your laptop fan to work you can start streaming a 4K video or play a high definition game, these will definitely put some pressure on the laptop and force the fan to start up.
Note while eavesdropping your fan if it makes jagged pulsating or screeching noises it might be broken.
Feel for Air
If you weren’t able to hear the fan’s noise, no problem. You can feel the air coming out of the laptop’s air vents. Laptop exhaust can either be on the left side, behind or the bottom. Wherever it maybe you need to find it and then you can use a piece of paper and place it in front of the fan output, if the paper is blown even a little it can show you the fan is working, or you can use bare hands to feel the heat coming out of the air vents.
Though the modern sleek laptops with small size fans might not be able to blow away a paper. But these two mentioned techniques are the most simple and straightforward to perform physical checking of a laptop’s fan. There are more possible ways through which you can try to find out if your fan is working or not.
Watch for Errors
There might be a problem with your fan if your laptop frequently restarts without any prior warning, slows down or gives you Blue Screen of Death (BSOD). Even if the fan is blowing out air and working somewhat, it is connected to the heatsink cooling system and the problems could possibly signify issues with other components of the cooling system.
Testing through an application
You can use a software application to check if your laptop fan is working or not. There are many applications available on the internet that can range from giving you just the temperature and fan speed to advanced features like controlling the fan speed and other hardware analysis information.
Testing on Windows
The most popular application available for the Windows platform is SpeedFan. It can monitor temperature from several sources and can also change the speed of fans automatically or manually in accordance with the system’s temperature.
Along with the CPU temperature with SpeedFan, you can measure almost all the other sensors installed on your laptop i.e. hard drive temperature, ambient case temperature. You can also switch over to the detailed view in the charts tab displaying temperature charts for chosen components.
Apart from SpeedFan, you can try other software applications like HWiNFO, Argus Monitor, Real Temp.
Testing on Mac
On Mac, you can use the iStat Menu which gives you fan stats in addition to many more features like Battery Sensor, Hard Drive, Palm Rest temperature and many more countless options you can utilize.
You can download Fanny widget for macOS, I’ve been using it for quite some time now. It is made primarily to show you the current CPU temperature and the fan’s speed. The application is pretty simple, efficient and starts up at boot time.
Testing on Ubuntu Linux
To measure the fan speed and temperature of a machine running Ubuntu Linux Operating system, you’ll need to install Im-sensors and fan control packages.
To install Im-sensor:
- Sudo apt-get install Im-sensors
Now run the app using the command
- Sudo sensors-detect
For fan speed:
- Sensors | grep fan
The command will output the fan speed.
I tried to shed light on some basic techniques to try out testing your laptop fan. To make it a little more interesting I incorporated the software solution handy to perform the fan testing.
You will be able to assess the importance of a fan in laptops’ performance and lifespan. And you ought to keep it in a perfect running condition. This can keep the laptop functioning efficient and robust.
Daniel Levi is the Senior Editor at LaptopsGeek. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Arizona State University and boasts over 15 years of experience in laptop reviews. With his extensive knowledge and expertise, Daniel provides invaluable insights into the world of laptops, ensuring that LaptopsGeek readers stay informed about the latest advancements in technology.