Laptops are a great way to stay connected. Whether it’s work, friends, or family, they’re a convenient way to stay in touch on the go. But sometimes laptops make strange noises, and many wonder what causes them.
When a laptop fan is making a buzzing noise, it’s likely because the fan is working to cool the device down, or has dust buildup. A laptop has a built-in fan designed to keep it cool, but when it overheats, the fan will overwork and buzz loudly. Too much dust on the fan can also cause buzzing.
Keep reading for a closer look at what causes your laptop to buzz and what you can do to fix it.
What Causes Your Laptop to Make Buzzing Noise?
Your laptop is making a buzzing noise due to an overworked fan or excessive dust buildup. It’s very easy for dirt to get into the fan of your laptop with just regular use. Dust is the number one culprit of loud laptop fans. However, sometimes your laptop fan is simply overworked.
Whether it’s constant use or keeping it in a warm place, many factors having to do with temperature can cause your laptop to buzz loudly, trying to keep itself cool.
Dust Has Accumulated in the Fan
This can happen naturally over time. Dust and dirt will accumulate in the fan just like it does elsewhere in your home. We’ll talk about how to properly clean your fan later, but for now let’s focus on how it gets there and how to prevent it.
The chances are that you probably keep your laptop pretty clean, but even the cleanest laptops can gather dirt.
Over the years, we’ve all sat down to our laptops with a snack. Depending on where your fan is located on your device, this can lead to crumbs getting in there. This is just one example of how fans can get dirty.
Think about kids or pets, which tend to all bring a mess wherever they go. Many different things can cause dirt to accumulate in your laptop fan, but dirt isn’t the only concern.
Dust is a natural occurrence in any home. Every week or so, we’re dusting off our surfaces to bring back their shine. Well, laptop fans are no different. They collect dust as well. Sure, they can be cleaned out, but let’s discuss preventing that from happening first.
How Do You Prevent Dust in Your Laptop Fan?
The best way to prevent dust and dirt from accumulating in the fan is to put your laptop away. If it didn’t come with a case or a sleeve, then buy one. Leaving it out on your desk when you aren’t using it can allow those particles to gather there. In a sleeve, that’s far less likely to happen.
Preventing dust and dirt from accumulating in the fan can keep your laptop from running loudly and making that obnoxious buzzing sound when you use it.
Heat Causes the Fan to Overwork
Laptops run their fan to prevent overheating. When the temperature gets too high, the fan will keep running until it has cooled down enough. Sometimes a loud fan is an overworked fan.
Not only is the internal temperature of the laptop important, but the external temperature matters too. You’ll notice your fan working harder depending on your environment. Sure, taking the laptop to the beach sounds like a great way to relax while working, but it’ll cause the fan to work much harder to keep your device from overheating.
You may not be able to change how often you are on your laptop, especially when you have a demanding job. But just remember that even technology needs a break sometimes to cool down and work better. Sure, you may need to be on your laptop as much as possible, but unplugging is good for your laptop and your mental health.
How to Fix Your Buzzing Laptop Fan: 6 Simple Tips
To fix a buzzing laptop fan, you should clean the fan thoroughly to remove any dirt and dust buildup. You should also avoid overworking the laptop, shut it down, and store it away after use.
Overuse and overheating problems can be more complicated, but completely turning off your laptop and being aware of every program running in the background can be a good way to get it to stop. Remember, an overworked laptop is often a loud one.
1. Getting Rid of Dust and Dirt
If you want to get the dust out of your laptop fan, try blowing compressed air into the vent. You can also blow into it yourself, but be ready for some dust or dirt to come your way.
If possible, remove the fan cover so you can access it better to clean it. Make sure you aren’t using any products that can leave behind residue, as this can cause your fan to stop working.
Fans don’t need to be thoroughly cleaned with harsh chemicals or anything similar. It’s best to just clean with air or a dry paper towel. If you have a duster that can reach into the crevices of the fan, that would be fine too. However, you must make sure your laptop is turned off completely before doing any of this.
If the fan is left to run, even if it isn’t running at the moment, whatever you’re cleaning it with can get stuck in it if it turns on. So, make sure your laptop is completely off to prevent any issues with cleaning the fan.
2. Helping With Overuse
Overuse may be a more complicated problem to fix. We can’t just stop using our laptops, especially when we rely on them for work or communication. One great way of quieting your laptop is to watch how many programs are running in the background. There can be multiple programs and applications running in the background that you aren’t currently using.
Some of these extra programs use quite a bit of memory by continuously running or tracking your location. Location services can be helpful, but those programs often track your location even when you aren’t actively using them.
Applications that are running in the background continuously are an easy fix. Use control + alt + delete (for Windows Operating System) or command + option + esc (for Mac Operating System) to bring up your task manager and see what is actively running. It should also tell you how much memory each specific program is using.
By opening the task manager, you can see which programs are taking up unnecessary power and may be causing your laptop to overheat more often.
Many laptops also have applications and programs that open on startup. This is common with everything from PCs to Macs. Check out what opens automatically in your task manager, and see what programs you’re using or may just be popping up in the background going unnoticed.
Quit any programs that you aren’t currently using to keep your laptop from unnecessarily running programs.
Remember that once you are done with your laptop for the day, it’s vital to shut it down completely. This will allow it to rest and make sure no programs run overnight.
Leaving your laptop active may be a quick way to access it whenever needed, but it’s not good to keep it constantly running. Give it time to shut down and cool off when you aren’t using it.
3. Shut Down Your Laptop When Finished
Shutting down your laptop regularly will also allow it to update properly. Lingering updates will not always happen while you’re using your laptop. They often wait until overnight when you’re no longer using it. This is great for keeping you going throughout the day, but if you don’t shut down your laptop, it’ll be forced to ignore updates until you do.
So, make sure you’re regularly shutting down your laptop and allowing updates to happen when you need them.
4. Keep an Eye Out for Malware
Another potential fix for loud fan noises is clearing any malware. Malware can cause your laptop to run even more than necessary. There may be programs running in the background that you may not know about. Not only is this bad for your laptop, but it can cause it to run even more.
To combat this, make sure you’re running anti-virus software on your laptop. This will keep any malware away, ensure your laptop remains safe, and help prevent malware from running in the background.
5. Give Your Fan Some Space
Finally, your fan may just need room to work properly. Sometimes, laptops design their fans to be on the side so that hot air can be released without much in the way.
However, that’s not always the case. Sometimes fans are placed on the bottom of your laptop, meaning that the hot air isn’t able to escape as well.
Make sure you’re using your laptop on a proper surface like a desk or counter, which will allow the heat to escape better. Also, if you notice the fan getting loud, you can temporarily lift your laptop off of the surface to give it a chance to clear out the hot air.
6. Try a Laptop Cooling Pad
If your laptop is still overheating, there’s still hope. Laptop cooling pads are a great option to help your fan work a little less by cooling your laptop down along with your fan. A cooling pad has extra fans built into it.
So, you don’t have to worry about your fan overworking, as it’ll take away some of the work by cooling down your entire device. They’re not very expensive either. So, if all else fails, try a Havit cooling pad from Amazon to keep your laptop fan from overworking.
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Is It Better to Get Your Buzzing Fan Replaced Or Replace Your Laptop?
For newer laptops, it’s best to replace the fan rather than replace the entire laptop. It’s much cheaper to buy and install a new fan instead of buying a new laptop. Even if you need a professional to install it, it’s worth it to replace the fan instead.
Having your laptop fan replaced by a professional will most likely cost you around $200. When compared to the cost of a brand new laptop, it’s obvious which is the better deal. A new fan can keep your laptop from overheating and get it back to the quiet machine you once knew.
If you’re looking to have a professional handle it, then set aside some money to get it done. However, it can also be a fun DIY project as long as you do enough research. Laptop fans aren’t too expensive, and with the right information, you could be well on your way to having a new fan for less than half the price.
There are plenty of helpful resources online if you want to try them yourself. Here’s a tutorial video to replace your laptop cooling fan :
Here is another helpful article with a video from HP, going through some necessary tools to get started. Though it isn’t necessary to replace the fan yourself, it’s certainly the cheapest way to ensure your laptop fan is quiet and doing its job.
Replacing your laptop should be a last resort, but it may be helpful with older laptops. Sometimes continuous updates and overuse may age your laptop and make it louder than normal. If you have the money, it may be worth investing in a brand new laptop to replace yours altogether.
Sometimes the fan can be replaced, and that fixes the problem. Other times, it may be more about how your laptop runs than the actual fan. So, try to fix the fan if you want, but there’s no shame in buying a new laptop.
Laptop buzzing sounds can be annoying, but they are also indicative of an issue that needs addressing. Your fan may be quieter after a good cleaning or once it stops working so hard. So, clean out your fan and check to see how many programs are running in the background.
Taking care of these issues and following our advice can help you get your laptop running normally and quietly in no time.
Related: Why Is Your Charger Making Noise? Causes & Solutions