CPU fans are essential components of any PC because they help your system perform efficiently.
Since heat can negatively affect your system, you should always ensure that your fans are working at the highest capacity.
High fan noise can be a sign that your fans may have issues, and you should take care of them.
While fan noise is disturbing and can distract you while performing sensitive jobs, it can also indicate underlying software problems.
However, it’s easy to find the culprit, and you can change the fans if nothing else works.
PC Fans Loud (Causes, Fixes)
1. Physical Issues
Fans are physical components that can be affected by conditions in the surrounding environment and other physical issues.
As a result, you should always make sure that no physical factors prevent the fans from working.
Several factors affect the performance of PC fans, which you should take care of one by one.
How To Fix
Dust and dirt buildup can significantly affect the performance of your CPU fans.
You should always maintain the PC to make sure the fans are fully functioning.
Here’s what to do:
Clean The PC Regularly
Like any other piece of equipment or furniture, your computer can collect dust over time, no matter how clean your desk is.
It can be harmful since the fans draw in dust from the air, and accumulated dust can work like an insulating layer that traps heat inside, making fans work harder to keep the computer cool.
Cleaning a PC fan is much easier than a laptop because you can easily unscrew the case screws to access the fans.
If you have a laptop PC, you need to have the technical skills to open the panel.
Cleaning the fans is easy by using canned air or a microfiber cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol.
Remember not to use a vacuum cleaner to clean the PC innards because it can lead to static charge and damage your PC components.
Remember to clean the filters and change them if they’re old and falling apart.
Your computer fans draw in air from outside, circulate it around the case to cool the motherboard down and send the hot air out.
Poor ventilation can have the same effect as dust buildup. It can raise temperatures and make the fans work harder and louder.
When there’s not enough air to go inside, the fans can’t work effectively, leading to higher temperatures and forcing the fans to work harder.
As a result, you should ensure your computer is in a well-ventilated area to allow proper airflow.
Avoid placing your computer case inside a desk cupboard or against a wall to avoid blocking airflow.
The fans should have enough clearance from the wall to ensure enough air circulation to cool down the PC.
However, you should also avoid placing your computer near a window because there’s too much airflow, bringing dust into the case.
In addition, placing your computer in front of a window will increase the chances of the PC getting exposed to the sun, making it significantly hotter.
Don’t put the PC case on anything made of fabric since this can obstruct airflow.
The PC case also has vents on the upper side of the case.
Never cover this side by putting small objects or covering them with fabric.
The same thing applies to laptops. Don’t place your laptop on your lap.
Since laptops are portable, you’re more likely to put them in places that aren’t suitable for their ventilation.
For example, you may occasionally put your laptop on the bedsheets or the carpet, which can lead to dust and lint buildup and affect the performance of the fans.
Putting the laptop on a cooling pad can promote airflow and prevent warm air from getting trapped inside the laptop.
It also takes the heat from inside the laptop and sends it away through its fans.
Finally, keeping the vents clean on laptops and desktop computers is essential to prevent dust from blocking airflow.
The small rubber feet under the laptop or the computer case are useful items that ensure the bottom surface isn’t in full contact with the desk.
Inspect these feet regularly and replace them if any of them have fallen off.
Ensure Fans Have Enough Room
Although it may seem unlikely, there may be some cases where fans don’t have enough room inside the case and rub against the side panel while spinning.
If you have a pre-built computer, this issue won’t arise.
However, suppose you’ve replaced your graphics card, and it has a larger form factor than the case can accommodate.
In that case, the fans don’t have enough space to spin, and they hit the side panels.
Removing the side panel is the immediate solution that comes to mind, but this can damage your PC more than it can benefit it.
That’s because leaving the case open will lead to huge amounts of dust and lint entering the PC, worsening your issue.
In addition, by removing the side panel, you’ll disrupt the computer’s internal mechanism and arrangement to keep the components cool.
You should look for other ways to prevent contact between the side panel and the fans to eliminate noise.
For example, you could place a foam layer between the two components to cushion the contact.
In addition, you should also inspect the fans and their surrounding area to make sure no loose wires or other objects are grinding against the fan blades.
Check The Fans
You should also make sure that the fans are working properly and don’t have any issues that lead to noise.
Like any other PC component, fans can also develop faults, especially because they have mechanical and moving parts.
However, you need to first make sure that the fan noise isn’t normal because some fans, especially smaller ones, are noisier as they need to run faster to cool down the system.
You could try lubricating the ball bearings that turn the fan blades because they lose their lubrication over time.
This lack of lubrication will create clicking noises.
The bearing itself can be dying, which isn’t fixable. You can only replace the fan.
One of the telltale signs of a bad bearing is that the fan is loud when you start the computer, and it gets quieter the more it works.
That’s because the bearing runs smoothly when it gets warm and only generates noise when it’s cold.
The noise in such cases sounds more like a rattling than a smooth fan rotation.
You may be able to use your fan with bearing problems for a short while, but it’s the first sign of fan failure.
Therefore, you should change your fan.
You should also worry if the noise has recently appeared, and it’s louder than normal.
Even if the fan is noisy by design, you should listen to the pattern and type of noise.
For example, it’s a disturbing sign if the noise doesn’t sound like a smooth propeller fan, screeching or clicking constantly.
Another sign that your fan isn’t working is that you can’t feel any air coming out of the vents, although you can hear the fan noise.
This shows that your fan is spinning but can’t effectively cool down the system.
It may be time to replace the fan.
However, you should think of replacing your fan only after everything has been tested and you’re sure that the fan is failing.
In addition, you should check whether replacing the fan will void your warranty.
If you decide to change the fan, look for a silent one that matches your system.
Replacing a desktop PC fan is much easier than a laptop because it doesn’t require you to take the back panel apart, and the fans can be attached to the motherboard using a simple plug.
You may have difficulty finding a fitting fan for your laptop because each laptop brand may have specific fan designs that fit their limited space.
Note. Before replacing the fans, you should make sure the noise isn’t coming from other hardware with moving parts, specifically hard drives.
If you hear clicking sounds, there’s a chance that the hard drive is failing.
Inspect the fans more carefully and look for other signs of hard drive failure to identify the issue.
Replace The CPU’s Thermal Paste
The CPU has a heatsink attached to it via thermal paste to transfer the heat to the case, which the fans are responsible for driving out.
However, if the CPU can’t send out the heat effectively, its core temperatures will increase.
The fan sensors will detect the heat and work harder to compensate.
Therefore, you should make sure the heatsink and the thermal paste are okay by removing the heatsink and reapplying the thermal paste.
Although reapplying thermal paste isn’t challenging, you need to be careful not to damage the CPU by applying too much pressure or using too much or too little thermal paste.
You may want to leave it to professionals if you don’t have the technical skills.
Add More Fans
Although the CPU is most responsible for producing heat, it’s not the only component that requires cooling.
For example, suppose you have added a dedicated graphics card to play games or edit videos.
In that case, you’ll need a more efficient cooling solution because high-end, dedicated graphics cards generate considerable amounts of heat.
Although these graphics cards typically have dedicated fans, you may need to add more efficient fans to your rig if you feel your PC needs more cooling.
The same thing applies to fast-performing RAM sticks.
In such cases, your fan has to work hard even if the PC is idle, so adding more fans will solve your issue.
2. Software Issues
Although fans are hardware components, software issues can affect their performance, just like any other component.
Certain programs increase CPU temperatures, so the fans need to work harder to cool down the PC.
As a result, you’ll hear fan noises get louder when you run CPU-intensive programs.
After checking for physical issues, you should make sure programs aren’t interfering with the fans’ operations.
How To Fix
If your fan is loud when you run heavy programs or play games, it’s normal because the CPU works harder.
However, if the fans work hard and loud even while the PC is idle, it could be a sign of software issues.
Here’s what to check:
Viruses and malware can reduce the performance of your PC in many ways.
They can affect your software and hardware by slowing down the entire system or damaging hardware.
If the virus uses your CPU resources, it will raise CPU temperatures and overwork the fans.
When the fans run faster to cool down the PC, you’ll hear an unusual and loud noise from the fans.
Protecting your PC against malware is critical, and you must have a robust and reliable antimalware tool installed on your computer.
Windows has a built-in anti-malware tool that effectively protects your system, but you can also install a more reliable tool to keep your computer protected.
End CPU-Intensive Apps
CPU fans running fast and loud can be normal in most cases because it’s their responsibility to keep the PC cool, especially when the CPU temps are high.
CPU-intensive programs can raise temperatures, which fans can manage.
However, some of these programs aren’t necessary, and you can end them without affecting performance.
These processes are corrupt and work up your CPU and fans.
You can detect these programs via the Task Manager.
Open the Task Manager by pressing Alt + Ctrl + Del and check the Process tab.
Watch the processes for a while and check the programs that seem to be eating up CPU resources.
If you’re not using these intensive programs, end them and see if it helps reduce fan noise.
You should also check the CPU and memory tabs to keep their usage in check.
If the percentage is at 100% for an extended period, it’s a surefire sign that there’s a background process hogging the resources.
It’s essential to identify that program and end it to make your system efficient.
If this issue started recently, after you installed a new program, that program is most likely the culprit.
Overclocking is another factor that can place heavy burdens on your CPU, making it run hot and forcing fans to run faster.
After all, you’re pushing your CPU to its limits and forcing it to work beyond the manufacturer-recommended specifications.
You’re making it run faster than it can handle.
As a result, you should expect your CPU to run hot, and other components, such as fans, to go to extremes to cool it down.
That’s why you’ll need a more robust cooling solution to avoid overheating, which can severely damage your CPU.
If you don’t have a powerful cooling solution, such as more case fans or water cooling, you’ll need to stop overclocking.
Update Drivers And BIOS Firmware
To avoid conflicts between hardware and software, you should ensure all your system’s hardware drivers and BIOS are updated to the latest versions.
If your drivers are outdated, the software may become incompatible with hardware, lowering performance and efficiency.
These incompatibility issues will affect different parts of the system, including the CPU, making it work harder and get hotter.
As a result, the fans need to rotate faster to keep this suboptimal system cool.
Having the latest drivers can help you run your system more efficiently and avoid issues that strain your fans.
The drivers that need to be updated include CPU, display adaptors, and the ACPI Thermal Zone drivers.
You can simply go to the Device Manager, right-click these drivers one by one, and select Update Driver.
If you want Windows to automatically download these updates, click “Search automatically for drivers” to install the drivers without searching for them online.
The BIOS firmware is another crucial factor that needs to be updated.
However, updating BIOS is different and could be more challenging.
Updating the BIOS firmware may be risky because it could brick your motherboard.
If you’re worried that you’ll damage your PC, you may want to leave it as a last resort.
On the other hand, having updated BIOS firmware will help keep your system up-to-date, fixing any bugs or issues addressed in the latest updates.
If you decide to update your BIOS, you need to know your current version of BIOS and download the latest version from the manufacturer.
Check out this video to see how you can update your BIOS firmware, depending on the manufacturer.
Try Other Fixes
if you’re sure none of the above issues are behind the loud fan noises and that your fans aren’t faulty, you could use other methods to control your fans.
For example, you can use specific software that adjusts the fan operations to the CPU temps.
That’s especially the case if your fan doesn’t make any rattling or screeching noises, and it’s just a loud, normal fan sound.
These programs come in handy when your fans don’t have any issues but run at high RPMs regardless of the system load.
This way, you can reduce fan noise by running them only when necessary.
One of the best programs compatible with most systems is SpeedFan, which has a ton of useful features to monitor the fans’ speed and voltage.
It’s also user-friendly and straightforward. It allows you to set speed limits for your fan, determining the maximum and minimum speeds you feel comfortable with.
Another interesting feature is setting temperature limits to get the fans to operate at the highest rates at those temps.