Laptop Fan Making Grinding Noise? How to Fix it?

Laptops are incredibly convenient, are easy to use, and comfortable. They let you do work with super speed, and you will not have to spend your time squinting at a tablet or confined in one place like a desktop. However, with this incredible power comes high prices, making it hard to buy a new laptop whenever one starts malfunctioning.

Laptops do a lot of work which can exhaust them, and you might hear them making some noise after a lot of frequent use. The noise comes from the fan, which tries to cool the laptop down when it overheats from much use. The noise can be annoying and worrying, and to ease your worry, we will look at why the laptop fan makes that noise and how you can remedy it by yourself.

What Causes the Weird Sounds From Your Laptop

Weird-Sounds-From-the-Laptop
Photo credit: pcworld 

Overworking the laptop is one of the things that can make it produce a weird grinding or buzzing noise. It is mainly caused by the CPU fan, which is the only mobile part of a laptop. Laptops only have one fan, unlike desktop computers, to conserve space, making it easier for us to identify the source of the noise.

Overworking your laptop can cause the CPU fan to work overtime, making that dreadful sound. The question remains, however, why does it make the sound?  Many factors might cause the fan to start grinding.

One might be the laptop’s position. If you place your laptop on an uneven surface, the fan can wobble and rub against the surrounding parts.

Another reason could be that your laptop fell at some point, and the fall might have permanently bent the fan, causing it to buzz or grind from time to time.

Other factors can cause the fan to act up, with one being that you overheat the laptop, making the fan compensate for it.

Overheating Issue

Several issues can make your laptop overheat. These can be environmental factors, for example, if you work in areas with higher temperatures. Laptops function well in temperatures that fall between 32 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. If the area you are in has temperatures higher than this, you might need to look for special equipment that can handle the heat.

Other than the temperature, the following additional factors can also cause overheating, making it hard for the fan to do its job and cool the processor:

  • Accumulation of dust. When dust accumulates around the fan’s blades, the friction caused by the dust particles and the fan can create that buzzing noise. Dust accumulates slowly over time and causes your laptop to overheat even faster.
  • Vent blockage. There might be a foreign object blocking the fan’s air vent. The object could be a wall or the surface you are using the laptop on. If vent blockage is the source of the overheating, you can easily remedy it by using a stand cooler or moving your computer to a more open location.
  • Virus or malware. Your laptop is only meant to deal with a few things at a time. If it deals with more processes than it was meant to, the fan will start overworking, spinning even faster to compensate. Dealing with a virus or malware can cause the laptop to deal with extra processes leading to overheating.
  • Age. As with all machines, laptops can also get tired and become noisier with age. Using an out-of-date computer to run current programs will overwork it, causing it to overheat. The best resolution to this problem is to buy a new laptop.

How to Fix a Laptop Fan

Fix-a-Laptop-Fan
Photo credit: phone4arena 

Now, let us look at some of the ways you can deal with a faulty laptop fan. These methods apply to most of the fan problems, and even if your problem is as simple as dust, it is crucial that you check these out just in case.

Uninstall Malware

More than anything, your laptop needs to perform optimally, and anything but optimal performance can be a sign of problems. The best way to ensure that your computer is in its best shape is by checking for and uninstalling malware.

You might notice that your laptop is performing slower than usual, or it lags; these can be signs of malware or virus infecting your computer. Any changes in the performance can signify that it is running more processes than it should and running programs you cannot see.

It is essential to have an antivirus on your laptop or use the good old Windows Defender to notify you if you download any viruses. All laptops have built-in anti-viruses and malware defense mechanisms that can do the job. However, to get the best results, search for the best antivirus programs with more proactive features. These are programs that can notify you whenever you download something with a virus.

Most programs have a cleaning function. These will show you a notification of the possible viruses in your laptop and help you get rid of them. They also regularly scan your computer to see if everything is working as it should and update their virus database.

Reduce the Number of Processes

Apart from malware, another reason that can over-expand your laptop’s resources can be running multiple processes at a go. There are only so many processes that a laptop can run simultaneously, and using more than the required amount makes the processor expend much more effort in keeping the laptop working.

You need to ensure that your laptop does not exceed its required processes for it to work. You can check on this by looking at the Task Manager to see what processes are currently running. Click the Control+Alt+Delete buttons to get to the Task Manager.

If you are using a Mac computer, go to the Activity Monitor using the same buttons. There you will be able to see how many apps and background processes your laptop is currently running. The activity monitor will help isolate and eliminate all the unwanted processes. It does this by checking system information to see what is using the laptop battery.

Whether you are using a Windows or Mac laptop, checking your laptop’s performance from time to time can help you determine which program uses most of the laptop’s processing power. That can be anything from running multiple browser window tabs or running multiple apps or programs at once. Close all the unwanted processes and let your laptop rest to reduce the fan noise.

Add a Cooling Software

Most laptops allow for cooling software to help deal with the overheating problem. The software can gain access to the laptop’s information and help you control the heating problem. You will need to closely monitor the temperature to see whenever it rises above the optimum.

Some software can keep track of the temperature components, helping you to keep everything in check. Others can adjust the fan speeds too, and they can be beneficial when you want to see if the cooler is doing the job correctly.

There are other operating systems that can have similar features built into the codes. There is a cooling system policy in Windows that you can access in the Control Panel. To access the feature, click on Change plan settings, then click on the Advanced power settings window that will show up in the Power Options menu.

Get a Regular Stand or a Cooling Pad

Regular-Stand-or-a-Cooling-Pad

Another problem that can cause your laptop to start overheating could be the position you are using it in. A bad position can block the air vent, making it impossible for the hot air to release into the environment, which can cause the fan to spin even faster to accommodate the hot air, making even louder noises.

To ensure your vents are working correctly and no blockage occurs, you will have to clear all obstacles around them for better air circulation. Different laptop models have different vent locations. If, for instance, your laptop vents are situated to the sides or the back, do not put them near walls. However, if your vents are located on the bottom of the laptop, you will need a laptop stand.

Laptop stands create ample space between the laptop bottom and the ground, allowing air to flow freely underneath it.

Further Reading: The Best Quiet Desk Fan for Working

Some of The Best Laptop Stands You Can Get Are:

SOUNDANCE Aluminum Laptop Stand for Desk


This laptop stand is compatible with all laptops, including Apple Macbooks, Chromebook, HP, Lenovo ThinkPad, and many others. Thanks to its thickened aluminum alloy construction, it has a sturdy build, so you do not have to worry about your laptop falling over or the stand wobbling. It also has a rubber holder hand and rubber feet that help it stick to the stand and prevent it from slipping.

The stand is also detachable, so you can move around with it and use it anywhere. It elevates laptops by 6 inches, giving you a smooth viewing experience. It also has an open-back design which allows for more airflow, preventing the laptop from overheating.

You can also get a cooling pad to place your laptop on. Much like the stand, cooling pads will elevate your laptop from the surface. Their advantage is that they have multiple inbuilt fans that help keep your laptop cool. Multiple cooling pads are covered in LED, and they have inbuilt USB hubs and multiple wind sensors that can cool the laptop whenever it starts overheating. Some allow you to adjust the angle for a better viewing experience. If you are a gamer who spends a lot of time on your laptop, then a cooling pad is the perfect option for you.

SimpleHouseware Mesh Ventilated Laptop Stand


You can use this laptop holder for more than just your laptop; it works well with notebooks, iPads, and textbooks as well. The stand is great for reducing eye and neck strain. It has a sturdy metal construction that ensures its longevity and has a classic black coating that makes it aesthetically pleasing.

You can adjust the stand to whatever level you feel comfortable with. It has 11 adjustable height levels, and you can change it anywhere from 12 to 35 degrees.

Some good examples of cooling pads are:

havit Cooling Pad


It is a portable and lightweight pad that you can take around with you wherever you go. It has two adjustable height settings and a metal mesh for stable carrying. The stand has three ultra-quiet fans that cool your laptop without creating any noise, letting you work in a noise-free environment.

Kootek Laptop Cooling Pad


This cooling pad is one of the best you can get for your laptop. It has five built-in fans with two on/off switches that control the fans and the LEDs. It fits any 12 to 17-inch laptop and has a dual USB hub that allows you to connect more USB devices. The pad has six adjustable height settings that you can adjust according to your needs. It does not require an external power supply or software installation for it to work – you plug it into your laptop, and you are good to go.

Clean the Laptop Fan

Dust accumulation can also be another cause of the grinding noise your laptop makes. It can be caused by using your laptop in dusty areas or keeping it on spongy surfaces that absorb dust and can transfer it to your laptop.

To deal with this problem, clean the dust out of the fan. You can do it at least twice annually for proper maintenance. Blow out the laptop to remove dust and keep it functioning properly.  The best product to use to blow off the dust is the MAX Professional Blow Off Duster.  It does an incredible job of removing dust from your electronics by getting into all the crevices, leaving your laptop clean and ready for a smooth, clean, and noiseless operation.

Unplug it from any power sources before you start cleaning it. Before doing so, save your files, then turn the PC off, unplug it from its source and remove the battery. Try to see if you can remove the dust without having to open the case. If you can, use cotton swabs to clean the vent grid and some compressed air to blow the dust from the internal fan. This combination is most likely going to remove all the dust from your fan. Switch the laptop on to see if the noise is still there.

If the noise is gone, then you can proceed with using your laptop as you would normally. However, if it is still there, you might need to do a deeper clean by opening the case and cleaning it internally.

Check your manual to see if there are guides on how you can clean the inside. If you can’t find any instructions, look up your laptop’s make and model and look for articles and videos on how to clean it.

Use a professional screw kit when detaching the fan to make sure you do not damage it.

Replace the Fan

This should be your final resort after you have tried everything out and none of the procedures work. If the laptop is still making noise even after deep cleaning it, there is a chance it is irreparably damaged, and the best option would be to replace it with a new laptop fan.

You will need to know the make, model, and product code to get the correct replacement fan. You can try fixing the new fan yourself or take it to a professional for help. Complicated procedures with electronics are best done by professionals as they are less likely to destroy them.

Fixing a Noisy Laptop Fan vs. Getting a New One

In the end, it all boils down to whether you would rather try to fix your laptop fan or get a new one. If your laptop is an old, outdated model, the best move would be not just to get a new fan but get a new laptop altogether. That is because an outdated laptop will have frequent breakdowns, which can be hard and expensive to repair all the time compared to just getting a new model.

However, if your laptop is still significantly new and has a strange noise, you can apply any of the above fixes. These fixes can help with routine fan problems, and they are not expensive. If, on the other hand, you have tried all the fixes and none of them worked, it might be time for you to get a new one.

Getting a better model can mean that the laptop will not make the grinding noise anymore. Granted, this might not be a cure-all method and can still cause some problems, especially if the laptop itself has problems and not the fan.

Following these instructions can help you avoid buying a new laptop fan and save some money. Whether you use laptop fixes or get a new fan, you will still have to pay close attention to your laptop. Ensure you follow the proper maintenance requirements and regularly check it for dust accumulation. Taking good care of your laptop ensures it will stay quiet for a long time, saving you time, money, and worry. Take care of it, and it will reward you.

Further Reading: Best Fans for White Noise – 2022

Last update on 2022-03-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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