If you are wondering how to check whether your laptop fan is working or not, then it's probably already a sign that you suspect there may be an issue.
But other than just going with your gut, there are some telltale signs to watch out for, to help you identify whether or not your laptop fan is doing its job, or if it needs servicing. And if you do see that your laptop is overheating, check out our guide for advice on what to do about it.
How To Check Whether Laptop Fan Is Working
Checking whether or not your laptop fan is functioning is very straightforward, and a bit like the Green Cross Code, just without the traffic.
Follow the steps we've outlined below, and you'll soon know if there is something that needs attention. If you do suspect there is a problem with your fan, it's important to get it fixed as soon as possible. An overheating laptop is at risk of damaging internal components, hardware may fail altogether, and you might lose any important documents you have stored on it.
If you do spot that your laptop fan is in need of a clean, then we'd recommend you have the relevant tools: a camera lens cleaning kit will contain many of the essentials - such as compressed air blower, isopropyl alcohol, and microfibre cloth. Alternatively, an electric duster can be a great tool.
Listen For Noise
One of the most obvious ways to check the fan is to listen for noise. Anyone who uses a laptop will be familiar with the soft whirring sound that indicates the fan is in use.
With most laptops, you'll be able to tell pretty quickly whether the fan sounds right or not. If it's particularly loud, screeching or making other strange sounds, you'll want to get that checked out.
Some laptop fans, especially those that have particularly good cooling systems, might be difficult for you to hear. In which case, move on to the next check you can make.
Feel For Airflow
If your fan is quiet, or you simply can't hear it (maybe you are in a loud office) then another simple check is to see if there is any discernible airflow.
Again, as with listening, your fan should be up and running after a few minutes of the computer being switched on. At this point, you can either use your hand, or a small piece of paper, and hold it half an inch to an inch away from one of the fan exhaust vents. You should either be able to feel air blowing against your hand, or see the paper flapping in the wind.
If there's no airflow, that's a pretty good indication of a problem. Likewise, if you can hear the fan is working hard but can't feel much air, this could suggest a blockage or obstruction preventing the air from escaping.
Look Out For Errors
Hopefully, you'll have identified any potential fan problems before we reach this point. But errors can be another indicator that all is not well with your cooling system.
If you notice your computer running unusually slowly, even with light use, or if it suddenly switches off without warning, or the screen turns blue for no apparent reason, then you may have a fan problem.
Any of these errors could be caused by your computer getting too hot. And even if your fan seems to be working properly, the computer may still not be cooling itself down successfully. This could, for example, be an indicator that the thermal paste has lost its efficacy.
Monitor The Temperature
Another way you can check to see if your fan is doing its job is to monitor the temperature of your computer. There are numerous hardware monitoring programs that will enable you to do this, such as HWMonitor or CoreTemp.
As a guideline, a maximum CPU temperature of around 80C degrees would suggest that your laptop is being cooled effectively (although some laptops and processors this number is higher). So if you start seeing your temperature going above this, it's a possible indicator that trouble is brewing.