You’re probably reading this article because your CPU Fan Making Rattling Noise. Not only is the irritating jet engine sound of your PC bothering you, but you must also be worried something’s wrong with it. And you are right to be concerned, but that’s where the following lines on troubleshooting tips will help you solve this problem.
Why Is My CPU Fan Making Rattling Noise?
Grime, dust, or any other contaminant that floats in the surrounding environment of your laptop or PC can negatively impact its performance. However, there could be other underlying issues behind your computer fan’s loud, rattling noise, which you can learn about below.
CPU Fan Making Rattling Noise ( 5 Troubleshooting Tips )
As mentioned earlier, loud noise made by your CPU is not to be taken lightly, and the following troubleshooting guidelines will help you find the right solution to this annoying issue:
1. Software Running In The Background
Just because the problem is external, it doesn’t mean the underlying reason is also external, so don’t jump to the conclusion that you should open up the computer right away. Start with internal inspection- find out what specific software is running on the machine.
You will also need to look for its resources, and whether the noise is a result of the software running in the background.
For this, you can try to follow these steps:
On your Windows PC/laptop Press on the Ctrl, the Shift, and the Esc keys all at once (Ctrl+Shift+Esc)
The Task Manager window will pop up, on which you will click on More Details
On your Mac laptop/PC, press on the Ctrl and the Space bar together
Next, look for Activity Monitor
In case the machine is not working on anything intensive at the time of this search, the Task Manager should display that the CPU usage is low (20 percent or less).
But if the CPU is displayed to be at full usage of 100 percent even when your machine is idle, then you should go through the list of programs running on the ‘Task Manager‘ to find out which one of them is draining out the CPU the most.
It is also possible that an unknown malware is causing your PC to use up its resources without you knowing about it.
If you notice that a specific process appears to cause immense CPU usage, which will almost always result in maximized fan activity, you will need to repair that process/program.
What you can do at best is write down the program name and look online for that specific program and its related CPU usage. To give you an example, if there is a chrome.exe program, then type chrome.exe high CPU usage and you will know that Chrome is responsible for the increased CPU usage.
Alternatively, if you notice that the noise starts every time you engage in some intensive activity on the computer, such as large file conversion (video) or gaming, then you will need to focus on the hardware for a solution.
An easy way to stop the noise, in this case, would be to update the video card’s drivers, largely if it is the GPU fan that appears to cause the noise. Although, the solution cannot be termed as fixing the speed of the GPU fan, however, it does help in slowing down the fan and can be performed easily without any assistance.
2. Increased Temperature Of The CPU
Another internal inspection that you might want to try is checking whether there is an increase in the temperature of the CPU. Overheating of the CPU can lead to it producing a rattling noise. This is because the fans start overworking in order to maintain the desired temperature, and they get exhausted in the process.
The noise gets weirder as the exhaustion of the fans increases. Try monitoring the temperature of the CPU to look for the cause of such a trigger. For this, you will either need to check the BIOS or take the help of any third-party application.
To check the CPU temperature in BIOS, you will need to:
- Go to the Start menu, then click on the gear-shaped icon (left side) to go into system settings
- Next, opt for Update & Security, where you will click on Recovery at the left side pane
- Now, click on Restart Now, which lies under the section named Advanced Setup
- You will be taken to a window in blue color, where you will be prompted to select an Option
- Click on Troubleshoot, then Advanced Options, after which you will click on UEFI Firmware Settings
- Now, click on the Restart button, which will take you to BIOS menu once the machine has rebooted
- On this BIOS menu, look for H/W Monitor (or hardware monitor), or Status, or PC Health, based on what model you own
The temperatures are displayed either in Celsius or Fahrenheit and generally, the CPU temperatures should range between 30-40 degrees in idle mode and can reach as much as 80 degrees at the time of use.
If the temperature is more than that, it implies that there is overheating of the machine.
To check the CPU temperature using any third-party application:
You can find many tools for temperature monitoring online that will help you learn more about the GPU and CPU temperatures on your machine
These apps come with a simplified interface, giving them an upper hand over the BIOS
They also give you a warning in case they detect higher temperature, sparing you the trouble of finding out the temperature time and again
3. Obstruction In The Air Vents Or Fans
If after checking the internal aspects of the machine, you still cannot find the source of the noise, then there could be a possible external reason for this. One such reason is the blockage of ventilation.
Find out if the grills for ventilation are obstructed by anything like paper or fabrics, etc. Get rid of them immediately. Also, if the power of the machine is positioned somewhere confined, like a cabinet under the desk, then take it out for some hours and see if this noise disappears.
It is crucial to note that if there is any obstruction in your machine’s airflow then its internal components heat up. Consequently, the fans are pressurized to bring down the temperature of the box, causing them to make a loud noise. This is also the case with a laptop.
The best solution is to look for a more convenient place to position the computer. Try placing it on a stable, flat surface so that airflow doesn’t get interrupted in any way. Never keep the machine inside any closed space, and if it’s already there then move it to a freer space for the air to flow without any blockage through the fans.
Find out if the ventilation grills are obstructed by any object, which could include paper pieces or even fabrics among others.
In case the power has been kept in any closed area like a cabinet under the desk, then get it out of there and on to more free space, and then observe whether the sound goes away after some time.
In the case of a laptop, you can place the machine on top of some books, or consider investing in a cooling pad, which offers elevation for proper airflow and also sucks out the heat that comes from the hardware, replacing it with cool air.
4. Cleaning The Dust/Grime From The Fans
A good reason that your CPU fan is making loud rattling noise could be the accumulation of dust/dirt on the machine’s fans. Here’s how you can DIY to clean up the fans:
You will approximately need 30 minutes or more to properly clean the machine’s fans, lesser if it’s a laptop. Also, you will need to clean not only the CPU fan but also other components like the graphic cards, chips on the motherboard, or even RAM modules.
Try using canned air as it ensures maximum cleaning without causing any disturbance or damage to the machine. Never keep the computer on while cleaning, and try to get the cleaning process done outdoors.
For Laptop- In the case of a laptop, you may not come across a fan for any component including the CPU. If you are confused about removing the right panel for CPU fan access, look for the manual of your particular model online.
For Personal Computer- There will be no problem for you in locating the GPU fan (fan for a graphics card) or CPU fan. In case you are doing it for the first time, you can search online for how to open a desktop computer case.
Next, clean thoroughly the fan for power supply and other case fans, and use canned air if you can for this purpose. Use microfiber cloth if you don’t have access to canned air.
For Laptop- It is most likely that the machine includes a single fan that is blowing in an outward direction. Ensure that the dust is not blown back directly into the machine as it could intensify the issue of fan noise in the future. You should rather consider blowing the air at a particular angle at that single fan, to blow the dust as far away as possible from the grates of the fan.
For Personal Computer- With a fan for power supply as well as other possible outflow and inflow fans, carefully blow out the fans from both outside and inside till such time you observe that there aren’t any dust flying out from these fans.
To be safe, you shouldn’t try opening up the power supply for replacing the fan (only), instead, get the whole power supply replaced. It may look like a costly affair, but you shouldn’t put anything at risk.
Once you have the fan cleaned, you should check if it is moving. In case it doesn’t, get it replaced. However, first, check whether the fan is connected to its power source (generally the motherboard). Eventually, if you see that the problem is not yet solved after the clean, move on to other ideas that are mentioned in this article.
5. Replacing A Fan That Is Defective
If even after you’ve tried the above-mentioned ideas, the noise is still persistent, you will need to accept the fact that the fan is either damaged or dying. Consider purchasing a replacement and hiring a professional to do the replacement.
Alternatively, you can try to DIY in case you are confident enough. For this you will need to:
- First, slide the machine’s side panel out to get access to the internal components of the unit
- Find out where the fan is located (it is usually secured to a case shell); next trace out the source of its wiring (generally the motherboard)
- Now have the wire disconnected
- Using a screwdriver unscrew your fan, which can be done either from inside or the tower’s back, based on your machine’s model
- Once the fan is loose after the unscrewing, you will need to hold it tightly
- Securely place your new replacement fan in its place, and then re-screw followed by reconnecting the wires, going backwards the same way that you came to disassemble your old fan
A point to note here would be not to perform this task yourself in case the machine is still covered under warranty. Just send the machine to the makers to get it repaired free of cost.
Another noteworthy point is that there are times when the fan is not broken but instead cannot function properly to cool the system. You should consider in such a case placing an additional cooling system rather than having the original one replaced.
The above-mentioned instruction for fan change is only applicable to a CPU fan. In case any other fan requires replacement, you will need the help of skilled technicians.
Ways to find out if the fan is defective- Don’t assume that the machine’s CPU fan is defective and work on replacing it right away. There are other fans on the computer that could easily be the culprit.
- To make sure it is the fan belonging to the CPU that is damaged, turn the device off
- Next, using a flashlight examine if the fans show any form of physical damage on them like blade removal or indentation
- Additionally, try to move these blades using your hands to find out if they can twist without any difficulty
Another way to see if the fan (CPU) is working is by inserting a narrow, long but soft object such as a tube made from cardboard, between the fan’s blades when they are moving to find out if this noise continues.
Repeat this process for the rest of the fans so that you can locate the one at fault.
Avoid using a pencil to inspect as it can lead to the blades breaking apart. Also, don’t place the object in a counter-rotating direction or at a right-angle to the fan, but place the object in the spinning direction to detect if it is defective.
FAQs On CPU Fan Rattling
Here are some commonly asked questions on the rattling sound made by CPU fan:
1. Is computer fan rattling bad news?
Yes, it is not good that your computer fan makes any rattling noise, but so is a fan that produces grinding or scratching noise. And if this noise gets louder with time, then you should look into the matter.
But if this noise comes only when you are editing a video, playing online games, or performing tasks that drain out the CPU, then you will simply have to look for a solution for lowering the temperature of the CPU.
2. What kind of a sound does a defective computer fan make?
The sound of a defective fan is similar to the sound that a bike’s wheel makes at the time of spinning while a pencil is inserted between the spokes of the wheel.
The sound is quick and loud and continues in irregular bursts of a ticking sound on repeat. In case what you hear is the loud roaring of a car-engine turbine, it is most likely that the fan is working at full speed (maximum rpm) for lowering the excessive heat. It is because any fan circulates air, and we all know that air is responsible for producing sound waves.
Any groaning noise from the machine’s fan possibly indicates particles like hair clump being stuck in between blades, and not necessarily a damaged fan.
3. Should I consider it okay to hear the sound of my computer’s fan?
Yes, it is completely okay if you can hear the sound of the fan. But if the sound is the extremely loud repetition of clicking, groaning, or thrumming noises, then there’s something wrong with it.
Generally, fan clunks, hums, and whirs are considered to be normal. However, if these sounds bother you then you can either lower the speed at which they function, or have them replaced with more powerful and larger gear. You may also notice a difference by placing an additional cooling system on your machine.
4. What are the ways to fix the noise that my computer’s fan makes?
Follow these easy steps to get rid of the noise that your machine’s fan is making:
- First, change the location of your PC to a stable and even surface where its vents can breathe easily
- Clean up the blades and vents and all other associated parts thoroughly
- Force stop any app that is continuously draining the CPU
- Get rid of spyware, viruses and worms
- Consider installing an additional cooling system
Hopefully, you know by now the major causes for CPU Fan Making Rattling Noise, and how to fix them. However, it is also important to ensure that your machine undergoes proper maintenance time and again.
Overworked or loud fans can negatively affect your PC’s overall performance. Not only loud fan noises, but noises from other components like the hard drive can also keep your machine from performing at its maximum potential. Regular maintenance can help prevent such dysfunctions from taking place.