How to fix a laptop fan that’s not working

Your laptop fan is one of the most important supporting parts of your laptop’s internal components. Without it, the likelihood is that your laptop would overheat and the processor within your laptop wouldn’t be able to cope.

And whilst not all laptops rely on fans, many of them still do. So when your CPU fan stops working, it can be a little bit concerning. For those having trouble with their fan, here’s what you need to do to get your it working as it should be.

How to fix a laptop fan not working

So, I should start out by saying that not all laptops have fans. Not everyone is aware of this, but many modern laptops use smaller streamlined processors, which means that they don’t have the need for a fan.

For example, the new Macbook Air that comes with an M1 chip does not actually have a fan. In the past, the Air came with a standard Intel processor, which required a cooling fan to be used (although to be fair, Apple’s fans are some of the quietest out there).

Apple have put a lot of effort into designing this high power processor, so it makes sense that they wanted it to be completely silent. It’s on par with some of the top Intel i7 and i9 processors. That’s why it’s considered to be one of the best laptops out there at the moment.

Plus, it is also worth mentioning that just because you can’t hear your laptop fan, doesn’t mean that it’s not working. If your laptop is working as normal, then there may not be any issue for you to resolve. Just because you can’t hear your CPU fan, that doesn’t mean it’s not working.

If you have a 16GB laptop or more and a good processor, then it may just be that your laptop can cope with the tasks you’re giving it pretty easily. Typically 4GB and 8GB laptops tend to have lower spec processors, and could use a CPU fan.

But anyway; back to the topic at hand. Make sure your laptop has a cooling system first. Then, let’s run through some ways that you might be able to get your laptop fan working again.

Clean your CPU fan

The main reason why your laptop fan may not be working as it should is that there’s some dust or debris stopping it from working properly. The longer you own your laptop, the more likely this is to be the case.

The good news is that it can be quite easy for you to clean your CPU fan if you have a certain model. And when you do, it should get it working properly without it making too much noise either.

However, for some laptops it’ll be quite difficult for you to clean the fan. Many brands, like Apple, have moved to making laptops that can’t be taken apart easily. In this case, it’s really difficult for you to clean it thoroughly.

The best way for you to clean your laptop fan is to remove the back of your laptop and find the cooling fan. It should be pretty easy for you to find, as it’s a small circle fan shape.

It’s also best practice for you to remove the battery from your laptop when you’re doing this as well. You will need to move the fan from its position to clean it, but you’ll have to be careful, as it can cause issues with your laptop.

You’ll likely need a micro-screwdriver to remove the fan. When you’ve done this, you should be able to see a whole lot of dust blocking up the vents that let air flow out of your fan.

If you remove this, then you’ll allow your laptop’s cooling fan to work properly.


Some laptops have a different design where you won’t be able to move the fan like this. If this is the case, then you should clean the fan with a cloth, or you can use a can of compressed air to do this too.

Let your laptop cool down

There’s a reason why cooling pads are popular amongst gamers. They can help you to maintain a solid cooling system without having to worry too much about relying on your CPU fan.

The likelihood is that if you’ve noticed that your laptop fan has stopped working, it may have been working overtime just previously too this. If you’re using a lot of processing power, then this can cause your fan to go into overdrive.

When you use more computing power, your laptop needs to work even harder to keep your laptop cool. This can result in overheating, in which case, your laptop will shutdown to make sure that you don’t do any permanent damage to its internal components.

If this is the case, then you’ll just want to give your laptop a bit of a break before turning it back on. When you do, just open one or two programs at first and see how it reacts. With time, your laptop should cool down and be fully usable again.

Restart your laptop

The thing is that your laptop’s fans are just part of the hardware that makes up your laptop. And essentially, this is all controlled by the BIOS and software on your laptop itself.

If you’ve checked for a physical presence (e.g. dust and debris) stopping your laptop working and found nothing, then you could reset your laptop. Doing this will completely reset your device’s RAM, which should definitely help.

Because your RAM is volatile, when you turn it off your laptop completely gets rid of all of that data. This means that if it’s been struggling before, a reset should be able to fix this issue.


There can be many different reasons why your fan starts working too hard. It could be that you’ve opened too many programs for your laptop to cope with. And in some cases, it could be malware that has opened a ton of different programs on your laptop simultaneously.

However, for your fan to actually stop working, it is more likely that that this is a dust or debris problem. Unless your laptop has overheated, in which case, this could also result in your fan shutting down too.

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About Alex

Hello, I'm Alex and this is my website, Spacehop. I started the site as a way to talk about myself, and a few years later we're now a team of 6! I still work full time at a major PC retailer in the UK, and I'm a bit of a tech whizz (self-proclaimed, unfortunately!).

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