It is often the case with most computer users that their CPU fan starts to trip and behave erratically. This annoyance may result from a variety of reasons. The most obvious reason is the computer maintenance that is usually overlooked by many of us like keeping a dust-free system, appropriate CPU cooling, or running disk maintenance utility randomly.
The parts of your computer system are not immune to damages. As a consequence, they suffer from periodic failures. The computer fan is designed to keep the integral parts of your computer system from overheating. In the event of CPU fan failure, the components may overheat leading to damage. If the internal drive of the system heats up, you will be at the peril of permanent data loss.
A CPU fan failure is followed by various weird things that would alert you that something with the system has gone awry. You will experience the following when the fan inside your computer case becomes faulty:
Your CPU fan serves the purpose of cooling the machine by spinning quietly in the background. The fan usually becomes noisier during a system shutdown or startup. When the fan starts emitting a rattling sound, there is a good chance that the fan is about to fail. This typically happens because of the dust that accumulates on the fan over time.
When the fan fails to serve the purpose of cooling computer components, these components overheat leading to a noticeable performance decline. A computer with overheated parts tends to freeze and lock up randomly. Overheating of hard drive is the most deadly sign of a fan failure. If you happen to run into this problem, then ‘Blue Screen of Death’ messages show up intermittently.
Error Messages Indicating Fan Failure
If your system has the ability to detect a failing fan, you are very likely to receive error messages specific to fan failure, such as ‘CPU 1 fan failure’ and ‘Power supply fan failure’. These errors are indicative of a malfunctioning fan. In such situations, your computer is immediately shut down to prevent any kind of damage.
Fixing a Malfunctioning Fan
There is a definite course of action you can follow to troubleshoot your malfunctioning computer fan. You should follow these actions immediately after experiencing the signs of a failure.
- If your system emits a weird noise, you need to have a closer look at your system. There are other components that could emit the same noise if they malfunctioned (such as hard drive and DVD-ROM drive). You need to carefully examine whether the fan is rotating and other components are working fine. Try to identify the real culprit behind the issue.
- It is generally a good practice to clean the fan periodically. The underlying cause of a fan failure is often the dust that accumulates on the fan blades over time. This happens due to more stress on the fan when it pushes air through.
- You may consider lubricating the fan with a lightweight mechanical oil. This would remove the dust and make it suitable for long-term use.
- You can take out the fan from your computer and unscrew it to get hold of the tiny metal balls called bushings and bearings. You can clean them up, remove the old grease, and apply some lubricant to allow them function smoothly. This will reduce the effort required by the motor to spin the fan. Put the fan back in place to see if that remedies the problem.
- If all the above workarounds fail, you need to replace the fan with a working one. If the motor is damaged, you will undoubtedly require a replacement.
The best part is you can prevent the problem from occurring in the first place by following a few recommendations as listed below:
- If you have a laptop, it is advised to always connect a power cord during use.
- If you are not running memory-intensive applications on your laptop, you can use it anywhere (even on your lap). In case you are performing games or performing video editing, it is advised to place it on a well-aerated surface.
- If you live near an industrial area, it is wise to blow air regularly near the vents to keep dust off your computer.
CPU Fan Failure and Data Loss
It is no surprise that an instance of fan failure would lead to data loss. A malfunctioning fan would impact your system performance and overheats the hard drive. Since hard drive is the place where you keep all of your files, programs, and other data, any damage caused to the drive would render it completely inaccessible and lead to permanent data loss. In other cases, the hard drive may suffer from logical damage which can be dealt with by using a recovery software. If such a problem subsides, you can run a professional recovery tool against your hard drive to recover all important data before the drive finally becomes inaccessible.