Fan problem?

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My Sony Vaio laptop is getting very hot and I hear a noise. I've herd about
problems with fans when system is getting old. Can you please advise whether
I can solve the problem myself, don't like to take it to where I've bought
it and it's not under warranty any longer.
Many thanks in advance.

Re: Fan problem?

There are 3 likely possibilities here:

1.  The fan and heatsink / heat exchanger (radiator) are clogged with
dirt / dust / hair

2.  The fan is failing (bad bearings, usually)

3.  Something else (the heat is normal, the noise is coming from the
hard drive, etc.)

Let's assume it's #1 or #2.

Either way, the laptop has to be disassembled enough to get good,
complete access to the heatsink and fan (in the case of #2, complete
enough access to the fan to change it).

That level of disassembly varies; on some laptops it's fairly trivial
(some even provide a panel explicitly for the purpose of cleaning the
CPU cooling system).  On others, it means TOTAL disassembly, splitting
the screen from the base (something else whose level of difficulty
varies from 1 to 10) and then disassembling the base down to the

What is you level of ability and do you have a service manual (VERY
important for someone doing this who really doesn't know exactly what
they are doing).

A few other comments:

On some laptops, you can do anywhere from a half-ass to a fairly good
job of cleaning the CPU cooling system by blowing air INTO the laptop
through various openings (and in particular INTO the exhaust vents) with
a can of compressed air.  If you are skittish about total disassembly
... it's worth a shot (or two ... of compressed air, that is).

Removing the keyboard, which may be fairly easy (usually is not too
difficult) may help a LOT, even if you don't go any further (often the
air under the keyboard is the air intake for the cooling system;
removing the keyboard may either allow adequate access for a complete
cleaning (or sometimes just a complete visual inspection) or it may
allow compressed air shot INTO to the exhaust to be really effective.

Sometimes you can examine the cooling system well enough with a good,
strong flashlight (think good LED flashlight) to see how dirty it is.

Sometimes a half-ass job of cleaning the cooling system, while
admittedly incomplete, helps enough to resolve the issues .... for a
while (they will return; but they will do that anyway.  Cleaning is not

If you can stop the fan blades (perhaps by sticking something
NON-METALIC into the fan blades), well, if the fan blades stop and the
noise continues .... or, if the fan blades stop and the noise stops ...
either way, you learn something about the cause of the noise.

The most common scenario here really is dust / dirt / hair clogging the
cooling system (possibly to the point where the fan is so obstructed
that the blades make noise or completely stop turning).  A COMPLETE
cleaning usually requires disassembly.  In your post you said "I ...
don't like to take it to where I've bought it"; the fact is that very
few computer technicians know how to service laptops, so, just on
general principles, your concern about taking it almost anywhere .... is
fully justified.

mariel2 wrote:
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