Generally speaking, modern laptops are faster and more reliable than ever before. Nevertheless, one thing that can cripple a laptop faster than just about anything else is heat. To control the heat, manufacturers install high-speed fans to cool the processor and motherboard. However, if the fan or cooling assembly becomes dirty or clogged, it sometimes cannot cool the laptop properly, which could cause overheating and lead to system failure or lockups.
1Power off the laptop and disconnect the AC power cord. Close the laptop screen and flip the notebook over so you can access the bottom of the machine. Unlock the battery pack and remove it from the laptop.
2Slide the anti-static strap over your wrist and clip the other end to a metal object. Touch the metal object to discharge any static electricity in your body.
3Locate the memory slot cover on the bottom of the laptop. The slot cover usually has a small icon of a memory module or a label. Use the Phillips screwdriver to remove the screws in the slot cover. Remove the slot cover and place it aside. Use small bowls or baggies to separate the screws you remove from your laptop, and then use masking tape and a pen or mark or label them.
4Press the clips on either side of the first memory module until the module pops up. Remove the module and set it aside, while being careful not to touch the metal pins on the bottom. Remove the secondary memory module in the same manner if the laptop has one.
5Remove the screws that secure the cooling fan slot cover on the bottom of the laptop. Remove the cooling fan cover and set it aside.
6Disconnect the pin-connector for the fan from the pin-block on the laptop motherboard. Use the screwdriver to remove the cooling fan retaining screws, then remove the fan assembly from the laptop. On some laptops, the cooling fan may use retaining clips instead of screws to secure the fan to the processor or motherboard.
7Blow out all of the dust from the laptop fan with a can of compressed air or brush it away with an old toothbrush or painters brush.
8Dip the lint-free cloth into some denatured alcohol, and then wipe away any dirt or grime from the cooling flan motor cover and blades. Use cotton swabs dipped in denatured alcohol to clean away dirt in crevices or areas you cannot reach with the cloth. Allow the fan to dry completely before continuing. The denatured alcohol should dry and evaporate within a few minutes. However, let the cooling fan sit for about half an hour before reinstalling it just to be sure.
9Place the cooling fan back into its slot and align the screw holes. Reinsert the retaining screws for the cooling fan and secure with the screwdriver. Replace the slot cover and secure it.
10Reinsert the memory modules in their slots and replace the slot cover. Insert the battery pack back into the laptop, flip the unit over and reconnect the AC power adapter
11Open the LCD screen and power on the laptop. Use the notebook as you normally would.
- If you find it hard to remember which screws or components go where, consider using a digital camera to take pictures of the laptop before and after each step of the dis-assembly. This will help you remember which screws to use and the order in which to replace components when reassembling the laptop.
- Never use water to clean the dirt and grime from the cooling fan. Water could damage the cooling fan motor or corrode the pins that connect to the motherboard.
- Always remove the memory modules in the laptop before removing the fan. Even if the process of removing the fan does not require that you remove the memory modules, you should do so to prevent potential damage to them.
- Many manufacturers will void your warranty if you disassemble the laptop - even if only to clean the fan. Before taking your laptop apart, read the warranty documentation carefully to determine if cleaning the fan will nullify your warranty. If your laptop's manufacturer warranty is still active, you should contact the company first, as they might be able to direct you to a nearby service center that can clean the fan in your notebook free or at a reduced rate.
- Never use a household vacuum cleaner to suck or blow dust out of your laptop. Home vacuums seldom have the proper filters to reduce or eliminate moisture and may cause damage to the internal components of your laptop. Handheld computer vacuums, though, are acceptable for cleaning the fan.
- Some laptops don’t have an access or slot cover on the bottom of the machine. With these types of laptops, you must disassemble the notebook completely to access the cooling assembly on the motherboard. If your laptop does not have an access cover for the cooling fan, you should consider taking the laptop to a shop to have it cleaned. If you want to attempt the dis-assembly and cleaning of the laptop fan yourself, however, visit the manufacturer website and download the service or repair manual for the notebook if available. The service manual should provide relatively easy-to-follow steps on how to take the notebook apart so that you can access the cooling fan. Nevertheless, do not attempt to disassemble the laptop if you are not comfortable working with small, sensitive components.
EditThings You'll Need
- Phillips screwdriver
- Anti-static wrist strap
- Compressed air or computer vacuum
- Denatured alcohol and cotton swabs
- Lint-free towel
- Digital camera (optional)
- Small bowls or plastic baggies