The CPU fan prevents your PC from overheating. However, your system will display ‘CPU Fan Error‘ when the fan stops functioning or doesn’t work correctly.
Your PC could show the message for several reasons, including faulty pin switches, overheating due to lack of coolant or thermal paste, clogged air vents, fan burnouts, and faults in the BIOS and power supply.
You can go through this guide and learn about the ‘CPU Fan Error’ and the common causes and solutions. So, to begin with, let’s explore what the ‘CPU Fan Error‘ message means.
What is ‘CPU Fan Error?’
At times, you might have seen the message ‘CPU Fan Error‘ as soon as you boot your system up. You might have also seen messages like ‘CPU Fan Has Failed‘ or ‘CPU Fan NA.’
These are common messages that your PC displays when the CPU fan is damaged or the settings related to it are incorrect or even due to overheating.
Other things that might cause this problem include your device not getting sufficient airflow due to obstructions in the vents.
Common CPU Fan Errors and What They Mean?
When your CPU fan encounters errors, any or all these things are likely to happen.
Your PC Shuts Down Intermittently
When you have a broken CPU fan or errors in the settings, your PC shuts down automatically each time you try to boot it up after beeping about two or three times. Each time your PC boots, it triggers errors in the CPU fan after the BIOS and operating system load.
At times, when your CPU overheats or is damaged, it emits a smoky smell that resembles a metal object burning.
What this means is that your CPU fan is broken or damaged or is out of coolant. It could also mean that your PC or CPU is operating at high temperatures of more than 300-degree Celsius. Note that these problems are more common in older CPUs or PCs than newer ones.
Damage to the Motherboard
CPU fan errors mostly tend to occur in old motherboards that you may have been using for years together. However, today’s motherboards come with the required hardware that protects them from overheating.
Your PC isn’t Getting Enough Coolant
When building a new PC, there may be some areas where you may fall short, even if you are an expert.
For instance, you may forget to install the CPU fan. Although it may not be the case, there is still the slightest chance that it could happen. Or, you could have also forgotten to install the CPU fan pin.
Similarly, another area where you could default is the coolant or the cooling system.
While most CPUs today come with efficient fans that prevent PCs from overheating, you should still make sure that you apply thermal paste, or use other such cooling systems, as sometimes, the stock cooler that your PC comes with may not suffice to keep the CPU from overheating.
You Have Overclocked the PC
By overclocking your PC, you can achieve significant performance improvements.
The CPU shouldn’t overheat if the speed remains within certain limits. However, you could be facing several problems if you go overboard. There are many reasons why this happens, but the most common ones could be that you may be using a lower-end CPU cooler or power supply.
So, when you overclock it to a rate higher than your PC can handle, you may face problems of CPU overheating, which, in turn, can damage the CPU fan. However, if you must, use a liquid coolant as they are more efficient than a regular CPU fan.
You are Using an Incompatible CPU Fan
Most people tend to buy high-end CPUs without realizing that they may not have the right cooling system.
It’s especially the case with Mini-ATX motherboards where there isn’t enough space to install a large CPU fan or other cooling systems.
So, in this case, you might have to loosen one of the fan’s ends so that the RAM can fit into the motherboard.
Your CPU May Not Be Getting Enough Ventilation
You must make sure that you let in enough air into the cabinet so that the parts remain cool.
So, if you want your PC and all its components to function correctly in the long run, ensure that it gets proper ventilation.
Faulty CPU Fan and Header Pins
The most common reason for the ‘CPU Fan Error‘ message is a faulty CPU fan and header pins. They occur when your motherboard cannot supply enough power to the fan for it to run correctly.
The motherboard has two pins that supply power to the CPU fan.
Sometimes, these pins tend to develop carbon layers that obstruct the supply of power to the fans. They may even break, at times, due to the formation of such carbon layers.
Faulty Motherboard and SMPS
Most modern motherboards don’t usually fail as they contain nano circuitry.
However, it sometimes happens for various reasons, including humidity or water or thermal paste residue spills.
Although the chances are less, if the motherboard circuits fail, it could damage the CPU fan, and you will get the ‘CPU Fan Error‘ message.
The problem could also occur if you use an SMPS with a lower wattage as they may not supply enough power to the fan.
Incompatible BIOS Settings
While the BIOS ensures that all the components load correctly during startup, one of its primary functions is to supply them with power.
So, if you change a few BIOS settings, such as reducing the RPM, you could get the ‘CPU Fan Error‘ message.
How to Fix Common Issues with the CPU Fan?
Now that you know the common CPU fan errors, it is time to learn to fix them.
There are many ways to fix CPU fan errors, which you will find in the following sections.
Try Moving Your Computer
If you have kept your PC in a hot place or a room that attracts a lot of heat, you should move it to a cooler place.
Keeping the computer in a hot or humid environment can cause the parts to overheat. So, make sure that you keep your PC in a cool place.
While overclocking improves performance, your PC can generate lots of heat in the process.
So, if possible, try not to overclock your PC unnecessarily.
Keep the Air Vents Clean
You must make sure that you keep the air vents clean so that your PC gets enough air.
So, clean the air vents whenever you can to keep your PC and its parts from overheating.
Check the Components
When you get a ‘CPU Fan Error’ message, you should first check if all the components are in working condition.
You can do this by checking if the fan and motherboard connections are intact and if the cooling fan is spinning and working the way it should.
Another thing you could do is apply some thermal paste to reduce the CPU temperature and keep your PC cool.
Alternatively, you could also clean the fans using pressurized air.
Once you do all these, restart your PC.
However, if the error message still doesn’t disappear, you can change the CPU fan settings by accessing the BIOS utility.
Change the CPU Fan Settings in BIOS
You can follow these steps to change the CPU fan settings in the BIOS utility.
Restart your PC and enter the BIOS utility by pressing the ‘F2,’ ‘F12,’ or ‘Delete‘ buttons, depending on the model.
After doing this, select the ‘Power‘ tab, and highlight the ‘Hardware monitor’ option.
Next, choose the ‘CPU Fan Speed‘ option, and change it to a lower number.
Then, click on the ‘Chassis Fan Speed‘ option, and change it to ‘N/A.’
Lastly, change the ‘Power Fan Speed‘ and restart your PC.
Alternatively, you could also disable the CPU fan speed by following these steps.
Restart your PC and enter the BIOS utility by pressing the ‘F2,’ ‘F12,’ or ‘Delete‘ keys.
Access the ‘Advanced Settings’ menu and click on the ‘CPU Fan settings‘ option
Then, find and select ‘CPU Fan control settings.‘
From here, search for the ‘Control RPM warnings‘ option.
The default value should be 600 RPM. Change this value to 300 RPM and click on ‘Save.’
Exit the BIOS utility and restart your computer.
Clean the Fan and Other Components
If you are still getting a ‘CPU Fan Error’ message, even after going through all that trouble, it is time that you cleaned the CPU fans with a soft cloth dipped in a suitable cleaning agent, such as isopropyl alcohol.
Cleaning the CPU fans and other components should stop the overheating and resolve the ‘CPU Fan error.’
The ‘CPU Fan Error’ is one of the standard error messages you get when your PC overheats or the CPU fan cannot function due to damage. However, you can use any of the methods given above and see if it resolves the problem.
Most of these are tried-and-tested methods, and they should ideally solve the issue by making the ‘CPU Fan Error’ message go away.
Martha Davis is a computer hardware specialist who works extensively in designing and manufacturing hardware devices, researching advanced computer technology. She built GadgetGangster.com as a platform to share her insight on computers and PC assembly with the web. Currently, she is carrying out her research on Robotics and Computer Vision and working privately to deliver services. Martha makes sure that readers of GadgetGangster.com master the basics of setting up computer components like motherboard, CPUs, and GPUs through the informative articles that she writes.