How Can I Control My Dell Laptop Fan?

By Jason Artman

Laptop fans sometimes have a nasty habit of doing exactly what we do not want them to do. A whining laptop fan can make meetings difficult. Other times, a laptop can be like a personal space heater while you sit and wonder why the fan refuses to kick in. If you have one of several Dell Inspiron, Latitude, Precision or XPS laptop computers, you have the ability to control your laptop's fan manually when its pre-programmed behavior is not to your liking. Control the fan in your Dell laptop using I8kfanGUI, a free utility.

Step 1

Download and install I8kfanGUI using the link in the "Resources" section of this article. Launch the utility after it is installed. When I8kfanGUI loads, the utility displays information about your computer's current status, but does not change anything. The bottom half of the window displays your current CPU temperature and fan speed. Additional information may be displayed depending upon the sensors available in your computer.

Step 2

Click a radio button in the upper-left corner of the screen under "Main operating mode" to select an overall fan policy for your system. Select "Manual fan control" to use a slider bar to adjust the fan's speed. Select "Automatic temperature control" to define a fan speed policy based on the temperature of the computer. Choose "Force fans to high speed" to run the fan at maximum speed.

Step 3

Select a check box for each fan in your computer under "Manual fan control" if you selected that option in the previous step. Some Dell laptop models have a single fan; others have two. After selecting a check box, move the slider bar then click the "Apply" button to change the fan speed to the one you have selected. Continue adjusting the speed in this manner until you are happy with it.

Step 4

Click the "Options" button if you selected "Automatic temperature control" in the previous step, then click the "Temperature Control" tab in the window that appears. This screen is used to define fan control policies for various types of situations.

Step 5

Click the drop-down menu next to "Select temperature policy" to choose the type of situation that you want to define a fan control policy for. The selections are "Normal," "Games," "Office" and "Meeting." If these names do not apply to you, click the "Rename Policies" button to change the names.

Step 6

Click the "CPU," "GPU," "Memory" and "Chipset" tabs in the middle of the window to define a fan policy for each of the different temperature sensors in your computer, then use the drop-down menus under "Temp Level" to adjust the temperature ranges. For each temperature range, select a fan speed: "Fast," "Slow," "Off" or "No Change."

Step 7

Click the "OK" button when you are happy with your changes, then click the "Close" button to minimize I8kfanGUI to your system tray.

Tips & Warnings

  • I8kfanGUI supports many Dell laptop models. A partially complete list of supported models is available on the website. The utility supports some Dell laptop models that are not listed, as well, but, it does not support every model in existence.
  • Take care when using I8kfanGUI to control the fan in your laptop. It is possible to use the utility to shut your computer's fan down completely, but that may cause the computer to overheat. Never shut your computer's fan down for extended periods, especially while performing processor-intensive tasks.