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7 Steps to Reduce Your Laptop’s Fan Noise & Increase Speed

7 Steps to Reduce Your Laptop’s Fan Noise & Increase Speed

It can’t be helped: dust builds up in desktops and laptops. There is no getting around it, no matter how clean your area is. All those dust particles you see every now and then in the air get in through your vents and build up into a nasty web of dust.

All of which is why your fan runs fast and loud.

Here are some crucial, easy steps you can take (right now!) to silence your laptop’s fans, maximize your speed/performance, and ensure your laptop lasts for a few more years.

1. Check yo’ temp

Before we do anything involving taking apart your rig/system, even before going to town with a can of compressed air, It is essential that you download a program that monitors your heat levels.

Why?

There’s no way of knowing if your heat temperatures (unless your laptop’s bios mention it) have increased if you don’t know what those temperatures are in the first place.

A handy app that does just that is called RealTemp. It keeps track of your processors’ temps–no muss, no fuss. It monitors these temps in real time and lets you see these numbers in your tray. Record them and keep them close.

It is also important to know the system’s hardware and performance. On a PC, press CTRL+ALT+DEL, then click “task manager” and move to “performance tab” to see the resources (processor, ram, storage) your laptop is using. Are they touching the top bar, 100% usage? If so, your laptop needs some treatment and hardware/software upgrades.

Before moving ahead with upgrades (RAM, storage, etc), it is important to know your system’s hardware specifications.

  • Processor (CPU)?
  • Memory (RAM)? DDDR 2/3/4? RAM’s frequency?
  • Storage (HDD, SDD) is installed?

You can use a wonderful free app called CPU-Z, which will tell you all about your laptop’s hardware. A small yet precise app.

2. Defrag!

When was the last time you defragged your laptop? If you have Windows 8 and 8.1, it’s done for you automatically. If you don’t know what defragging does, it’s sort of a digital “cleanse through” of your entire system. Clearing away the cobwebs, so to speak.

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A lot of times the files you delete, switch around to new folders, and change the names of leave little traces of “original versions” behind. These bits and bobs of left-behind traces add up over time.

Understand it like this. You have a 250 GB storage and it’s filled up to 200 GB. These used spaces are not lined properly in rows and columns but are scattered throughout the hard disk, which takes a longer time to access the file. When defragged, these used spaces get in-line (in rows & columns) so the system can now quickly access it as they are placed at the proper place for the system to access. I have been defragging since Windows 98, XP & 7. Luckily, with Windows 10, I didn’t need to as it’s fast as the cheetah. That’s how fast it is.

Defragging your system once a month or so (if it isn’t set to automatic) removes these little traces and gives your system’s HDD/RAM a swift kick in the pants with a brand new “refresh.”

3. Take apart the rig

Now that we’ve determined temp levels & defragged the system, it’s time to crack open your rig. Depending on your brand, manufacturer, version it’s best to look online for directions on opening up your precious.

Overall, though, most people will be doing the same thing: screwing the back/bottom and removing the protective cover.

Once we’re inside, it’s time to take a can of compressed air and go to town. It’s best to burst a spray or two of air, rather than one long continuous stream of air, as it’s safer on your mechanical instruments (which can actually be ruined under long streams of air, which eventually liquidize and “melt” your components).

Now, this next part is important: Go to YouTube with your laptop’s make and model, and research “how to open ***laptop-model-no***”.

I cannot stress the importance of this because everyone’s models are important. I have an Acer Aspire 5745G laptop. The components and placement of hardware are drastically different from someone who has an Acer V7.

Everyone’s rigs are different. However, the dust bunnies and collections of gunk, dust, and what-not will generally be the same. No matter your setup, eliminate that pestering dust with a quick spray of your canned air. If you need to use a brush, do it but carefully.

4. Clean inside-out

Did you know that, according to a 2002 report, some toilets are cleaner than keyboards? I also heard one time that telephones were dirtier than toilets. Gross.

How much bacteria, grime, and dirt lurks on your fingertips each and every day? Just imagine all those dirty dust-mites and dead skin-cells smeared over your keyboard and mouse. How many microscopic bugs are we crushing on a daily basis as they scurry across our keyboard? A truly important question is this: how often do we put our fingers near our mouth? So. Keeping a clean keyboard is important for your health, right?

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Once the laptop base (top & bottom) is out, it is now wise to depart each part (tip: take pictures and/or videos, so you don’t forget which part was where) and clean it properly with a brush and coffee filter. Make your baby as new as when it was shipped.

This also has psychological benefits: having a cleaner “station” helps me feel more professional and in control of my choices. Is there a downside to feeling more professional? I don’t think so.

5. Apply thermal paste to CPU

For those who don’t know, thermal paste is ESSENTIAL towards maintaining and cooling the CPU. “Platinum” thermal pastes like Artic Silver 5 can keep your CPU processor a nice 0-20 degrees cooler.

Yes, 0-20 degrees does make a difference–especially when you’re gaming, rendering graphics, using software like Photoshop and AutoCAD. Without thermal paste, your CPU will overheat. It’s as simple as that.

And, when it gets overheated, the fan will become louder, performance will get slow and the computer will start to lag & hang.

I mentioned AS5 earlier for a good reason. Depending on who you ask, it’s the most efficient paste there is, and I agree. Amazon agrees with me (and we all know that Amazon doesn’t lie). At least, 5K reviews & 5 star ratings don’t.

If you want to see a step-by-step guide to applying thermal paste, check out this helpful video.

Here’s the before and after thermal paste snapshot (test is done via Prime95 small FFTs & RealTemp) for my 6-year-old Acer Aspire 5745G laptop having intel i5-430m processor.

Before (thermal paste change & cleaning)

heat_test_before

    After (thermal paste change & cleaning)

    heat_test_after
      • See the difference? That’s a noticeable 10 degrees’ decrease (lower is better) and distance to TJMax has increased (higher is better) a lot.
      • Hear the difference? Earlier it sounded like an old-truck-engine but now it’s smooth like the jaguar. Thankfully, I can now hear sound from my laptop’s audio. It feels as the fan noise has reduced to almost half, just like the old days.

      6. Add a SSD disk

      It’s a fact that SSDs have been “obliterating” HDDs for the past few years.

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      SSDs are better than HDDs. That’s fact. Most of the laptop can handle SSD installation unless it is more than a decade old. The only requirement, I believe, is the connectors on the motherboard should match with connectors of SSD.

      To see for yourself just which SSD has consistently outranked them, the Samsung 850 EVO (that’s the one I replaced HDD with on my Acer 5745G laptop) has been #1 for a number of years. Twelve thousand reviews can’t be wrong.

      I never thought that SSD would make such a huge difference in speed and fan noise. I cannot think of using HDD now, not even for servers and hosting. I have never been happier with this little change. And, I am also hoping for a tech-future where we can shift between laptop/computer like we do with smartphones, with all data in the cloud.

      7. Upgrade OS

      It may sound untrue to many but after upgrading from Windows 7 to a completely fresh installation of Windows 10 has done wonders for my Acer Aspire 5745G. The start, hibernate, shutdown, opening/closing of files/documents have become insanely fast now.

      This could be because I upgraded Aspire 5745G’s RAM from 4GB to 8GB, replaced HDD with SDD, changed thermal paste of processor and graphic card, cleaned laptop inside-out. But, undoubtedly having a fresh installation of Windows 10 rather than an upgrade from Win 7 or 8 will increase the laptop speed (that’s based on experience on using these Win95, Win98, WinME, WinXP, WinVista, Win7, Win8 and finally Win10 over last 15 years). These changes drastically improved my laptop performance, speed and fan noise. I was about to drop the idea of buying a new (expensive) laptop.

      I can pledge that upgrading to Windows 10 was a very wise decision. It’s faster than all Windows OS (8, 7, Vista, XP, 98) that I have used to date.

      Tip: Consider a desktop

      I say this for one reason only: desktops let you use up to eight fans to keep your entire system cool, running smoothly, and with as few hiccups as possible when it comes to heat dissipation and dust build up.

      And it’s easy to clean, open and upgrade/change hardware.

      (Not to mention that, on the whole, desktops are much more powerful than laptops.)

      Generally, the common (and most effective) fan set up is:

      • Two intake fans in the front
      • An exhaust fan on top
      • An exhaust fan in back

      Quite simply: fans push heat through your system.

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      On the level, you can use whatever fan setup in your PC that you want. Just keep this in mind: heat rises.

      That’s why an outtake/exhaust fan (which pushes hot air OUT of your system) on the top of your desktop is a smart choice for keeping your baby’s insides fresh and cool.

      If you want maximum temperatures from fans, using minimum energy (and sounds)…check out Linus’ tech tips on YouTube for all your fan needs (like which fans to get, how many fans do you need, what the “best” fans are, and more!)

      Sure, the videos are dated, but guess what? The fans (and info) aren’t.

      Yes, I like desktop fans. However, for people with laptops, you can’t go wrong with laptop coolers!

      Laptop coolers are just that: they sit on your lap and cool your baby down.

      Finally, after you have done all of the above, run Prime95 (only with small FFTs) & RealTemp again. Compare the new temperature levels against the pre-clean levels. See the difference?

      Because everybody’s system is different, I highly suggest you browse the internet for helpful videos that will guide you step by step of the way. If you aren’t careful, the steps you take in cleaning your laptop may affect your performance for the worse. That is why I highly recommend watching videos, so you can see how other people do it and follow them step-by-step, even pausing and going back if needed.

      Featured photo credit: Luis Llerena via stocksnap.io

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      40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2018 Updated)

      40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2018 Updated)

      Over the years here at Lifehack, we’ve discussed plenty of apps that you can use to improve your overall productivity.

      There are certain ones that many of our contributors and editors (past and present) have adopted over the long-term — there are always the stalwarts that stick around. But there are also new apps that crop up every day, adding more and more depth to the app category.

      Some of the apps are incredibly plain and simple, while others are more robust and offer more features than you can shake a stick at. And everyone has the one they prefer.

      It’s been our job (and still is our job) to keep abreast of all of the productivity-type apps out there. As a result — and as a bit of a refresher — we’ve put together a list of 40 best productivity apps for iPhone to provide you with an all-in-one resource for you.

      Productivity apps to help you get things done

      1. OmniFocus

      This app is, while pricey, considered to be one of the (if not the) most robust and full-featured productivity apps on the market.

      Download it here.

        2. Forest

        Train yourself to put your phone down and stay focused on the task at hand by playing with this planting game. It’s fun and will help you achieve more.

        Download it here.

          3. Things

          Another robust choice, this app is a favorite amongst “productivityists”.[1]

          Download it here.

            4. 30/30

            Recently covered here at Lifehack

            , 30/30 is a newcomer to the game that incorporates lists and timing of tasks into an elegant and easy-to-use interface.

            Download it here.

              5. Any.Do

              A beautiful-looking app that is both easy on the eyes and your wallet.

              Download it here.

                6. PocketLife Calendar

                This calendar app is specifically designed to be stylish and super easy-to-use. You can organize your life easily with different modern features.

                Download it here.

                  7. Asana

                  We’ve covered Asana here at Lifehack

                  , and it is being actively developed by a strong team committed to making collaborative task management a more efficient and effective experience.

                  Download it here.

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                    8. ToDoist

                    This app keeps track of everything – from simple errands to your most important projects – so you can get it all done and enjoy more peace of mind along the way.

                    Download it here.

                      9. FlowTasks

                      From the folks at MetaLab, Flow is a gorgeous collaborative task management app that is easy-to-use and incredibly functional.

                      Download it here.

                        10. Calendars 5

                        This calendar app focuses on events that help you to keep track of upcoming events and tasks easily. It has everything you need to organize, track and complete your to-dos.

                        Download it here.

                          11. Clear – Tasks, Reminders & To-Do Lists

                          A fun and innovative list-making app that relies on swiping and pinching to make things happen. Clear created a lot of buzz when it launched, and might be the perfect to-do list gateway app for many.

                          Download it here.

                            12. Due

                            A robust reminders app that lets you store and maintain reminders of all types. It’s replaced Reminders for me when it comes to the basics, and it’s worth a look if you want to keep the mundane stuff out of your head and cluttering your mind.

                            Download it here.

                              13. Checkmark 2

                              I use this app

                              for location-based reminders (such as groceries I need to get or single items I need to pick up from various locations). Checkmark is simple to use and a valuable addition to my productivity arsenal.

                              Download it here.

                                14. TeuxDeux

                                Created by Tina Roth Eisenberg and Fictive Kin — Teux Deux is simple and incredibly stellar in terms of design. If you like lists (including the popular “Someday Bucket”) and want to associate dates with tasks, then Teux Deux will be right up your alley.

                                Download it here.

                                  15. Wunderlist 

                                  Another incredibly popular choice is Wunderlist. Part of 6Wunderkinder’s software family, it sports a gorgeous design and is incredibly functional. We’ve talked about the app a couple of times here at Lifehack, so check those posts out here.

                                  Download it here.

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                                    16. Nirvana

                                    For the GTD enthusiasts, there’s Nirvana. Straight from the source: “Nirvana frees your mind to focus on actually getting things done. If you’ve had enough of generic to-do lists, it’s time for Nirvana.”

                                    Download it here.

                                      17. Priorities

                                      An elegant-looking task management app that has received decent reviews,[2] this could be the one for you if you’re not a fan of OmniFocus or Things — especially if you need (or want) to share tasks with others.

                                      Download it here.

                                        Productivity apps that help you build habits

                                        18. Productive

                                        With this app, you can plan your habits with an easy-to-use interface, schedule habits for any time of the day, set smart reminders for each time of the day and stay on track with useful feedback. This app is perfect for anyone who wants to build a habit that sticks.

                                        Download it here.

                                          19. Habitica: Gamified Taskmanager

                                          You can complete tasks and build habits in a more fun way with this app. Input your Habits, your Daily goals, and your To-Do list, and then create a custom avatar. Check off tasks to level up your avatar and unlock features such as armor, pets, skills, and even quests.

                                          Download it here.

                                            20. Streaks

                                            This app follows the model of the popular “don’t break the chain method” in that you use the app to track how you are donig in the pursuit of your goal. Great for goal-setting — and an easy and elegant interface to boot.

                                            Download it here.

                                              21. Remember The Milk

                                              Another popular to-do list app, Remember The Milk has a huge following. It has plenty to offer, including the ability to share tasks with others.

                                              Download it here.

                                                22. Day One Journal

                                                When it comes to journaling, nothing really beats Day One. Its latest update added a slew of features that will make you want to start making journaling a habit.

                                                Download it here.

                                                  Productivity apps that makes organization easy

                                                  23. Evernote

                                                  Touted as the world’s most widely-used productivity app, Evernote an be used simply as a notetaking app or can be customized to be your GTD app of choice — among other things.

                                                  Download it here.

                                                    24. Pocket

                                                    You can save an article, video or link you want to read or watch later to Pocket from anywhere including your computer, Safari, email, and your favorite apps like Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, and Feedly.

                                                    Download it here.

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                                                      25. Sync.Me

                                                      This app identifies unknown phone calls, warns you from annoying spam calls, and adds a caller picture to your contacts from Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

                                                      Download it here.

                                                        26. Droplr

                                                        One of the most popular file-sharing apps out there today. Straight from the source: “Stay productive on the go. Droplr for iPhone keeps you in sync and makes sharing on the iPhone natural.”

                                                        Download it here.

                                                          27. Dropbox

                                                          Before iCloud, there was Dropbox. And there still is Dropbox, which is still widely used by both Mac and PC users all over the globe. It’s like having a flash drive in your iPhone. A must-have.

                                                          Download it here.

                                                            28. iDolly 

                                                            In conjunction with Dolly Drive and DollySync, iDolly allows you to edit and share your documents from your iPhone.

                                                            Since all your changes sync automatically to all your devices, the current version of a document will always be accessible because Dolly Sync keeps everything in sync. Very handy.

                                                            Download it here.

                                                              29. Soulver

                                                              It may seem odd that a calculator app shows up on this list, but this is no ordinary calendar app. Ben Brooks over at The Brooks review describes Soulver as follows: “It is what calculators would have been if they were invented at the same time computers were, instead of what we have with most calculator apps.” [3]

                                                              Download it here.

                                                                Productivity apps that help you work smart

                                                                30. Captio

                                                                A simple capture tool. Straight from the developers: “It’s simple. Open Captio and start typing. When you’re done, hit Send. The note is immediately delivered to your email inbox.”

                                                                Download it here.

                                                                  31. Drafts

                                                                  A tremendous capture tool that allows for simple capture, followed by sending items to various applications such as OmniFocus, Things and more.

                                                                  Download it here.

                                                                    32. NoteShelf 2

                                                                    This is a perfect note-taking app for you. You can take beautiful handwritten notes, type, annotate PDFs, record audio & create lists. You can organize them into categories or groups.

                                                                    Download it here.

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                                                                      33. Doodle

                                                                      This app links directly with the Doodle service, which is one that allows you to plan and organize meetings far more efficiently and effectively. Lifehack contributor Steve Dotto has written about Doodle more in-depth here.

                                                                      Download it here.

                                                                        34. TextExpander (Legacy)

                                                                        I have saved countless hours of time with TextExpander, and despite its inability to be as robust on iOS as it is on the Mac, it is still a worthy app to have in your arsenal.

                                                                        Download it here.

                                                                          35. Launch Center Pro

                                                                          A quick launcher for the iPhone that doesn’t just launch an app…with some of them it can do much more. This app saves you time by launching complex actions in a single tap.

                                                                          Download it here.

                                                                            36. GoodReader

                                                                            This may seem to be an odd one to make this list, but here are plenty of reasons why it is here with this article.

                                                                            Download it here.

                                                                              37. LogMeIn

                                                                              Want to be able to control your Mac from wherever you are? Then get this app.

                                                                              Download it here.

                                                                                Productivity apps that improve security

                                                                                38. 1Password

                                                                                There is simply no better password manager out there. I’ve even put together a 1Password Emergency Kit worth looking at here.

                                                                                Download it here.

                                                                                  39. LastPass Password Manager

                                                                                  You can store passwords and logins, create online shopping profiles, generate strong passwords, track personal information in photo and audio notes.

                                                                                  All you have to do is remember your LastPass master password, and LastPass autofills web browser and app logins for you.

                                                                                  Download it here.

                                                                                    40. Truecallers

                                                                                    Identify and block spammers, search for unknown numbers and call friends easily with this app. With a community-based spam list from over 250 million users, you’ll need this app.

                                                                                    Download it here.

                                                                                      There are plenty of other options out there (and we’ve heard from readers in the past as to what they enjoyed using), but these 40 are among the best.

                                                                                      Reference

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