Fixing a noisy laptop fan in the field

by on July 17, 2009

Q: I have a brand new Toshiba P305D-S8900 and it is under warranty. I tipped it as it was starting up to take off a dust sticker and it started to make a funny noise. I thought it was the DVD drive because it was a similar noise to when my XBOX 360 got kicked over and scratched my game inside.

I checked the DVD and it was fine but the noise started up again so I then realized it was the fan. My problem is, I’m currently deployed overseas and won’t be home for a few months and it’s so loud. Am I okay just getting a Leatherman and taking the screws out that look like it would remove that panel so I can check the fan out?

I think maybe a hair might have gotten in and it wrapped around the fan or something. A lot of people over here are “computer buffs” but won’t touch someones personal laptop for fear of messing it up. I have already tried blowing the canned air into it and it didn’t seem to help, it just confirmed that it was the fan (I got it spinning with the air and it still made noise). I just want to make sure I won’t do something totally stupid that will definitely ruin my computer because I take online classes.

A: We should note that we do not suggest you try to fix your own computer if it is under warranty because it will most likely void your warranty. With that said everyone should know that when working on a computer, especially a laptop, you need to make sure you are using the correct tools and are grounded so that you do not destroy the electrical components in the machine. So if you do decide to go it on your own make sure you are grounded and are using tools that have plastic or rubber handles.

If you are currently stationed in Germany, Japan, South Korea, etc, you should be able to find a Toshiba-authorized service center for your laptop and/or quickly ship the laptop to a Toshibalocation in your region. If you are stationed somewhere like Iraq or Afghanistan, shipping yourlaptop to a Toshiba location in Europe for repair is probably your best option.

I recommend that you contact Toshiba; their USA phone number is 1-800-457-7777. If you are instructed to send your laptop in for repair, it can’t hurt to ask Toshiba to temporarily provide another laptop for you to use while yours is being repaired.

If you are in such a position that you cannot get to a repair facility then your other option is possibly getting a cooling base. It will probably keep the laptop cool enough such that the fan in your laptop wont need to run.

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