WHOOPS

About a month ago I started getting this error message when I booted up my desktop computer at home. The message said, “CPU Fan Error! Press F1 to Resume”. That may seem like an alarming message and it can be. The CPU fan is the one that cools your CPU and if that component overheats, it can degrade the performance of your computer or might even damage it. Depending on the model, CPUs can easily cost hundreds of dollars.

Now I know I installed a new CPU fan less than three years ago, so I know it was an ancient part. Rather than immediately take apart my computer, I indeed did hit F1 where upon entering Windows, I started a program that measured the CPU fan speed and also showed me the current CPU temperature. According to the program, the CPU fan was spinning and at a reasonable speed as well. The CPU wasn’t at all hot and was at normal temperatures. I probably should have investigated more and dug deeper into the source of the error message but I didn’t. I ignored it.

In the subsequent weeks, I had to hit F1 every single time I started my computer to get past that error message. My computer didn’t seem worse for wear nor did I encounter any weird crashes. Well, this weekend I decided I no longer could stand pressing F1 every single time I started my computer. I needed to fix this somehow. I started by removing the panel off the side of my computer so I could look inside. Once this was off, I started my computer. It started booting up and I noticed immediately the CPU fan was not moving at all. That was not good.

I realized that for an undetermined amount of time I’d been relying on the other fans in my computer case to cool the heat sink that was attached to my CPU. I think I got lucky because there’s one fan, from the power supply, directly above the heat sink which was blowing air on it. There’s also another fan, the case fan, about four inches away from the heat sink which draws air out of the case.

Technically, in this particular situation my computer works fine without a CPU fan. One solution would be go into the BIOS and turn off the warning and I’d be done. That leaves a bit of risk and replacing a CPU isn’t expensive or complicated. I decided to err on the side of caution and just get a new fan.

The most difficult part of getting the new fan this weekend was dodging the Black Friday sales crowds. Due to parts availability and convenience, going to Best Buy was the easiest solution for me. Once I got the new fan home though, the replacement went very smoothly. Now once I start up my computer the error message no longer pops up and everything is nice and cool.

If there is a moral to this stupid post, it’s that you should never ignore any warning signs, for anything in life.

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