How to Control the CPU Fan on Windows 11

Access fan settings and gain speed control for better performance

What to Know

  • Windows 11 doesn't offer a built-in tool for monitoring or controlling CPU fan speed.
  • You can control CPU fan speed with software or your PC's BIOS.
  • Never set the fan speed to 0. This may cause your CPU to overheat.

A PC's CPU fan is essential to keeping the computer cool under load, but Windows does not provide tools for changing CPU fan speed. This article will teach you how to control the CPU Fan on Windows 11.

How to Control the CPU Fan on Windows 11

Windows 11 doesn't provide built-in tools for monitoring or customizing CPU fan speed. You must turn to one of three alternative methods to control the CPU fan on Windows 11.

We recommend using first-party software. This isn't possible for every Windows 11 PC, however, so we'll cover all three options.

  • Use first-party software. Modern computers are often compatible with proprietary software to lets you change the CPU fan speed. This is the quickest, easiest solution, but you must download the correct software.
  • Use BIOS. Most PCs ship with a BIOS which can display the current speed of your CPU fan, while more feature-rich BIOS will let you change the fan speed. You can accomplish this without downloading software, but it can be complex.
  • Use a third-party utility. Third-party utilities are capable of detecting the speed of your CPU fan. A few even let you change it. These utilities work on a wide variety of hardware, but you may encounter bugs and compatibility issues.

Never set CPU fan speed to 0. Most CPUs are not designed to operate without active cooling and will overheat. Damage can occur when the fan is at 0.

How to Control the CPU Fan With First-Party Software

First-party software is developed by your PC manufacturer, or the manufacturer of your PC's motherboard, for use with specific hardware. It will work without compatibility issues and is often the least difficult to use.

  1. Determine the manufacturer and model of your Windows 11 PC. If your Windows 11 PC is a custom build, then determine the manufacturer and model of your PC's motherboard.

    A photo of the bottom of a laptop with the serial number and manufacturer name highlighted.

    Having trouble finding the manufacturer and model of your PC? Look for a serial number printed on the bottom or rear of the computer. If you can't find a label, try downloading a free system information tool.

  2. Visit the support site maintained by the manufacturer of your PC and search for your PC model. Many sites also let you search by serial number or even a purchase number, if you have it.

    Dell customer support search page with model number highlighted in the search field
  3. Open the downloads section on the support page dedicated to the model of your PC and look for its system utility. Download the utility.

    Most PC manufacturers bundle fan control into a system control or overclocking utility. Common examples include Alienware Command Center, Asus AI Suite, and MSI Afterburner.

  4. Install and open the utility and look for fan speed control. For example, opening Settings in MSI Afterburner's menu and selecting the Fan tab will display fan control options.

    MSI Afterburner software with the fan settings tab highlighted.
  5. Most software displays fan speed settings as a percentage of maximum. A value of 100 is the fan's highest setting, while a value of 0 is the lowest. Higher fan settings cool better but are louder, while lower settings offer less cooling but create less noise.

How to Control the CPU Fan With BIOS

BIOS is the rudimentary operating system on your PC's motherboard. The BIOS software starts when you turn on the PC. Most BIOS let you view or customize CPU fan speed.

  1. Shut down your computer.

  2. Once the shut down is complete, turn the computer back on and then immediately tap the shortcut that launches BIOS settings on your PC. This can differ between PCs, but most accept the F2, F12, or Delete keys.

  3. Look for a menu option that displays fan settings. This differs between motherboards, but it's often shown under PC Health, Advanced, or Overclocking. If you're lucky, fan speed settings may already be visible on the first menu shown.

    A screenshot of an Asus BIOS menu with Fan Control highlighted
  4. BIOS will typically express fan speed settings as a percentage of maximum. A value of 100 is the fan's highest setting, while a value of 0 is the lowest. Change the settings as desired, then save and exit.

How to Control the CPU Fan With Third-Party Software

Third-party software is developed by a party other than the manufacturer of your PC. It has the benefit of working on a wide range of PCs, but you're more likely to encounter it not working perfectly (it could run just fine, of course).

  1. Download and install third-party fan control software. Popular options include SpeedFan, Argus Monitor, and Fan Control.

  2. Open the software. Look for Fan or Fan Control. Fan speed will typically be shown as a value between 100 and 0, where a value of 100 is the fan's highest setting, while a value of 0 is the lowest. Change the settings as desired, then save and exit.

    Argus Monitor utility with Fan Control highlighted

    Never set CPU fan speed to 0. Most CPUs are not designed to operate without active cooling and will overheat.

Why Can't I Control My CPU Fan on Windows 11?

If you try all three methods above, yet none work, it's possible your PC doesn't allow CPU fan speed control. It might be blocked by the system BIOS, which is sometimes true of laptops, or your CPU fan might not be connected with a motherboard fan connector that allows fan speed control.

FAQ
  • How do I control CPU fan speed on Windows 10?

    To control your CPU fan on Windows 10, try a third-party tool such as Speedfan. After you download Speedfan, select Automatic fan speed to have Speedfan automatically control your system, or choose Configure > Advanced, then find your fan and set it to Manual. Once it's set to Manual, go back to the main page and adjust your fan speed level up or down.

  • Should a CPU fan be intake or exhaust?

    Fans that are toward the PC case's front are likely intake fans; they take cooler air in to help lower the case's temperature. Fans located at the back are typically exhaust fans; they expel the air that's been warmed up by the computer's components.

  • How do I remove a CPU fan?

    Make sure the processor is visible, and remove any duct or other impediment. Find the power cable connecting the fan to the motherboard, then carefully disconnect this power wire. Find the clip connecting the fan to the processor, then gently press down with a screwdriver or similar tool until the fan unlatches. Finally, remove the heat sink from the processor.

  • Why is my CPU fan so loud?

    Your CPU fan may be loud because it's bogged down with dust and dirt. To solve the problem, use a can of compressed air to remove the debris. Also, make sure to place your computer in a well-ventilated area so the fans don't become overworked, and consider a cooling pad for your laptop.

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