How to Fix 'Previous Fan Failure' on a Computer

by Charlotte Mission

    Having your computer get too hot can spell disaster for the internal components. The message you receive during startup about a previous CPU fan failure serves as safeguard to head off this machine-killing issue. Even though you can press the “F1” key and boot into Windows normally, the fan failure may happen again if you don’t resolve the initial problem. Fan failure is often caused by dust and debris that makes its way into the case and hinders the movement of the fan or the air flow, so a good cleaning may be the only fix you need.

    Step 1

    Turn off the computer and touch the metal body of the computer's case to dissipate the static electricity in your body that could harm the internal components.

    Step 2

    Disconnect all cables and the power cord.

    Step 3

    Remove the cover. This is often done by removing two to four screws from the back of the machine or releasing a lever on the side.

    Step 4

    Locate the cooling fan attached to the CPU, which is plugged into the motherboard. There may be additional fans, depending on your computer.

    Step 5

    Spray the fan with short bursts of compressed air to remove dust and debris.

    Step 6

    Check to make sure the fan spins when it is sprayed with the compressed air. If it does not, look for and remove any obstructions such as large clumps of dust or other foreign objects. If these are not present and the fan does not spin when you spray it, you will need to replace it.

    Step 7

    Examine the wires connecting the fan to the power supply and motherboard. If the three-pin connector has come loose, gently press it back in place. If the wires are broken or frayed you will need to replace the fan.

    Step 8

    Replace the case, reconnect the cords and turn on computer. If the message reoccurs, you may need to replace the fan to fix the issue.


    • You can also use anti-static wristbands to dissipate any electrical charge you're carrying. They are available at any electronics store.

    About the Author

    Charlotte Mission is an avid reader and writer. She has written professionally for over 5 years and for pleasure for many more. Her work has appeared on and She is currently pursuing a degree in History.