The fan in a CPU is the component that helps keep your PC cool, which is especially important if you are working on something that requires a lot of processing power. However, with both desktops and laptops becoming increasingly compact while gaining more and more power, the default fan speed on your PC might not be providing the required amount of cooling.

To avoid your computer from overheating and getting damaged, you may need to adjust your fan speed so it provides proper cooling. Alternatively, you may want to change the fan speed may be because the fan is too loud, resulting in distractions. In either case, we've put together this guide to help you out.

From the Power Plan Settings

Windows 11's power plans allow you to customize how your machine works by letting you adjust aspects like display timeout, sleep settings, and more. You can use a preset plan or create your own to control your fan speed.

  1. Open the Control Panel from the Start menu.
  2. When the Control Panel opens, click on 'Power Options'.
  1. You will see the available power plans, such as a Battery Saver Plan, a Balanced Plan, and a High-Performance Plan here. The Battery Saver plan reduces the fan speed and reduces system performance to conserve battery, while the balanced plan keeps the fan speed at its normal level. The high-performance plan maximizes fan speed for more efficient cooling. To change the fan speed, simply click on the plan you want to use.
  1. If you do not see multiple plans here, click on the 'Create a Power Plan' option on the left.
  1. Now, you can pick between the three plans and even give your selected plan a custom name. Click on the plan you want to use and then click on the 'Next' button.
  1. On the next page, you can choose when to turn off the display and put your computer to sleep. When you have done so, click on the 'Create' button.
  1. Once you have created a power plan, it will show up on the first page of the power options. Click on the 'Change Plan Settings' option here.
  1. Now, click on the 'Change Advanced Power Settings' option.
  1. In the pop-up that appears, scroll down and click on the '+' button next to the 'Processor Power Management' option.
  1. Now you can adjust the minimum and maximum processor state, which controls heat generation, and in turn the fan speed. Ideally, the minimum process state should be 5% and the maximum should be 100%, though you can use custom settings if you want.

Using the Task Manager

While Windows does not directly let you control the fan speed, you can check which processes lead to increased heat generation using the Task Manager, thereby increasing the fan speed. Then, if you want, you can stop them and reduce the fan speed.

  1. Right-click on the taskbar and click on the 'Task Manager' option.
  1. The Task Manager shows all running processes on the right. The process resulting in maximum CPU utilization will be responsible for a higher fan speed. To close it, right-click on it and click on the 'End Task' option. Do not close system background processes, as that can cause your PC to crash.

Using First-Party Software

Unless you are using a PC assembled using components from different brands, it most likely came with certain first-party software. Such software includes utilities that let you customize your computer so it meets your requirements more effectively, and can also include tools to control fan speed.

The best part about using first-party software is that it is designed for your hardware specifically, so you won't be running into any compatibility issues.

  1. Check the manufacturer and model of your PC by looking at the serial number at the bottom or the back of the computer. If you are using a custom-built system, find out its motherboard make and model from the supplier.
  2. Once you've found out the required information, visit the manufacturer's website and search for your PC model. The page should contain all the utilities that you can download for your system.
  1. You may not find a dedicated utility for controlling fan speed as manufacturers usually bundle it with other power management software. For instance, in the case of Dell, thermal management is included in the Dell Power Manager Service. So, look for such software and download it.
  1. After downloading the software, install it on your PC and open it. Click on fan speed control settings, which may be present under 'Fan', 'Thermal Management', or similar options.
  1. Here, you can choose between different settings that control fan speed. Depending on your system, you may see options like Default, Power Saver, High Performance, etc. Click on the option you want to use.
Note: If your software lets you control fan speed directly, it will show the fan speed settings as a percentage of the maximum. So, you can set the speed to anything between zero and 100. However, we strongly recommend not to set the fan speed to zero as it can damage your PC.

From the BIOS

BIOS or the Basic Input Output System is the OS that is present on your PC's motherboard and lets you control functions, which you cannot otherwise. This often includes the fan speed.

  1. To access the BIOS, reboot your PC and before it boots into Windows, press the key that lets you enter into the BIOS. Depending on your PC manufacturer, this can be the F2, F10, or Delete key.
  2. In the BIOS, search for an option that controls fan settings and navigate to it. It may be present under Overclocking, Advanced, PC Health, or a similar option.
  1. When you've found it, change the fan speed according to your preferences. Then save the changes and exit before rebooting your PC.

Using Third-Party Software

Another way of controlling fan speed on Windows 11 is through third-party software, plenty of which are available. Some of the most popular ones include Fan Control, Argus Monitor, and SpeedFan. Remember that these are not specifically designed for any particular make and model, so you may run into issues.

  1. Visit the website of the third-party fan control software and download it from there. For instance, you can visit this link and click on the 'Download Zip' button to download Fan Control.
  1. Once the software is downloaded, install it on your system and launch it. In the case of the zip file, you will have to extract it first.
  2. When you open the utility for the first time, it should inform you about the functions it will let you control. Click on the 'Yes' or 'OK' button to proceed.
  1. The software may take a few seconds to determine which settings of your CPU fan can be controlled, before showing you the available settings. Once it does, you can adjust the fan speed from zero to 100.

If your CPU fan is making too much noise or is not working properly resulting in heating issues, the above methods can help you control the fan speed easily. That said, the default fan settings on Windows do a pretty good job of maintaining effective cooling, so you should not tamper with the fan speed settings unless there is a major problem.

Additionally, it is a good idea to back up your system before using third-party fan speed control tools. This way, in case something goes wrong, you can quickly restore your system to its earlier state.