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IanEvs79
1 Nickel

Any advice for an overheating Inspiron 9400?

Hello,

I have recently upgraded my Inspiron 9400 up to a 500mg hard drive with 4mb of Ram as I have just purchased Windows 7.

I was wondering if anyone has had any overheating issues after upgrading or running Windows 7 or the same/similar model. I have a few problems a while back when I started using Vista. I did find a program that could control my fans, but found out that this program will not install on Windows 7, as it has not been digitially verified. I have a cooling pad with 3 fans, which has also made a difference.

Has anyone got any other advice on how best is it to keep these models cool? Is there a way to change the fan settings in the BIOS settings? Any advice would be greatfully accepted.

Kinds regards,

Ian.

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9 Replies
beamermt25
3 Silver

Re: Any advice for an overheating Inspiron 9400?

Hello! I dont have a fix it answer, however here are a few things you can try. First see if there is a BIOS update for your computer by checking support.dell.com.  There could be a tweak for the fans in a new bios.  Second.  Make sure you have all the drivers downloaded and updated.  Also make sure windows 7 is fully updated.  Forgive my ignorence but did this computer come with vista or xp?  If xp, windows Vista/7 is a much more ... robust.. OS then xp was in terms of actual system usage.  If your computer is not having errors, BSOD issues, or anything else, and just running 'hot' it could be the load the OS is causing it. Also you can take some canned air to the open ports and spray any accumilated dust that can clog the airflow. 

As for the BIOS fan control, most big box systems (not custom built or home built) do not allow for fan control as it is controled by the BIOS and the heat sensors. As the system warms up, the fans spin faster to keep it below a maximum tolerance.  The ONLY time I would really worry is when you start to get computer errors and such as the system would be truly overheating.

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IanEvs79
1 Nickel

Re: Any advice for an overheating Inspiron 9400?

Thanks for the reply,

I have recently had it upgraded and I also asked for it to be cleaned, so, it should be fine inside.

The problam normally occures while running iTunes whilst also browsing on Facebook. The fan goes at it's quickest and will only stop until I restart the system, which can be quite annoying as you might imagine. It is as if when the fans go at there quickest and start draining the cpu usage and will not stop/slowdown until I do a restart. I have checked the cpu usage and it does go upto 100% when this problem arises. I found a post from someone who is having the same problem with the Inspiron 9400 as me:

http://www.fixya.com/support/t3388932-dell_9400_overheating_100_cpu_useage

I bought it originally with XP, but it did have a "Vista ready" sticker, but I did originally have similar problems, but got around that with a fan control program that I found online.

I am using the most upto date BIOS settings that I downloaded from this site.

I do not get any error messages thankfully, just that it slows down to an unuseable level.

Ian.

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IanEvs79
1 Nickel

Re: Any advice for an overheating Inspiron 9400?

I have just realised that I have not installed the driver for my chipset! Could this help resolve the issue? I have installed the "Dell recommended power settings" though. Are there any other drivers I should make sure to have?

Cheers.

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beamermt25
3 Silver

Re: Any advice for an overheating Inspiron 9400?

Hello! Thanks for the additional information.

As I have read when Vista came out, the Vista ready sticker was... to put it mildly, somewhat of a sham. Just because your computer CAN run vista, doesn't mean that it should and windows 7 is built upon windows vista (with 70 percent less fat!). Itunes is also a resource hog in itself so it might be that your computer is just having issues processing all the apple junk as apple never has really trimmed the fat in itunes. 

On another note, if your processor is running at 50 percentish or higher, your fans will kick in to a faster speed automatically (you dont want to mess with it) until it drops down. It could take up to 30 seconds below 50 percent usage, for your fans to slow down. If you are running at near 100 percent processor usage, then the fans wont slow down period because your processor is working harder. While there are tools to control the fan speed (like you said for vista), you really do not want to mess with it, especially if you are running 75 percent or higher in usage.

I did look at the specs for your computer (general specs anyway) and noticed that you could have a core 2 duo or solo. If you have the solo, you have a single core processor which has to work harder in a vista/7 world.  Also it says you can have a max of 2 Gigs of ram.. I can't read your first post ATM but i would like to assume youhave maxed out the ram?  The more ram the better!

Regardless, I think the fan isssue is just your computer working and working, and I really dont think it has anything to do with a hardware issue, especially if your processor(s) is running at 50 percent or higher when using programs like Itunes, etc.  Also make sure you dont have any viruses and spyware that could be using extra resources as well.. almost forgot to add that it.

Again sorry i'm not an expert in the 9400, but from what I saw and from what you told me.. it sounds like your computer is just doing its thing even if its annoying.

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beamermt25
3 Silver

Re: Any advice for an overheating Inspiron 9400?

Your last post hit before my reply so I didn't see it lol.  Actually chipset drivers should be the FIRST thing that is installed after installing the OS proper.  then graphics, audio, networking, etc.  If the chipset software hasn't been installed, there is a 75 percent chance that it could be the problem.. 🙂

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IanEvs79
1 Nickel

Re: Any advice for an overheating Inspiron 9400?

Thanks for the information, much appreciated.

I will install all latest drivers when I get back. I think I will need to go to the manufactures websites with some, as Dell have stopped putting up new drivers for the Inspiron 9400.

I am running on a Intel Dual Core and also 4mb of Ram, so, the Windows 7 should run on it.

Kind regards.

 

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hotrod4x5
1 Copper

Re: Any advice for an overheating Inspiron 9400?

My Inspiron 9400 had some overheating issues.  I cleaned the processor and replaced the thermal paste with brand new Arctic Silver 5, I knocked about 40 degrees F off the peak temp.  It runs like new.  The old paste had dried up and wasn't doing anything as far as I could tell. 

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ktarnovska
1 Copper

RE: Any advice for an overheating Inspiron 9400?

Hey There,

I just bought a used Dell 9400 for my son which had xp on it, I sent it out to be checked out whitch cost me as much as I paid for it. The guy installed Windows 7. Since then the computer overheats like crazy. I am a software girl so hardware is not my thing. I tried to go to Dell and downlload the BIOS driver and it wouldn't allow me to..It gave me some weird error that I wasn't the administrator which I am. What happened with your machine? Please help me fix this my 19 year old is driving both me and his father crazy and I have spent hours on this.

KC

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hotrod4x5
1 Copper

RE: Any advice for an overheating Inspiron 9400?

Hi

I took the computer apart and discovered that the thermal paste from the CPU chip and the heat sink was dried up and no longer working.  You have to remove the chip, clean it and the heat sink off and then put on some new thermal paste. 

There are directions online on how to take apart the computer.  Google Inspiron 9400 service manual (or repair manual)  you will get a list of PDFs.  You will have to read several to get to the CPU, because you have to remove the keyboard, the case top, and a few other things to get to the CPU. 

Good luck!

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