I have also just recently encountered this problem and I have a solution that worked for me.
Problem: Fan running at high speed continuously from booting up the laptop. Fan continues to run at high speed regardless of what tasks/programs are being run. I.e. when the laptop is idle, fan still runs at high speed.
Cause: In my case, I shut down the laptop using the start menu and then selected shut down. I put my laptop lid down and I switched the mains off BEFORE the laptop went through the full cycle of shutting down. This caused my laptop to not shut down properly but went into part Hibernation and part still on mode. Yes it sounds odd but basically I could see the laptop LED thinking but the fan was off. NOTE: my AC power supply unit was connected to the laptop.
Therefore the laptop doesn’t shut down properly and I had to press and hold the power button on the laptop itself to power off completely.
When I turned the laptop back on, the fan was running at high speed regardless of how many times I shut down the laptop properly.
Solution: To resolve this, once the laptop in on, you need to press start from windows, and then select HIBERNATE. Let the laptop go into hibernation mode. Once this is complete, press the power button on the laptop to turn on the laptop again. Do not press and hold the power button. Just press once.
You may be prompted with a system message 'Cant remember what mine came up with' but just press return and you will be returned to Windows.
Then press start from windows and select 'shut down'. Let the laptop fully shut down and then power back on. NOTE: my AC power supply unit was connected to the laptop during this process.
Result: Your fan should be running a lot quieter and should resume normal operation.
Note: My system cooling configuration was accessed by going to Control Panel>System and Security>Change battery Settings>Change Plan settings (For the power option that is currently connected)>Change advanced power settings>Processor Power Management>System Cooling Policy and then in my case since the AC Power supply was connected I changed the option from Active to Passive.
I’m not sure if this really makes a difference if you left it as Active as others here have suggested it made a difference for them.
Also my laptop power option is always left on at High Performance and is always plugged into the mains.
Also ensure the inlet vent at the bottom of the laptop and the exit vents are clear of dust. Use a vacuum to suck the dust out.
I hope this helps others but I want to say a massive thanks to evaxquhqis who has posted earlier that led to my diagnosis and rectification.
All my DELL drivers are up to date and from the Dell website. Windows 7 updates have been done but not all.
Also I use MSI AFTERBURNER which is free to download. Ensure the core clock, memory clock are at the minimum setting. I use this as I have my laptop connect to an external monitor and my monitor screen was crashing all the time with solid colours which were different all the time.
My nvidia graphis card driver is from the Dell website. Do not update the nvidia graphics driver from nvidia website itself.
I hope this helps others.
Post after post about fans running even tho the computer is idle or doing limited work. Then the Dell representative just send a link how to cool your computer more or say it's intended design.
It's either bad hardware design or bad software or probably both.
Dell representative: Just escalate the problem and get this mess fixed!
Guys i finally got a solution. I've tried before with monitoring and fan controlling softwares to fix that and i found one that is working perfectly for me anyways. Download HWiNFO64 go to sensors tab and there is a fan icon down at the window. Set your fan curve here and hopefully it will work.
Best of Luck
Man it worked for me and it's working very good. Try download again the last version and do as the picture. I do not see why it workes only for me or for some.
I have the same super-annoying issue with the Dell Inspiron tower. I took it back to have the techs look at it, fix it, etc. They informed me that that was just how much noise it makes and basically to like it or lump it. Very unhappy and will NEVER buy Dell again, that is for sure. As for now, I just play music all of the time. Really a big problem for me because I am highly sensitive to noise, and I must be on my computer all day, every day!