Knowledge Base

How to troubleshoot a Overheating, Shutdown or Thermal issue on a Dell PC



The following article provides information on identifying and resolving an issue with the system overheating, shutting down or reporting a heat related error on startup.


Table of Contents:

  1. Is the system Overheating, Shutting Down or reporting a heat related error?
  2. Have you ruled out physical damage?
  3. Shutting Down or Restarting
  4. Environmental Factors
  5. The Fan makes a constant Over Spinning noise
  6. Startup Errors :
    1. Alert! Air Temperature Sensor Not Detected error message displayed during boot
    2. A Heatsink Related Error Message is Displayed
    3. A fan related error message is displayed
    4. An Air Temperature error message is displayed

Is the system Overheating, Shutting Down or reporting a heat related error?

Is your System overheating or Shutting Down?

Does the system report any Fan, Temperature or Thermal Event errors on start-up?

To determine if your computer is experiencing a hardware problem, run the Dell Online Diagnostics.

If you are unable to boot the system to access the Dell Online Diagnostics, use the Dell Pre-boot System Diagnostics.


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Have you ruled out physical damage?

  1. Have you looked inside your system to rule out any physical issues with the heatsink and the system fans?

  2. Is the heatsink missing vanes, is the heatsink pipes crimped, is the fan damaged, stiff or missing fan blades?

    Heatsink Pipes

    (Fig.1 Heatsink pipes)

    System Fan

    (Fig.2 Blower Fan)

  3. While damaged parts are not normally covered under most warranties, I'd contact Dell support to troubleshoot this further.

    You can also find out more from the following article:

  4. If everything looks fine, then follow on with this guide in the following sections.


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Shutting Down or Restarting

  1. Verify there are no unfilled gaps in the system where a peripheral or blanking plate should be. If there are any gaps then please replace the devices or plates in order to ensure correct airflow.

  2. Ensure the PC is off.

  3. Disconnect all external cables including the power cable.

  4. Hold down the power button, so the inner circuits are closed and any remaining power (flea power) may dissipate. Hold the power button down for 5 seconds.

  5. Now reconnect the power cable and start the PC.

  6. Is the PC shutting down or overheating when left in the BIOS? You can get to the BIOS by pressing the F2 key at POST - when the system starts up, but hasn't started Windows yet.

  7. If not, download and update the BIOS with latest available version.

    1. If this stops the issue then your problem is resolved.

    2. If this doesn't resolve your problem proceed to section 2 step 9.

Note: The BIOS (Basic Input Output System) is a type of Firmware that allows you to access and setup your system at the most basic level. Please make sure to never jump more than 2-3 revisions of BIOS at the one install. Doing so may harm your BIOS. You can download the BIOS on our Dell Support Site. (Click on Other Versions on the BIOS download page to get other revisions of the BIOS.)
  1. If it is, do not try to flash BIOS when the PC is randomly shutting down or rebooting as this may cause damage to the System BIOS.

  2. If the processor or system board has recently been replaced, check for the presence of thermal grease or thermal pads having been replaced after the repair. If there is no thermal grease or thermal pads contact your Technical Support as they may need to replace the Heatsink or Motherboard again.


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Environmental Factors

  1. Determine where the system is being used and whether the environment is causing the overheating.

    1. Is the system located on top of a table or desk? If so go with section 5 step 1.

    2. Is the system located in a desk or other enclosure or is it sitting on the floor? Move the system to a location with better airflow.

    3. Is the location where the PC's based having any Heating or Air Conditioning issues that might make any heat issue worse? Resolve those issues before restarting this guide.


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The Fan makes a constant over spinning noise

  1. If you hear a fast spinning noise from the fan in your system, is it a constant noise or does it go up and down depending on how hard your system is working?

    1. If its constant, please go back to section 2 step 7.

    2. If it goes up and down as the machine works, there is either no issue or the fan is working as designed to cope with excess heat coming from somewhere in your machine. I'd advise looking at section 3 step 1 again.


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Startup Errors

  1. Check the System Event Log in the BIOS for Thermal Messages or Fan Failures. If the error doesn't match any below, please contact your Technical Support to take the matter further.

Alert! Air Temperature Sensor Not Detected error message displayed during boot

  1. Contact your Technical Support as they may need to replace the Temperature Sensor or Motherboard depending on your systems configuration.

A Heatsink Related Error Message is Displayed

  1. Clear the system event log.

  2. Reboot your system.

  3. Does the error re-occur?

  4. Now reboot again, but directly to BIOS using F2 at the Dell Splash Screen.

  5. Check the System Event Log for any Thermal Messages or Fan Failures.

  6. If there is no error in the event log then the problem is resolved.

  7. If there is the same error in the Log again, then contact your Technical Support as they may need to replace the Motherboard.

A fan related error message is displayed

  1. Reseat all Fan Power Cables to the Motherboard.

  2. Check for Dust or other Debris in the PC's Fans.

  3. Check the System Event Log for any Thermal Messages or Fan Failures.

  4. If there is no error in the event log then the problem is resolved.

  5. If the same error is still in the Event Log, then contact your Technical Support as they may want to replace the faulty Fan or Fans.

An Air Temperature error message is displayed

  1. Clear the system event log.

  2. Check for dust or other debris in the PC's fans.

  3. Remove All Third-party Hardware From the PC.

  4. If you have an add in Video Card which has a Fan, verify that this fan is spinning properly. If not replace the Video Card.

  5. Reseat All Fan Power Cables to the Motherboard.

  6. Run the PSA Diagnostics to check for any problems.

  7. If any of the tests fail, report the error code to your Technical Support as they may need to replace the applicable part.

  8. If the diagnostics pass or are not available then check the operating system Log file for any Hardware failures.

  9. If you can't see anything then get in touch with your Technical Support as they will need to take this further at this point.

If you require further assistance, please contact technical Support.
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Article ID: SLN151668

Last Date Modified: 06/18/2018 04:13 AM


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