Intermittent Fan Operations Cause Computer To Freeze While Fans Are Running


New Member
I have a laptop that started to experience intermittent and temporary "freezes" during use and while simply being idle. I hope someone can guide me on how to use HWiNFO64 to determine what is causing the problem.

The laptop is an Alienware 17 R3
Intel(r) Cor(TM) i7-6820HK CPU @ 2.70 GHz
64-bit OS, x64-based processor
Windows 10 Pro (21H2, OS Build 19044.2130)

Problem description:

During game or application use, or while simply sitting idle, the fans will intermittently and briefly cycle. I cannot tell if the fans are off or running at low speed prior to each event due to how quiet the fans may be.

Here is a description of each event while I am sitting and facing the laptop.

1) The left fan (CPU ?) under the keyboard will quickly rise to a high speed for 2 - 5 seconds, then slow down to the state prior to the start of the event.
2) The right fan (GPU ?) under the keyboard will quickly rise to a high speed for 2 - 5 seconds, then slow down to the state prior to the start of the event.

During the event, the system is suspended, freezing all video and audio and becomes unresponsive to keyboard and mouse input. The system in not responsive to CTRL+ALT+DEL and Task Manager cannot be invoked due to the keyboard input not being acknowledged. When playing a game, the video image will freeze. Whatever audio being played will also locked with the sound played at that moment through the speakers continuously (imagine a song being played and the system locks, sounding out the suspended note(s) till the fans stop). During the event, audio most often sounds like a buzzing or grinding noise depending on the audio played when the event started.

Once the right fan spins down or shuts down (cannot tell which), things resume. During game play, it is as if time froze. During something like typing in a Word document, when the event starts, all key presses during the event are buffered. Nothing will be entered into the Word document during the event, but once the event is over, all the keypresses during the event appear instantly in the order in which they occured.

My initial thought was a thermal problem with the system. I researched and found indications of similar events using Google. I contacted Dell's Support for Alienware. They were no help and wanted me to send them the system. No explanation or theories were provided. Since the system cannot be upgraded to Windows 11 and has a definite end of life for Windows 10 support, I do not want to spend a lot of money on a repair that may not even fix the problem. Dell wanted me to do a one time repair or subscribe to its support service, which I declined.

During my research, I came across articles referring to HWiNFO and other CPU temperature monitoring apps. After reading various articles, I opted to download and install HWiNFO64 (I currently have version 7.30-4870). I must confess I have never since such detail in a diagnostic application (quite impressive) and that, despite my computer background, find it a bit intimidating. Despite this, I have a feeling the application will somehow help me diagnose and possibly resolve the problem or help me improve the situation till I replace the machine.

By the way, I invested in a chill pad for the system. My laptop now sits on an stand at a angle with my desk (probably 45 degrees) to ensure plenty of cool air is available. On the stand sits the chill pad that has 1 large center fan and 4 smaller perimeter fans. The laptop sits on top of the chill pad. I also added foam weather stripping along the edges of the chill pad to help force air through the laptop's underneath air intakes. Despite all this effort, the system still goes through these events.

Again, using HWiNFO64, I hope to determine the source of the problem. I fear it may be a faulty sensor in the laptop that is triggering the fans. Regardless, I seek the guidance of fellow HWiNFO64 users to help me determine the source and possibly identify some solutions to help me extend the use of the laptop I invested dollars in to.

Thank you!