Alert! Previous Fan Failure.

By Sake ยท 59 replies
Aug 9, 2006
  1. Yeah, this error pops up every time I start my computer. It'll say this:

    "Alert! Previous Fan Failure.
    Strike the F1 key to continue, F2 to run the setup utility"

    And the entire screen is a blank, black color with this text only. I've been pressing F1 for a long time now and it lets me run my computer perfectly. I tried fixing this problem some time last year, asking the people over at Dell, but I ended up screwing up my computer, so I gave up. Dell really has horrible support. I guess since I just got a new hard drive, I don't want something to happen to my computer, even though I should have fixed this LONG ago.

    Uhm... some basic information: Dell Dimension 4550, Windows XP, the problem started ~1 year ago.

    Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!
  2. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,182   +469

    You really need to take the necessary steps to replace the failed fan or risk frying something. One of my PCs is a Dell which had a fan failure with the same message as yours. In my case it was replaced under warranty but if I had let it go, I might have fried my CPU.
  3. Sake

    Sake TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 43

    Wow. Any links or guides where I can get information on what fan to get, etcetera?
  4. mscott00

    mscott00 TS Rookie Posts: 60

    get a 12v fan, that has the 3 connector piece and you should be just fine.
  5. Sake

    Sake TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 43

    Er... Where can I get this? How do I connect it when I buy it?
  6. mscott00

    mscott00 TS Rookie Posts: 60

    when you disconnect your old fan (dell) will have the same exact connector piece.. Fans aren't a secret, trust me, everyone in computers who use fans use the same thing... There is no other fan connector.. on the motherboard i guess i should say.
  7. Sake

    Sake TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 43

    Alright, so it should be pretty easy to spot it, it'll be connected to the motherboard? So take out the old fan (keeping the wires and such), replace with new fan, and connect wires/connectors?

    Also could you recommend a reliable 12v fan brand with a 3 connector piece and around how much the cost would be?

  8. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,182   +469

    There are different types of fans depending on the purpose. You can remove the failed fan and take it to a shop or computer supply store and replace it with the same size and type. I'm talking about the fan only, not heatsinks. The wires and connector come with the fan so you just unplug the old one and connect the new one.

    Note which motherboard connector the fan is attached to. There are usually more than one.
  9. Sake

    Sake TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 43

    Heatsinks? Do I need to get one of those?

    Any fan should be compatible as long as it has 3 connectors, right? Are there any reliable brands that sell fans which you could recommend me a good one?

    Lastly, it's the fan connected to the motherboard, correct?

  10. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,182   +469

    No. As I said before, there are different fans. You could have more than one fan (two) on the motherboard. The main one is the CPU fan and the other would be the much smaller northbridge fan. You'll have to tell us which is not working. Check for fan types, sizes and prices. Keep in mind you shouldn't use a case fan for the CPU, for example. BTW, your motherboard could have other fans connected to the motherboard but not actually on the motherboard such as a case fan. If any of them failed, the BIOS might detect those as failures too. You just have to visually check all your fans to see which as failed. If it happens to be a case fan, that would be an easy fan to replace.
    Yes, most likely. But as I said, there is more than one possibility.

    If you can find an appropriate replacement fan, you don't need to replace the heatsink too. I only mention it so you don't automatically remove the heatsink with the fan. Just remove the fan. If you remove the heatsink, then you have to clean it and apply fresh thermal compound to the heatsink before reinstalling it. But keep in mind only the two motherboard fans (if you have two) have heatsinks. If a case fan is powered by a motherboard connection, there is no heatsink to worry about.
  11. Sake

    Sake TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 43

    Okay, thanks! But how do I check which one is failing? Do I run my computer while the case is open and just visually check?
  12. AtK SpAdE

    AtK SpAdE TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,495


    Also, If it is your main CPU fan, then you may have to order a special fan. Dell uses this weird green plastic shroud that directs airflow from the Heatsink to the main fan in the back.

    For example look Here
  13. Sake

    Sake TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 43

    Lol, I'm a fan noob. I'll just check which one is failing and post here? What information do you need? Like... "the fan on my motherboard" is failing, or maybe there's #'s on the fan?

    Sorry and thanks! :)
  14. Sake

    Sake TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 43

    Okay, well, I checked anyways. The fan right above this cubish, silver thing with layers jetting out about the length of a pinky (I'm guessing it's the heatsink). A white/black/red twisted wire connects the Motherboard and fan. And it has a green colored lid thing covering it. It's the same one at this link: that AtK SpAdE gave.

    So... any suggestions? :)
  15. Sake

    Sake TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 43

    Sooooo, I'm guessing I should just visit a local store and get that fan.

    All I need to do is take out the old one and pop in the new one? Start my computer and I'm good to go. No need to run any programs to install the fan or anything?
  16. Gord

    Gord TS Rookie

    hey there Sake and others -- I have the same problem and have been getting a runaround from my local repair shop. Also a Dell 8200 getting this "Alert! Previous Fan Failure. Strike the F1 key to continue, F2 to run the setup utility" on boot, then if I proceed the system runs very slow. They said I needed to reinstall my OS? Does that make any sense? (background -- I had no boot whatsoever a week ago, in advance of this problem, and they changed my video card. A few days later the "Alert" message started)

    Would like to know if and how the problem in the above thread was resolved -- thanks!
  17. Enrique11206

    Enrique11206 TS Rookie

  18. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    Open the case up, ensure what fan is not spinning. If its the fan on the heatsink for the processor (fan on thing stickign up off the motherboard that isnt' a card) then yes, that can explain why your system runs slow. Modern CPUs have throttling when they aren't cooling properly to keep them from reaching damaging temperatures.

    The ones Enrique linked on ebay will work just fine. If its the one with that green cup on it that is failed, then yes that is what you need to buy. If its a bigger one, those are just regular 80 or 120mm case fans, and don't buy from that ebay link because thats too expensive, even Staples sells cheaper and better case fans.
  19. benthere

    benthere TS Rookie

    Just found this by googling that "previous fan failure. strike f1" error. That's after replacing the case fan, but not before. The one I bought was Antec SmartCool 92 mm. It has a connector to the PS and a signal wire to the MB. I thought that would prevent the Dell error, but it hasn't. I guess Dell's have "special needs".

    Anyway, 92 mm is the correct size for Dell Dim 8200, and probably several other models. But you probably won't get rid of that error unless you figure something out that I haven't. I'll check back if I find anything out.

    EDIT: I should have checked the next google result first. Disable Keyboard failure reporting in the BIOS setup. You'll still get the error, but it only lasts about 1 second, and you don't have to press F1. Oh, and replace your case fan first :)
  20. Gord

    Gord TS Rookie

    Yes I can agree with benthere this is NOT a hardware problem -- I inspected the fans they were all working fine (actually my pet theory is that a fan I had outside pointing at the back of the box may have been turning the power supply fan the wrong way?) anyway rebooted a bunch and fiddled here and there and honestly don't know what the pivital action was but the message stopped and the comp is running better than ever (?) anyway good luck all!
  21. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,182   +469

    One of my older PCs is a Dell 8250. It had a fan failure after about a year or less after I got it. The same message as you got, Gord. In my case before I could decide what to do, Dell called me first. Evidently they had a lot of such failures with a batch of fans. They sent a contractor out to my house and replaced the CPU fan at no cost. Lucky me, I guess. :)
  22. SaborL

    SaborL TS Rookie

    Previous fan error

    Okay, I think this post might be the answer to your questions. I myself have a Dimension 3000 and when I replaced the fan because it was too loud, THATS when I got the same error message as you. Previous Fan error, press F1 to continue, or F2 for setup. Try this: press F2 for setup. once you're in setup there should be something that says 'Report keyboard errors'. Go there and use the arrow key to put "DO NOT report keyboard errors." That should work. Know why? Because I had been at it for months and THAT got rid of the error. Let me know if this works.
  23. DOSCPU

    DOSCPU TS Rookie

    I also have a Dell Dimension 4550 and have been getting the same fan failure error message for well over a year now. It seems to me it doesn't mean the fan is still failing but that it has previously failed at least once in the past. I went into setup utility to one of the options that made note of such errors and marked them all as "read". My computer subsequently shut down and I got the same message upon rebooting it. I've been planning on rebuilding my pc and figured it's be best to get a new fan in the process if nothing else to get rid of that error message.
  24. SolarisXguy

    SolarisXguy TS Rookie

    Fan Error

    Hi all.

    1. The error comes if at any time ever you have turned your PC on while the CPU Fan was NOT plugged in, or not reporting a signal. AKA busted.

    2. Dell fans, much like the rest of dells parts are all custom fit. Their Power supplies (or most of them) have a different pin setup and the fans have a unique shaped fan attachment. I had to rip the piece out of the motherboard, leaving just the 3 bare wires sticking out. I stuck a standard fan onto it, everything works great. A CMOS reset does nothing, so there must be another backup somewhere. Your PC should run fine after the reported error is skipped/passed, unless you actually had a fan error and thus a heat problem.

    3. I won my dell at work, and even then, I paid too much for it.

    Just some insight.
  25. herbiepopnecker

    herbiepopnecker TS Rookie

    Confirmed Dell Hater Says: Go to Dell support after all is said and done and update the BIOS. Then the message will go away permanently.

    ... after hacking together a Dell connector and off the shelf fan and pissing about in the BIOS settings for half a day...

    (better yet, smash it to bits with a hammer and build one with off the shelf parts)
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