Right now my fans have been spinning for a couple of hours.

However, the cpu usage is low, nothing seems to be running, spotlight is not indexing, all the diagnostics i can think of tell me not much is happening except i have a few connections open.

I know the fans turn on because of heat, and indeed the heat is high on my laptop right now. Yet, I don't see an actual cause for this. What am I missing in my search?

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    when you check Activity Monitor for CPU usage, are you making sure to set the dropdown to All Processes, not just user ones? sometimes the runaway process isn't one of yours. also, what kind of surface is the laptop on? a hard, level surface is best. you'll want to avoid soft places like a bed or pillow or blanket, as these can block the vent along the back and hamper proper airflow. – Gauzy Jul 29 '11 at 0:37
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    i usually use htop or syslog -w in the shell to see what's happening, Perhaps there is dust back there, I'll check that next. – chiggsy Jul 30 '11 at 3:05

You might want to download Temperature Monitor (free). It will help determine which part of your system is hot (CPU? GPU?), and when things warm up.

I also recommend you investigate your logs using Console (found in your Applications/Utilities folder) to see if there are any unusual errors which seem to correspond with the temperature spikes.

I would shut down, let it cool off, and observe the logs/temperature after restart to see when the fans kick in again.

Good luck.

  • I'll give that a shot, the analysis. I know when the fans spin up, its just that that level of activity should show up somewhere... – chiggsy Jul 30 '11 at 3:03

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