Sony Vaio PCV-RX... fan runs always

Sony PCV-RX490TV main fan now incorrectly keeps running continuously after being powered up from cold, with computer left completely idle.  Fan used to run at full speed when computer was booted from cold and would immediately slow down to a whisper when Windows ME came into operation.  Computer is working fine otherwise.  There is no indication of overheating.

If one of you experts could explain in enough detail all the sensors and all the software used to control the fan speed, we should be able to easily diagnose the source of the problem.  We have test equipment, including VOM.
ESQuicksallAsked:
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DoTheDEW335Commented:
Was anything changed? There are a few things that I can think of. 1 The bios settings have changed, 2 The inside is getting dirty and causing the case to heat up faster and the sensor detects it and automatically controls the fan to stay on to keep it cooler. I would try cleaning out the case and maybe resetting the bios.
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winstonepCommented:
Either BIOS settings have changed (or even BIOS corrupted) or faulty connections are the most likely causes. Getting the latest BIOS flash update for the PC is a good starting point. Then check the BIOS settings for any fan operation settings. there is usually something there.
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rindiCommented:
If you have installed SP2 for XP recently and don't have sufficiant RAM it could just mean your PC is doing more, keeping it hot and causing the fans to run continuosly. Try to add RAM to the system or  uninstall SP2 to find out if that is the case.
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winstonepCommented:
Rindi, how could it possibly be this if the PC is started from cold? I've never noticed RAM getting hot from over work unless its over clocked. Putting extra RAM in there anyway wouldn't do any harm just as re-seating the RAM wouldn't do any harm.

Its the BIOS, power management settings or a dodgy fan sensor that are the most likely causes of this problem.

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ESQuicksallAuthor Commented:
BTW, by a "cold boot", I mean the computer is off overnight and it is actually cold.
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rindiCommented:
winstonep, I'm trying to say that Windows XP SP2 is quite a bit more resource hungry than SP1 used to be. I have a system which worked OK with 128MB of RAM before I upgraded it to SP2. After the upgrade it was slow, and did a lot of swapping, it was really "stressed". Such stress will get the CPU to overheat quickly, and it doesn't really matter if it was off for long or not. Electronic PArts can heat up fast. After adding RAM it ran OK again. Even if you boot it from cold, it heats up quick.
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ESQuicksallAuthor Commented:
This all happens within the first few seconds so there is no chance of overheating. Please read the original question again.
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winstonepCommented:
Fair enough but if the PC is cold the fan won't start immediately up if what you say is true. The OS won't even start booting for a few seconds will it? If the fan starts going as soon as the PC is switched on even if the PC is cold, then its nothing to do with the OS, memory or processor.
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winstonepCommented:
My answer should have come before the original posters (ESQuicksall) to make sense! As you say in the original question, it can't be anything to do with overheating at this stage.
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rindiCommented:
Normally the Fan startsup as soon as you turn a PC on. The reason for this is to test the funktioning of the f an. Then, if the heat doesn't build up quickly, the fan will throttle itself down. If on the other hand the heat builds up faster than normal, the fan will keep on running at full speed.
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winstonepCommented:
Yes but the heat won't build up this quickly even when its stressed as you say. I've seen a Sony Vaio with XP SP2 recently and it did not have this problem. The PC won't heat up quickly enough for the fan to be needed in a few seconds. I have NEVER seen any laptop need the fan before 20-30 minutes and I work with laptops everyday.
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ESQuicksallAuthor Commented:
Winstonep, I am totally agreed with your reasoning.  The original question was intended to make it clear that there was no real heating problem and that the op sys was Win ME (not XP).  It appears that the problem has to be in the way the fan is being controlled by the bios or by Win ME.  So far there is nothing apparent in the Award bios which has anything to do with temperature or fan.  It is possible that Win ME is supposed to be running some resident program to monitor temperature and control fan speed.  Possibly the a registry Run entry for such a program has been accidentally deleted in the process of a spyware cleanup.  Can anyone advise the specific item(s) in bios to look for and/or the specific program/task(s) in Win ME to look for in Task Manager.

We have downloaded the programs Motherboard Monitorv5370 and SpeedFan v417 and will get to see if these shed any light on the problem.  There are the questions:  Are all hardware sensors of temperature and fan speed working normally?  Are the hardware control switch(s) for the fan working normally?  We know that the fan is working fine because it keeps blowing cool air at high speed.  At this point it is not clear whether the problem is in the bios/software or in the hardware sensor(s)/actuator(s) or in the connections thereto.  Does anyone know of test points which could be probed with a digital VOM to check operation of sensors and actuators?
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winstonepCommented:
There may be a section for hardware monitoring in the BIOS. In ASUS motherboard BIOS, there is often a fan control option. Or there is a program that is provided by the board manufacturer that controls fan speed, whether its permanently  on etc. There might be a program that Sony offers to allow you to control it. If there is nothing on the PC, its worth looking at the Sony website or looking for any programs on CDs that came with the PC.
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ESQuicksallAuthor Commented:
Sony has an update http://ciscdb.sel.sony.com/perl/swu-download.pl?template=EN&upd_id=138&os_id=4&mdl=PCVRX490TV, captioned:

Fan Runs Continuously After Connecting To The Network And Restarting
Operating System: Microsoft® Windows® Me

This may or may not be related to the problem.  The system is not connecting to a network, but the network settings will have to be checked.  They may have gotten changed in the spyware cleanout.

There is also a a bios update for this computer and Windows ME, but that is not related to the cause of the problem because that computer was previously working correctly with its original bios:  http://ciscdb.sel.sony.com/perl/swu-download.pl?template=EN&upd_id=142&os_id=4&mdl=PCVRX490TV
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ESQuicksallAuthor Commented:
The source of the problem was a bug in the Sony software.  According to Sony  "Fan Runs Continuously After Connecting To The Network And Restarting".  Although there was no real network, spyware had made it appear that there was a network connection.  Correctly reconfiguring the network for TCP bound to Dialup adatper and deleting all other unused networking hardware cleared the problem.  The fan now slows down to normal quiet operation after the momentary initial high speed operation.

After that, the Sony fix for Win ME,  http://ciscdb.sel.sony.com/perl/swu-download.pl?template=EN&upd_id=138&os_id=4&mdl=PCVRX490TV was installed.  Note that there is a different fix for Windows XP, which would have to be installed in the event of upgrade to XP.

winstonep took all of the provided information correctly into account, was reasoning correctly, was on the right track and probably would have come up with the correct solution if he followed up by reading through the updates at the Sony site.  The points are being awarded to him.
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