Ever since I got my Dell Inspiron back the fan goes on and off. I think it might be the BIOS. I'm running Windows XP. Is there a safe way to fix this?
What was your laptop away for? I'm assuming that means it was repaired for something? Is the fan now on more than it used to be or less than you think it should be?
There could be a bios setting to let you control this, and you'll just need to enter the bios and see if you can find the setting to change and see if it helps. There's really not much to mess up there, just make one change at a time then see if it helps.
Assuming your computer is still under warranty, I'd contact their support though, especially if you think the recent servicing changed things.
When you first boot your pc, before the Windows splash screen appears, you should see something from Dell that will usually indicate "Press (a certain key) to enter setup (or Bios)" On my pc, it's the DEL key, but it's also often the F2 key. See this list here that has a lot of Dell codes http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/bios_manufacturer.htm if it's not clearly displayed on your computer.
Then it's just a matter of exploring to see if there's a setting to control your fan speed, making the change, then exiting and rebooting your machine.
As I said though, I'd check w/Dell first since they just had your machine and they should be able to tell you if this is changeable or not.
I suspect he will not even be able to see these values in the BIOS. Usually major manufacturers like Dell, HP simply disable certain features from their BIOS to prevent tinkering, reduce space allocation (yes, you better believe) and other cost related reasons.