Welcome to the world of Apple and Macs.
Not good to be "clueless". Nor is there such a thing as a "silly question".
Suggest purchasing one of the many helpful manuals for understanding and using Mac OS X. Visit one of the national book stores and have a look at the selection in the Computer section. Buy the one that makes most sense to your level of understanding. The manual will offer guidance about system maintenance, efficiency, shortcuts, and general system operation.
To the matter at hand:
Heat is a function of how much usage is occurring with the system processor. If you are running a memory intensive program, such as Photoshop, the fans may come on to reduce the unit's heat. If you are not running a memory intensive program, then you may need to perform some system maintenance.
At some point, I suggest you upgrade to 10.4.5.
Please post back.
It seems like there is nothing to worry about.... but perhaps you could provide more details.. does the computer still function after it gets hot? does it still wake from sleep when it is that hot?
You could also try going into Energy Saver (System Preferences > Energy Saver) and changing some of your settings for optimized thermal conditions, which is related to how much power your computer uses.
OK. So it seems that the heat buildup is not a function of general operation.
The most effective maintenance is having a backup strategy. Have a look at Dr. Smokes very useful information page for details.
There are two articles that look at system maintenance from different points of view, yet each provides background information about why it's essential for the smooth operation of the computer.
Macworlds article can be found here
Dr. Smokes X - Lab article can be found here
My programs of choice for System Maintenance is OnyX
Disk Utility: Apple has created this application in part to identify potential file corruption in the system. To rule out any potential directory file problems, run Disk Utility, found in your Utility folder. When the panel appears, select your hard drive. Then go to the "first aid" panel and select on the bottom right "verify disk". If an error condition occurs, you'll have to boot from the Installer DVD, accessing Disk Utility from the Installer Menu. Same step as above, except you would select "repair disk". Continue to rerun until you get a clean pass.
Before undertaking any maintenance I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the above referenced articles. Sometimes, file problems in the operating system can overtax a system creating unnecessary processor activity. Performing maintenance techniques can help reduce these problems.
When you feel complete with this thread, please mark as "solved" so others know your post has been answered.
This is really beginning to worry me. I have the laptop perched on a pedestal so air can circulate all around and the fan is still whizzing away. The only thing that I have added is a USB hub for my mouse and printer.
As you suggest, I changed the battery from high performance to Better Battery Life and the Adaptor for Better Energy Savings. It was on High Performance. I presume that's what you meant by "optimized thermal conditions."
It has stopped whizzing, but I can't keep it perched because it's hard to use. The fan however is annoying and I think I smell burning, but that could be my imagination. I am so grateful that you have taken up my post.
Everything works fine. No operating problems.
Did the fan noise subside after you changed the processor setting to automatic? Not sure what you mean by "whizzing".
Burning smell is never a good thing. Can you detect an odor now?
You really don't need to keep the machine perched. In fact, I put a thin piece of wood (ruler thin) underneath my iBook which allows air to move underneath. The only time I hear my fan is if the screen saver is on for more than 10 minutes.
As an aside, I'm using a screen saver called Fluid. Great motion options, however, the current version (2) has some Tiger operation problems, which causes the fans to come on. The developer is fixing these as they work on a Universal binary version - version 3.
When this thread is complete, appreciate if you could mark "solved" next to my name.
I am so perplexed. By whizzing, I just mean I hear the fan. I'm sound sensitive and the noise bothers me. I am struggling like crazy to finish a book and I'm paniky that I'll have to take the computer in or something. Days for repair would make me SO stressed. I'll keep it perched to see if the fan comes on and then put it back on the desk. I keep it on for hours, but just last week I was working on the dining room table with nothing under it and no fan noises.
I am so grateful for your feedback.
Starman: I want to backup a documents folder on my iDisk that I purchased on .MAC so if anything happens I'll have access to my book material. I have the Backup program set to back up things automatically, but I see something called "incremental packages," which mean nothing to me. I presumed they would be used to reinstall on the computer somehow. What I want to do it back up my entire document folder on the iDisk. I tried copying and pasting but that didn't work.
Hmmmm. I don't use .Mac so I'm not sure what you're seeing and where? Is the Incremental Package on your desktop, or included in the user folders created by .Mac. Have you enabled "synch" on your System Preference/.Mac panel? Please post back.
In a pinch you can always create a CD backup of your document.
That's what I finally decided to do: burn a disk.
Clearly I need to take time to learn how this works, but I've been so busy that I just respond to emergencies.
I'll figure out how to do it the fancy way later.
I actually dragged the folder to the iDisk icon and got an error message 43.
So, later I'll figure out what that means.
No, I guess I haven't done that because I don't know where it is. I looked on .Mac and found no help on the help page.
Gosh, I feel so inept. The iBook has saved me from a lot of Windows-based headaches, but I know nothing about all the "stuff" I've signed up for.
Can't learn it now because the book is due and won't need it so much later when the book is done.
Hear me screaming ?
Don't know if this would apply to your situation but the fan on my iBook was doing exactly what you have described AFTER I replaced the battery. I simply reset the Power Management Unit (PMU) and it solved the problem immediately. The fan came on only one other time since but only for a short period of time (as in a few minutes). Found the instructions for resetting the PMU for my particular unit at the following: <http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=14449>
Hope this helps.
Dual USB iBook Mac OS X (10.3.9)