Curing Laptop Overheating ProblemsThe solution to a laptop overheating problem can often be as simple as making some small changes to the way you use your machine, and maybe carrying out some basic maintenance.ContentsHow to Recognise OverheatingIdentifying the CauseLet Your Laptop BreatheKeep it Clean
Solving an overheating problem with a laptop PC is very much like solving any other kind of problem. First you need to understand the cause of the problem and then the solution will probably suggest itself.Start by asking yourself this basic question: Is it your machine that is overheating, or is it simply getting too hot for comfort?
The manufacturers all call these machines notebooks – it is only us users that persist in calling them laptops. There is good reason for that. Most modern notebook PCs run far too hot to be used on a lap in comfort for more than a few minutes.In fact, using them in this way can cause health problems and most manufacturers provide specific warnings against using their machines on a lap.If your laptop runs too hot for you to use on your lap this doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with the machine. If that is the problem, the solution is to move the machine on to a laptop tray or on to a desktop. As general rule: make yourself comfortable before you consider the needs of the machine.How to Recognise OverheatingIf your laptop is overheating you will experience symptoms that include:
1. The machine’s cooling fans will work continuously and noisily at maximum speed.2. The laptop will suddenly shut down by itself without warning, perhaps after only 5 to 10 minutes of operation.3. The laptop will work fine when it is idling, but will shut down soon after you start to use any software that makes the processor work hard (3D Games, movie players, image or video editing software, etc.).
If you have any of these symptoms then it is reasonable to assume that your laptop has got an overheating problem, and the next thing is to try to understand what is causing it.Identifying the Cause
Of course, your laptop may have a fault or, in some rare cases, a design problem that means that you will need to speak to your dealer. But the most common explanation by far is either one or both of these:
1. You are using your laptop in a way that is preventing the cooling system from working properly.
2. Your laptop’s cooling system is clogged with dirt and dust.The good news in both cases is that it is really easy to fix. There is no need to return your machine to the manufacturer and no need for big repair bills. My suggestion is that you try the solutions here before you assume anything else.
Let Your Laptop BreatheMost people spend so much time looking at their screens that they very rarely look at the laptop itself. Take a careful look at it now and see if you can identify two things:
1. The cooling fan exhaust port.
This is usually on the side of the machine and easy to find when it is running because it blows hot air out over your hand.
2. The air intake grills.These are usually just a set of slots in the casing that will let air into the machine. They are not so obvious and are sometime located on the side, but most likely these days
they will be on the bottom.
Neither part is very exciting to look at, but they are among the most essential parts of your machine. If they are blocked up the machine will shut down very quickly shortly afterwards.Most of the time, this is where the problem lies.The components inside your laptop generate a lot of heat as they work. Your laptop’s cooling system removes this heat by sucking cool air through the input grills and passing it around all the hot components inside. The resulting hot air is then blown out of the exhaust port. The cooling system does this continuously all the time your machine operates and, as long as nothing happens to interrupt the flow of air, nothing more is needed to keep the machine coolThe trouble is that, shortly after they discover that a laptop runs too hot to use on directly on their lap, many people simply move the machine to a cushion, to the couch, or to the carpet.As soon as they do that, guess what? They start to block up the cooling system air intakes and a little while after that their machine starts to overheat.Of course, as soon as you realise what is going on, the solution is obvious too. Simply move the machine to a flat, hard surface that will allow the cooling air to circulate. Works like magic in most cases.Keep it CleanYou probably remember from science lessons that one of the things about moving hot dry air is that it quickly builds up a static charge in objects around it. When this happens inside your laptop any particles of dust or dirt that pass through the air intake grills will stick as if it had been glued to the inside surfaces.As the particles do this, they begin to build-up an insulating layer that stops the cooling system from working. This insulation is so effective that it can cause serious overheating problems quite quickly. Again, the solution is obvious: clean the cooling system out and then keep it clean.Doing this is an easy procedure and it doesn’t need you to dismantle your machine or to do anything that will invalidate your warranty. You need two things:
1. An aerosol air duster (available from all good PC Stores).2. A vacuum cleaner with a crevice tool.The procedure is quite simple:1. Make sure that the laptop is switched off and disconnected from any power source before you begin.2. Use the air duster to dislodge the dust by blowing through the intake grills and exhaust ports.3. At the same time suck the loose dust up with the vacuum cleaner.
This should be all that is needed in most cases. However, some machines, like my Acer, have an easy to remove cover over the cooling fan. Taking this off can provide better access to the cooling fan and that can make a difference if it is badly clogged.You should check to see what removing this panel will do to your warranty, and you must take care because some sensitive components may be exposed to damage.If this maintenance clean works for you, repeat the process every three months or so to keep your laptop’s cooling system in good working order without the need of a powered cooling tray or any other special gadget.If it doesn’t solve the problem then it is likely that the build up of dust and dirt is quite serious and you need to go a little deeper into the machine to remove it.
don’t forget to drop your comments if you find this useful
expect more from