How to Fix an Overheating Laptop: 3 Key Tips and Solutions

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How to Fix an Overheating Laptop: 3 Key Tips and Solutions

Your laptop packs a lot of computing power and storage into a small package. This degree of efficiency has a cost: excessive heat. Except for coffee, the most serious hazard to your laptop is overheating. It has the potential to cause hardware failure and irreparable harm.

Let’s look at ways to avoid or repair an overheated laptop in order to optimize its performance and longevity.

The Basics of Overheating Computers

Just because your laptop seems to be hot does not imply that it is overheating.

How Do You Know Your Laptop Is Overheating?

When you hear your computer’s fan running at full speed all the time, you know it’s overheating. You may also notice lower performance since current CPUs may decrease clock speed to prevent heat stress. Furthermore, the fail-safe software may cause a quick shutdown in order to avoid hardware damage.

You may use a program like HWMonitor to measure the real heat values inside your laptop (shown above).

This may also identify which element of your laptop is overheating. Typically, the central processing unit (CPU) or graphics processing unit (GPU) are the ones that overheat the most. Onboard graphics laptops may not show distinct GPU temps.

Why Is Your Laptop Overheating?

Your laptop is overheating because of insufficient cooling.

Dust clogging intake grills or exhaust ports, a blocked fan, or degenerating thermal paste or thermal pad are all possible causes.

A thermal pad, also known as thermal paste, is a heat-conductive substance that links the CPU or GPU to the metal heat sink, which transfers heat away from the processor units and generally to a cooling fan.

You can solve all of these items yourself, but some may be more difficult than others. Read on if you need a fast repair but lack the ability to de-lid your CPU or GPU and apply new thermal compound.

Can a Fanless Laptop With Passive Cooling Overheat?

To manage heat, fanless laptops employ passive cooling methods such as dispersing heat throughout the whole metal body or lowering CPU clock rates.

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If you can’t hear a fan or see intake or exhaust grills, your laptop is probably using passive cooling. This means that your laptop will not overheat, but you may notice a decrease in performance as heat stress increases.

There’s not much you can do since laptops with passive cooling don’t have fans. However, by managing the extra heat with external cooling, you may regain processing power lost due to CPU throttling. Skip down to the section about cooling pads.

Also check: Things You Must Do With a Brand New Laptop

How to Stop Your Laptop From Overheating

Several simple hardware fixes can cure overheating.

1. Fix Internal Cooling

Laptop Air Intake Grill Exhaust Ports Bottom
Image Credit: Tina Sieber

When your laptop overheats, the first and most crucial thing to do is clean the fan(s) that cool the CPU and graphics card. They accumulate layers of filth and dust over time, slowing them down and blocking airflow. To learn how to open your laptop and access and clean these components, see the handbook or the manufacturer.

However, before you begin cleaning, do the following steps:

  1. Shut down the computer
  2. Unplug all cables
  3. Take out the battery (if possible)
  4. Ground yourself
Laptop Bottom Cover Removed Exposing Internal Fans
Image Credit: Tina Sieber

When you’re finished, take a thorough look at your laptop, both inside and exterior, and clean the following areas:

  • If you can open your laptop, use a cotton swab soaked in isopropyl alcohol to clean the fan(s). Before reconnecting the laptop to the power, be sure the alcohol has entirely evaporated.
  • A vacuum cleaner may also be used to clear dust and grime from the fan (s).Allowing a fan to whirl in the incorrect direction might cause harm. If you wish to clean a fan with canned air, stop it from spinning by holding it down.
  • Then, using a vacuum cleaner, clean the exhaust port. It is normally found on the side of the laptop, however it may also be found on the rear. Exhaust ports, unlike intake grills, emit warm or hot air, making them easier to locate.
  • External intake grills protect the fans that draw cooler air into the laptop. They may be placed on the notebook’s sides or at the bottom. Spray canned air into the intake grills to clear them.
  • Finally, reapply thermal grease to the contact between the CPU and GPU as well as the heat sink. Please refer to the laptop’s handbook or the manufacturer for information on removing these components.
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Laptop Internal Cooling Fan
Image Credit: Tina Sieber

If you use a MacBook or an iMac, see our advice on removing dust from those devices. Furthermore, Inside My Laptop provides some excellent lessons on laptop repair, such as how to apply thermal grease to your laptop’s CPU.

2. Keep the Laptop on a Hard and Flat Surface

Bamboo Laptop Stand Lap Desk
Image Credit: Tina Sieber

If your laptop’s intake grills are located at the bottom, uneven surfaces such as a blanket, pillow, or your lap will restrict airflow. As a result, cooling is impeded, heat accumulates, your laptop surfaces get heated, the internal temperature rises, and the laptop finally overheats.

This situation can easily avoided by keeping the laptop on a firm and level surface. You may use something as basic as a tray, or you can get a specialized laptop holder or lap stand.

Personally, I use this portable bamboo laptop desk.

3. Invest in a Laptop Cooler or Cooling Pad

Laptop coolers are designed to give extra cooling. Choosing the incorrect cooler, on the other hand, might exacerbate the situation. As a result, before choosing a cooler, you should be aware of the airflow into and out of your laptop.

As previously stated, most laptops draw cooling air from the bottom. This makes reasonable since hot air rises. A cooler that rests underneath the laptop and suckes air away from it, on the other hand, does not contribute to laptop cooling and instead increases overheating.

If your laptop has bottom intake grills, use a cooler that blows cool air upwards, into the laptop. You may also acquire a passive cooler, which consumes no power and just absorbs heat.

  How to Silence a Noisy Laptop Fan: 7 Things You Can Do

You can make your own laptop cooler or cooling pad if you’re handy. We even identified a solution that would cost you less than $5!

Can You Fix Laptop Overheating with Software?

If none of the hardware solutions provide long-term benefits, you may resort to software adjustments to boost your laptop’s performance and battery consumption. However, controlling high heat using software involves sacrificing performance in order to save the hardware.

You may either lower the brightness of your screen or the clock speed of your CPU. Underclocking or undervolting is done in the BIOS in Windows, but it may also be managed using software programs.

Is Your MacBook Air Overheating? Tips & Tricks for Cooling Off

Protect Your Laptop From Overheating

Even if your gadget shows no obvious signs of overheating, it’s a good idea to clean its vents and fans on a regular basis to minimize dust accumulation. To be extra cautious, always position your laptop on a sturdy and level surface.

Using a laptop cushion when surfing on the couch not only ensures optimum ventilation but also reduces the quantity of dust that enters and clogs vents and fans. If you think you need a new cooling system for your PC, have a look at our list of the finest ones.

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