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Why Does My Laptop Overheat?

If you use your laptop regularly you're probably used to the fact that it gets hot while running. What's not normal or desired is the laptop to get too hot and overheat. Overheating is a concern and should be addressed sooner rather than later to prevent permanent damage. This article will discuss the issue of overheating and steps to be taken to resolve this unwanted occurrence.

Overheating laptops may be caused by clogged vents and fans, programs consuming too much power and memory, and possibly malware or virus infections.

Why does a laptop get hot?

You laptop getting too hot or overheating can be caused by several factors. One of the first diagnostics procedures should be to look for and remove a build up of dust.
The laptop's fan collects dust due to it's running so much of the time. The fan speed is controlled by a temperature control system, which adjusts the speed of the fan according to the temperature of the laptop.

Refer to your specific laptop's manual to learn how to gain access to the fan. You either remove the back cover or keyboard. Only do so it it can be done safely and won't void any warranty.

Once you open up the laptop and can see the fan, blow out the dust collected in and around the fan with a can of compressed air. Optionally, try blowing out the dust with your lung power if you don't have access to compressed air. Make sure to clear the fan and the vents around the fan.

You want to make sure the fan can move freely and is not obstructed.

Some programs such as games, video editors or other processor intensive applications place a high demand on the laptop's components. These demands draw power and therefore result in a hot computer. Eventually, this heat could build up until the laptop overheats.
Open the Task Manager in Windows then select Processes to view all the running processes. Identify which programs/processes are using the most CPU, and close these if possible.

A BIOS or firmware upgrade might be in order. Again, check the manufacturer's website for any new and available BIOS updates to your laptop. Follow the recommendations on how and when to apply this update.  Sometimes these updates have improvements that specifically apply to power usage.
Malware and/or viruses are also something to consider when diagnosing overheating issues. Some of these unwanted programs run in the background and may stress hardware as well. Search for and install a malware removal tool or run a virus scan on your operating system.

How can I prevent my laptop from overheating?

When you experience overheating on your laptop there are a few steps to take to remedy the situation.
  • First is to let the machine sit and powered off for awhile just to get it back to normal operating temperatures
  • Check the vents and clean the fans. Visit the manufacturer's website and look up you model. Next, find a reference or manual on how to access the fan. This should tell you how to safely remove the case and not void any warranty
  • After that, make sure you always place the machine on a flat hard surface where it receives good airflow
  • Also think about investing in a cooling pad. This is a device that the laptop sits on to help dispel hot air
  • Run a malware and virus scan. Malware runs in the background and can cause issues with your laptop
  • Check the current hard-drive, if it's getting too hot consider upgrading it to a solid state drive(SSD). SSD's don't have moving parts and run cooler than traditional drives
  • Look at how and what programs you run. High intensity programs such as games will naturally demand more power and resources, and therefore cause the laptop to run hotter
According to TechAdvisor

Best CPU temperatures

At idle: expect temperatures between 35 and 50°C (95-122F)
Playing games: expect temps. to rise to 60-85°C (140-185F)

What happens if my laptop overheats?

When your laptop gets extremely hot and overheats a common result is it to shutdown or just turn off. It's best to wait several minutes for it to cool down before attempting to power it back up. Permanent damage could occur to the hardware if you continually exceed their limitations and specifications.

You might also experience the following issues when the computer overheats:
  • The fan runs at it's highest speed
  • Basic OS programs or applications respond slowly or take more time to complete than normal
  • The screen can flash or pixelate
  • Errors pop up on the screen from the operating system
  • Games appear slow or stop responding when playing
  • The laptops exterior is very hot to the touch

What's the takeaway?

Nobody wants their laptop to overheat. Take the necessary steps as described above to remedy such issues.  With good care and maintenance of your computer it should not only last for a long time, but also run smoothly without issue. Remember to power off, check the vents and fans, and close any excessive open programs.

READ NEXT: Lenovo Diagnostics Tools


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