Today, overheating laptop is the biggest problem especially with aging one. But most of the people don’t know how to fix overheating laptop. The probable cause of this ignorance is the complex structure of laptop. Today modern laptop’s hardware is packed in slimmer box. This is why a slight increase in CPU temperature raises concern about overheating laptop. Now a days, laptops have become even more powerful with the addition of GPU’s, which is why a little increase in heat results in laptop overheating.
But if you ignore and do not fix overheating laptop than it can cause failure of hardware, blue screen of death or even data loss. But here in this guide we will step by step demonstrate how to prevent and fix overheating laptop or notebook. This post primarily deals with laptop overheating issues but many of the same principles also apply to desktop computers as well.
But first, it is very important to know the basics of computer overheating.
What Causes Laptop Overheating
In the computer world – DUST is the Enemy
With the passage of time dust and dirt particles block the air vents, fan and exhaust port of the laptop. It result in less air flow which means insufficient cooling. The provision of less fresh air in system causes overheating laptop problem. When it come to laptop overheating graphics card overheating also plays it vital role. Another cause of overheating laptop is the dried thermal paste. The degenerated thermal grease between heat sink and CPU dries out over time thus causing the CPU temperature to overheat more quickly. To fix overheating laptop you should apply fresh thermal paste in heat sink. If you don’t have required skills to de-lid your CPU and apply thermal paste, then read on.
How To Fix Overheating Laptop
Now it’s time to show you how you can fix overheating laptop, step-by-step.
Before you start fixing your overheating laptop it’s advisable that you make a backup of all your data files on a separate portable device. Also while fixing laptop overheating you will need following tools to carry on this process.
- A holder to keep the screws from getting lost.
- Thermal grease or compound. You can get it from your local computer hardware shop
- Screwdrivers that fit the screws on the back of your specific laptop.
- Earbud/cotton swabs.
- Wooden tongue depressor to scrape the old thermal paste off.
- Tooth brush.
- Isopropyl alcohol wipes and
- Rubber gloves (optional)
Step 1: Find Heat Source
The first thing you should do while fix overheating laptop is to find where the heat is coming from. For that.
Check Internal Air Flow and Heat Transfer
All laptops have air vent from where they expel hot air. When these vents are closed they cause obstruction in heat transfer. So first of all you must locate where are these air vents. Some laptop have these vents on the bottom, like this. And some old models have these vents on back of their side.
If you upside down your laptop, you can see multiple intake and outflow vents. They help mitigate computer overheating problem by inhaling cool air and exhaling hot air. The fresh air keeps the PC temperature remains low.
Now what you need to do is to run some applications to check if the airflow in air vents is properly working. Put you hand in front of air vent and if you’re not feeling pressure of airflow than there is a problem. Commonly it’s dust and debris which accumulates in air vents and blocks it causing computer overheating problem. But, it can be solvable. You can clean out this dust, for that just upside down your laptop and see what you can do initially.
The easiest way you have is to use air blower or can of compressed air to clean vent. But if your laptop is one, where fan is easily accessible through removing panels. Then unscrew these panels to take fan out of the casing so you can blow dust even better.
Also don’t forget to clean the area where fan sits.
And if you feel that laptop fan noise is irritating or it’s spinning erratically, then put some drop of machine oil or contact cleaner to keep it running. This way you can reduce the awkward laptop fan noise or spinning of fan. If the overheating laptop problem persists and your fans doesn’t spin properly. Than note down the model number of laptop fan or search it on internet, try to find spare fan on amazon or eBay.
Check and if Necessary Remove Dying Battery
There are different types of laptop batteries out there in market, along with it the thoughts on maintenance and lifespan of batteries also differs. But one thing is clear that batteries are not meant to charged up to 100% otherwise they also cause overheating laptop problem. Most users are doing this mistake that they always keep the charger in even when laptop is idle. This habit reduces battery life, as is efficiency get slower and finally dies. These kind of batteries also generate a great deal of heat.
In order to fix overheating laptop you have one easy solution, that is to get rid of bad batteries and find replacement. Just search online the model number of laptop battery and purchase it. If you can’t find spare battery than remove it completely and try to run it as desktop. By deducting battery from overheating laptop equation you can fix laptop overheating problem.
Step 2: Remove Old Thermal paste and Apply New
As already explained dried thermal paste is major cause of CPU overheating which also effects other components. So in order to remove old thermal paste use cleanser called ArctiClean or high-percentage rubbing alcohol. Just apply a drop or two to the old material and let it sit for a minute while the cleaner breaks up the grease in the thermal paste. Then use the Isopropyl alcohol wipes or an earbud dipped in Isopropyl alcohol to remove the dried thermal grease.
Once you have removed old thermal grease, now it’s time apply thermal paste. Arctic Silver 5 and Arctic Silver Ceramique are two popular thermal paste, you can use any one of them. There you need to place a very small blob of thermal grease on CPU, then spread it evenly in all directions. Do not apply too much thermal paste as it will not cause better heat conduction but might even cause more laptop overheating.
Still Laptop is Overheating
If you are still facing overheating problem even after cleaning air vent and replacing bad battery. Then you have more working to do on your laptop. Now check your hard drive if it’s dusty then clean it. Sometimes dusty hard drive also cause data loss and overheating laptop issues. Also clean other parts of laptop as best as you can before you move on to second step.
Step 3: Lighten the Load
If you think that hardware is not the culprit to cause laptop overheating. Then there are some tricks which you can use to check if it’s software or processing load causing increase in CPU temperature. Run windows task manager and see which app is using more CPU memory. This program will help you to limit apps which automatically starts with Windows.
On the contrary, you can also run process explorer to see which files are open during certain process. This program will give you and idea that what applications are to be closed or spare. CCleaner has worth to mention here because it allows you to clean history and cache files. You can also manage your startup applications quickly and easily with CCleaner. This way you can free some space resulting efficiency of OS increases.
Step 4: Look for Behavior Changes
No doubt laptop does give users freedom to use it where ever they want but it has also changed our habits. Uneven surfaces, like a blanket, pillow, or your lap, obstruct laptop’s airflow because in most laptops vents are situated on bottom. This habit impairs cooling in result laptop temperature goes up. The uneven surface eventually adds up in laptop overheating problem.
Invest in a Laptop Cooler or Cooling Pad To Reduce Overheating Laptop Problem
The purpose of Laptop coolers is to provide additional fresh cooling. However, getting the wrong laptop cooler can actually make the overheating problem worse. Before you purchase a laptop cooler, you need to understand the flow of air into and out of your laptop.
As mentioned above, most laptops suck in fresh air for cooling from the bottom. This makes sense because warm air rises upwards. However, a laptop cooler that sits underneath the laptop and sucks air away from it, does not contribute to laptop cooling and rather accelerates laptop overheating.
If your laptop has intake grills at its bottom, purchase a laptop cooler pad that blows cool air upwards, i.e. into the laptop. You can also get a passive cooler that does not consume power and merely absorbs heat. These days laptop cooling pad are coming in powered versions which directly throws cool air from underside. Some even come with USB hubs and other bells and whistles.
Step 5: Re-purpose the Laptop
Finally, if you cannot fix overheating laptop or use it as laptop then consider re-purposing it. It’s compact motherboard is adjustable in small computer cases. These kinds of rigs are great for in-drawer HTPCs, closet-servers, or under-the-desk mounted workstations. Be more careful while exposing the internal component because depending on the room, it can cut down on dust problems. You can also regulate air flow a bit better and mount some standard computer fans in clever places, like in the back and sides of the drawer or desk.
What techniques you use while cleaning and fix overheating laptop? If you have any other method to fix laptop overheating than share with us……