Today, overheating laptops are the biggest problem. Especially with an aging one. But most people don’t know how to fix the overheating laptop. The probable cause of this ignorance is the complex structure of the laptop. Today modern laptop hardware is packed in a slimmer box.
This is why a slight increase in CPU temperature raises concerns about the overheating laptop. Nowadays, laptop CPU has become even more powerful and with the addition of GPU laptop overheating has become a major threat for laptops.
But if you ignore and don’t fix overheating laptop then it can cause the 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 laptops or notebooks.
This post primarily deals with laptop overheating issues but many of the same principles also apply to desktop computers as well. This post will also answer how to cool down the laptop.
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
Over time dust and dirt particles block the air vents, fan, and exhaust port of the laptop. It results in less airflow which means insufficient cooling causes laptop fans to loud noises.
The provision of less fresh air in the system causes overheating laptop problems. When it comes to the laptop overheating graphics card overheating also plays it vital role.
Another cause of the overheating laptop is the dried thermal paste. The degenerated thermal grease between a heat sink and CPU dries out over time thus causing CPU temperature to overheat more quickly.
To fix the overheating laptop you should apply the fresh thermal paste in a heat sink. If you don’t have the 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 laptops and how to keep the laptop cool step-by-step.
Before you start fixing your overheating laptop you should make a backup of all your data files on a separate portable device. Also while fixing laptop overheating you will need the following tools in 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.
- Isopropyl alcohol wipes and
- Rubber gloves (optional)
Step 1: Find Heat Source
The first thing you should do while fixing the overheating laptop is to find where the heat is coming from. For that.
Check Internal Air Flow and Heat Transfer
All laptops have an air vent from where they inhale & exhale hot air. When these vents are closed they obstruct heat transfer.
So, first of all, you must locate where are these air vents. Some laptop has these vents on the bottom, like this. And some old laptop models have these vents on the back of their side.
If you upside down your laptop, you can see multiple intakes and outflow vents. They help mitigate computer overheating problems via 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 your hand in front of an air vent and if you’re not feeling the pressure of airflow then there is a problem.
Again if the laptop fan not working check if its dust and debris have accumulated in air vents and blocks it causing a computer overheating problem. You can easily solve this problem. Just clean CPU, Air vents, laptop fan from dust.
For that upside down your laptop and see what you can do initially. The easiest way you have is to use an air blower or can of compressed air to clean the laptop vent.
But if your laptop is one, where a fan is easily accessible through removing panels. Then unscrew these panels to take the laptop fan out of the casing so you can blow dust even better.
Also, don’t forget to clean the area where the laptop 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 a fan.
If the overheating laptop problem persists and your fans don’t spin properly. Then note down the model number of laptop fans or search it on the internet, try to find and buy a laptop fan on amazon or eBay.
Check and if Necessary Remove Dying Battery
There are different types of laptop batteries out there in the market, along with it the thoughts on maintenance and lifespan of batteries also differ. But one thing is clear that laptop batteries are not meant to charge up to 100% otherwise they also cause overheating laptop problems.
Most users are doing the mistake that they always keep the charger in even when the laptop is idle. This habit reduces battery life, as its efficiency gets slower and finally dies. These kinds of batteries also generate a great deal of heat.
To fix the overheating laptop, you have one easy solution, which is to get rid of bad batteries and find a replacement. Just search online for the model number of laptop batteries and purchase it.
If you can’t find a spare battery then remove it completely and try to run it as a desktop. By deducting battery from overheating laptop equation you can fix laptop overheating problems and get normal laptop temperature.
Step 2: Remove Old Thermal paste and Apply New
As already explained dried thermal paste is a major cause of CPU overheating which also affects other components. So to remove old thermal paste use a 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 thermal grease.
Once you have removed old thermal grease, now it’s time to apply thermal paste. Arctic Silver 5 and Arctic Silver Ceramique are two popular thermal pastes, you can use any one of them.
There you need to place a very small blob of thermal grease on the 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 problems even after cleaning the air vent and replacing the bad battery. Then you have more work to do on your laptop.
Now check your hard drive if it’s dusty then clean it. Sometimes dusty hard drives also cause data loss and overheating laptop issues. Also, clean other parts of the laptop as best as you can before you move on to the second step.
Step 3: Lighten the Load
If you think that hardware is not the culprit cause laptop overheating. Then there are some tricks that you can use to check if it’s software or processing load causing an increase in laptop CPU temperature.
Run windows task manager and see which app is using more CPU memory. This program will help you to limit apps that automatically start with Windows.
On the contrary, you can also run process explorer to see which files are open during certain processes. This program will give you an idea of what applications are to be closed or spare.
CCleaner has worth mentioning 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 in an efficiency of OS increases.
Step 4: Look for Behavior Changes
No doubt laptop does give users the 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 the laptop’s airflow because in most laptops vents are situated on the bottom.
This habit impairs cooling as a result laptop temperature goes up. The uneven surface eventually adds up to the 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 is coming in powered versions which directly throws cool air from the underside. Some even come with USB hubs and other bells and whistles.
Step 5: Re-purpose the Laptop
Finally, if you cannot fix the overheating laptop or use it as a laptop then consider re-purposing it. Its 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 airflow a bit better and mount some standard computer fans in clever places, like in the back and sides of the drawer or desk.
We hope that this quick computer overheating fix will help you to get a cool laptop. Now it’s your turn what techniques do you use to fix overheating laptops? If you have any other method to fix laptop overheating then share it with us……