Why Does My Laptop Get So Hot?

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Meira Gebel Meira Gebel is a freelance reporter based in Portland, Oregon. She writes about business, culture, and technology for Insider. Her work has been featured in Digital Trends, Willamette Week, USA Today, and more. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and San Francisco State University.  Feel free to reach out to her on Twitter, where she can be found most of the time, @MeiraGebel. Read more Read less

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How To Prevent Your Laptop From Overheating

1. Close Unnecessary Programs For The Windows Task Manager

Some programs automatically run at start-up and constantly run scans and updates in the background even when you don’t need them. This puts unnecessary stress on your laptop’s CPU, thus resulting in overheating.

Through the Windows Task Manager, you view these programs and close them to reduce the load on the CPU. You can open the task manager using the “Ctrl + Shift + Esc” keyboard shortcut.

Once the Task Manager Window pops up, you can scro

Once the Task Manager Window pops up, you can scroll through the list of programs that are currently running. To close programs you don’t need, right-click on them and select “End Task”. 

To stop certain programs from running on start-up

To stop certain programs from running on start-up click on the “Startup” tab at the top. 

Next, right-click on the programs you want to stop

Next, right-click on the programs you want to stop and select “Disable”.

2. Reapply Your CPU And GPU Thermal Paste

2. Reapply Your CPU And GPU Thermal Paste

Thermal paste, also known as thermal compound or thermal grease, is applied between the heat spreader and the processor and graphics card cooler to enhance heat dissipation.

Over time, it can lose its effectiveness and may need to be replaced. In new gaming laptops, sometimes it may have been poorly applied in the factory, preventing proper heat dissipation.

Liquid metal can also be used in place of thermal paste with even better results. If you choose to go with liquid metal over the regular, ensure it doesn’t come into contact with other components on the motherboard. 

Liquid metal is better at transferring heat than thermal paste, however, it can short circuit your motherboard if it spills or leaks. Therefore, you should use very little and be careful when applying it.

Before taking apart a new laptop to replace thermal paste, always read your laptop’s manual to ensure you don’t void the warranty.

3. Check That Fan Speed Is Properly Set In Bios

Normally, fans should increase speed as CPU or GPU

Normally, fans should increase speed as CPU or GPU temperatures rise. But when that doesn’t happen, your laptop can get very hot. In most cases, it usually has something to do with the BIOS settings, especially if you recently updated it. 

To access BIOS settings, you need to press the BIOS key during start-up. Depending on your laptop brand it could be F10, F2, F12, F1, or DEL keys. 

The BIOS settings interface will vary from one brand to another. Once you access BIOS go to advanced settings, then hardware monitor. Under the hardware monitor settings, you should be able to find fan configuration settings.

6 Reasons Why Your Gaming Laptop Fan Is So Loud (Plus Ways To Make It Quieter)

If you can’t adjust fan speed from your BIOS, you can try using SpeedFan software. However, since it is meant for power users, you might not find it very user friendly. But there are lots of tutorials online on how to use it. 

4. Clean Your Laptop Roughly Every 6 Months

Cleaning your laptop at least once a year gets rid of dust and other particles that collect around fans and clog the air intake vents. This improves airflow and prevents heat build-up in your laptop’s interior.

5. Replace Faulty Fans

Just like thermal paste, fans also need to be replaced after a few years. They become less effective when they get damaged and are unable to draw in air at the required rate. Poor air circulation ultimately caused overheating.

6. Use Your Laptop On Hard, Flat Surfaces When Gaming

Most gaming laptop air intake vents are located at the bottom. So by placing your laptop on a flat, hard surface, you create a bit of space between your computer and the surface it is placed on. This allows it to draw in air more freely and cool internal components.

You can further improve air circulation around your laptop by getting a laptop cooling pad. If you must use your laptop in bed, get a lap desk.

7. Underclock Your Laptop’s CPU And GPU If You Previously Overclocked Them

Overclocking makes your CPU and GPU to operate at higher speeds than those intended by the manufacturer. And without a proper cooling mechanism to dissipate the extra heat produced due to overclocking, your gaming laptop will definitely run hot. 

To fix this problem, you need to set your processor and graphics card to their original settings. Remember to backup all your data in an external storage device so that you don’t lose important files in the process.

8. Lower Your Graphics Setting To Lessen The Load On The GPU

Playing games at their highest settings causes your laptop to overheat since a lot more processing and rendering has to be done to get detailed images. This is especially important if you are playing graphic-intensive games such as Far Cry, Witcher 3, and Tomb Raider.

Although dialing down the game settings and capping the frame rate lowers the graphics quality, it lessens the load on both the CPU and GPU, leading to less heat generation. 

9. Control Room Temperatures By Adjusting Thermostat Settings

Sometimes the room in which you are using your lap

Sometimes the room in which you are using your laptop may be too hot, especially during the summers. Hot seasons increase the likelihood of your laptop overheating than cooler seasons of the year. 10-35 °C or 50-95 °F is the ideal room temperature for gaming.

You can solve this problem by making adjustments to your air conditioner’s thermostat settings so that your laptop is able to draw in cooler air and cool components. Some areas of the house also tend to be cooler than others, especially those that are well ventilated. 

10. Return Your Gaming Laptop If You Notice Overheating Problems Soon After Purchase

Sometimes overheating can be a result of a faulty unit or poor cooling system design. This is especially true for thin gaming laptops. When powerful components are crammed in a very thin chassis, it is very likely that temperatures will rise in the interior and cause problems.

It is worth sending back your laptop and have it checked for any issues. If the problem persists,  ask for a refund and get a better-designed laptop. Checking reviews online before buying a gaming laptop is usually a good idea to weed out poorly designed laptops.

How to Cool Down Your Laptop

Step One: Find the Air Vents

In order to prevent the air vents in your laptop from getting blocked, you first need to identify where the vents are located. On the majority of laptops, you will find the air vents on the bottom of the device. Others will locate them on the back panel of the laptop.

You will find two types of vents on your laptop; air intake vents and air outflow vents. It is vital that both of them remain blockage free in order to cool your laptop.

Step Two: Check the Air Vents

Once you have found out where the air intake and outflow vents are located on your laptop, the next step is to check that they are working properly.

By placing your hand over the vent, you should be able to feel the air coming in or going out. If you can’t, it’s probably because there is dust or debris blocking the passage of air. These impediments will be located in the vents, fans and cooling channels.

You can use a can of compressed air to blow the dust and debris from the affected areas.

Step Three: Clean the Fan

If you are confident with opening up the back of the computer and the fan is easy to access, then you can take off the panels that house the fan and take it out and blow the dust from it.

Be sure to also clean the area where the fan sits.

The fan may be spinning haphazardly. If this is the case, try putting a drop of mineral oil on the fan axle (you will probably have to lift the sticker that covers the axle to do this).

Upon inspection of the fan, you may actually discover that it is to worn out or too affected by dust or debris to function as it should. If this is the case, you should replace the fan.

Go to the user manual of your laptop and look up the fan part number. You should be able to find a replacement part on eBay.

Step Four: Check the Batteries

A lot of laptop users never actually use battery power.

As a result, their battery is permanently at either 0 or 100 percent charge. Neither is good for the battery and will lead to battery deterioration. When a battery starts going bad, it not only becomes less efficient; it also gives off heat.

The first way, then, to prevent your battery from being a contributing factor to the overheating of your laptop, is to use the battery power function regularly in order to avoid the two extremes of battery charge.

If your battery is clearly bad (it hardly holds any charge) then you should replace it.

Again, you should check your user manual to identify the make and model of the battery and eBay should be your first port of call.

Step Five: Clean the Internal Componentry

If the solutions we’ve already gone over have not solved your overheating problems, you should take off the back panel and clean out the internals.

The problem could be that the hard drive is full of dust and that this is the cause of your overheating problem.

You should also be sure to remove any dust from around the RAM.

Step Six: Eliminate Unneeded Apps

If the computer is still overheating then it is time to start reducing the load that your computer machinery is having to deal with.

Your first step here should be to open up the Windows Task Manager.

This will let you know what is using up your CPU power.

From there you should reduce the number of apps that open automatically when you start your computer.

You now need to be ruthless as you get rid of the apps that you really do not need.

Something that can help you decide is Process Explorer, which lets you see the apps that your CPU is using over a certain period of time.

Step Seven: Reset the Heat Sink

The CPU is the biggest heat generator in your computer.

It may be overheating because of the heat sink. The heat sink may not be properly positioned. Its thermal paste may also not be working properly.

Open the back of the laptop and check the condition of the heat sink.

If it doesn’t look right, then you should take off the heat sink, reapply thermal paste and then reattach it properly. Only do this if you feel confident.

Otherwise, ask someone who knows their way around computer internals to do it for you.

Step Eight: Change Your Behavior

The last step is to consider your habitual behaviors with regard to your laptop.

If you regularly use your laptop in bed, it is highly likely that you are blocking up the air vents.

The same thing applies if you often sit the laptop on the floor or even your lap.

If you are still having persistent overheating problems, then you will have to start modifying your behavior.

If you absolutely must use your laptop in bed, then you should consider investing in a laptop cooling pad. This will ensure that it is able to come out and go in.

Conclusion

An overheated laptop is a serious issue that affects the performance of your computer.

It also poses some serious risks to user health.

By following through on the eight steps to cooling down your laptop that we have outlined you will be able to keep your laptop cool so that you can get the best out of it.

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