Overheating is one of the most common threats to a laptop’s life and usability. It is something most of us have had to deal with at one point or another since as a laptop gets older, it tends to start heating up more often.
Why Does it Happen?
The most common reason is dust and debris clogging up the laptop’s internals. Laptops accumulate dust over time naturally because of their constant air inflow for cooling, and the eventual buildup restricts the airflow and the laptop’s ability to dissipate heat. If the fans of your laptop are running at full speed, but the airflow seems weak, that is a clear sign that the laptop requires cleaning.
Defective fans can be another cause of this problem. They could either be partly functional and reduce airflow, or completely dead.
Viruses, malware and other malicious software can also sometimes put a heavy load on the CPU or other hardware, causing it to overheat.
A hot room is never really considered a problem but scorching summers are common in Pakistan, so cooling the room down may also do a great deal.
If a laptop goes above 80-85C regularly, it requires immediate attention.
Below are some solutions that can help you deal with overheating laptops.
Clean the Laptop
First and foremost, clean the laptop inside out. The best way to do it at home is to blow compressed air straight into the laptop fans and vents.
The second, and more thorough approach, is to dismantle the laptop and clean out all the residing dust thoroughly and carefully. There are several tutorials on YouTube that demonstrate how to take apart every kind of laptop.
However, it is recommended that the device is taken to technicians at laptop shops, especially if you are not tech-savvy.
Removing and Avoiding Malware
The best way to remove malware, as we all know, is by using anti-virus software.
Download and install trusted anti-virus software and scan the laptop for malware. Quarantine or remove the files in question.
As a heads up, Windows 7, 8, and 10 already have a pre-installed anti-virus software called Windows Defender. It is generally believed that this software is sub-par, but it has received several improvements in Windows 10 and can perform well if kept up to date.
As for avoiding malware, it is advised that users steer clear of dangerous websites and un-scanned flash drives and portable media.
Ideal Setup and Laptop Coolers
Several laptops use bottom vents to suck in cool air. This airflow is obstructed if the laptop is placed on a soft uneven surface such as a bed, pillows, blankets, etc. This completely blocks the vents, so placing a laptop on a flat and hard surface like a table is recommended.
If tables are not your thing, using laptop cooling pads or laptop stands might be a worthwhile investment.
Keep all the fans of the machine in-check. There is a lot of software online that let you check fan speeds of different PC components. This can also be done manually by running resource-heavy software and checking all the vents to find out if the fans are running too slow or are not moving at all. In such cases, a fan replacement may be in order.
In case they are malfunctioning, immediately take the laptop to a computer shop for repairs. Getting the thermal paste replaced for the CPU/GPU can have a massive impact in both idle temperatures, and the laptop’s performance. If your thermal paste has not been changed in the last year or so, it may be to blame for the lowered performance and higher temperatures.
Ease the Load on the CPU/GPU
Keep resource-heavy laptop usage to a minimum. Tasks that put a heavy load on the CPU/GPU, such as video editing and rendering, should not run for long periods of time, and if the temperature starts rising during usage, its a good idea to give the laptop a break to avoid long-term damage.
Recent video games are also very resource-heavy. Keeping the graphics settings to something your laptop can easily handle is adivsed.
Laptops are costly long term investments, so make sure it is regularly serviced and lingering problems are not neglected. Good maintenance can significantly extend a laptop’s lifespan.