There is a big threat to your laptop which is overheating. However, there is quick action to be taken to avoid long-term thermal damage when your laptop overheats.
Laptop overheating is very common, and many laptop owners have experienced it. Often, due to internal hardware issues that most individuals will not be able to fix, aging laptops may overheat.
However, the lack of sufficient airflow inside the system causes the most common form of overheating. Overheating does not mean that the computer has severe issues because there are certain ways to cool it down.
Signs of Laptop Overheating
If your laptop feels hot and shows any of the problems below, chances are it’s overheating or getting there:
The fan is constantly running and making loud whirring noises
The computer is struggling to perform basic tasks like opening a new browser window
Non-specific or unexpected error messages
Lines appear on your laptop screen
The system freezes or kicks a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death)
The laptop abruptly shuts down on its own
Certain areas of the bottom of the laptop are hot, like where the fan, RAM, processor, or battery are located
If your laptop is overheating, take steps immediately to cool your laptop to prevent further overheating damage.
Risks of Overheating Laptops
Usually, a laptop which is too hot will scald you. Because of possible burn hazards, Sony recalled thousands of VAIO laptops. There is also some indication that it can possibly cause male infertility to work with a hot laptop in your lap.
Operating a laptop at very high temperatures leads to failed hardware components (video cards, motherboards, memory modules, hard drives and more are prone to damage) with regard to the system itself and reduces the computer’s lifespan.
It can also be a fire hazard; faulty laptops have actually burned down houses.
How To Prevent Or Fix An Overheating Laptop?
Fix Internal Cooling
The first and most important thing you need to do when your laptop is overheating is to clean the fan(s) that provide(s) cooling to the CPU and graphics card.
Over time, they build up layers of dust and dirt that slow them down and block airflow. Consult your laptop’s manual or manufacturer to find out how you can open the laptop to access and clean these parts.
Before you attempt to do any cleaning, however, follow these steps:
Carefully clean the fan(s) with a cotton swab dipped in a drop of alcohol. Make sure the alcohol has completely evaporated before you reconnect the laptop to the power.
You can also use a vacuum cleaner to remove the dust and dirt that clocks up the fan(s). To prevent damage to the fan, do not let it revolve in the wrong direction. If you want to use canned air to clean the fan, stop the fan from spinning by holding it down.
Next, you can clean the exhaust port by sucking out air with a vacuum cleaner. The exhaust port usually sits on the side of the laptop. It’s the opening that blows out hot air.
The intake grills are small openings that allow air to be sucked into the laptop by the revolving fans. They can sit on the sides or at the bottom of your notebook. To clear the intake grills, spray them with canned air.
Finally, you can apply fresh thermal grease to the interface between the CPU and its heat sink. Again, please consult the laptop’s manual or manufacturer to obtain instructions on how to disassemble these components.
Laptop coolers are meant to provide additional cooling. However, getting the wrong cooler can actually make the problem worse. Before you purchase a cooler, you need to understand the flow of air into and out of your laptop.
As mentioned above, most laptops suck in air for cooling from the bottom. This makes sense because warm air rises upwards.
However, a cooler that sits underneath the laptop and sucks air away from it, does not contribute to laptop cooling and rather accelerates overheating.
If your laptop has intake grills at its bottom, purchase a cooler 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.
Keep The Laptop On A Hard And Flat Surface
Most laptops suck in cooling air through their bottoms. Uneven surfaces, like a blanket, pillow, or your lap, obstruct your laptop’s airflow.
Subsequently, cooling is impaired, heat builds up, your laptop surfaces get hot, the temperature of sucked in cooling air increases, and eventually the laptop is overheating.
This scenario is easily avoided by keeping the laptop on a hard and flat surface. You can use something as simple as a tray or get a special laptop holder or lap stand.
Even if you have a system that has no obvious signs of overheating, frequent cleaning of its vents and fans to prevent dust buildup is a good idea. In addition, you always put your laptop on a firm and even surface if you want to be extra careful.
You will not only ensure good ventilation if you use a laptop pillow when surfing on the couch, but you will also reduce the amount of dust that enters and blocks vents and fans.