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What Can I do about My Laptop Overheating?

Make sure laptop vents aren't blocked to prevent laptop overheating.
Lower laptop performance settings if overheating occurs during certain tasks, like playing video games.
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  • Written By: J. S. Petersen
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 21 April 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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If you have problems with laptop overheating, it can be uncomfortable and possibly dangerous. There are several steps you can take to diagnose and treat the problem yourself, but you may need to bring your laptop to a professional for repairs. Start by checking for blocked vents and fans, and use a special lap desk to keep yourself cool. You may also want to lower the performance speed to reduce the temperature.

The most obvious symptom of overheating is discomfort while using the laptop. In more severe cases, the excess heat can cause the laptop to shut down, or might even damage the internal components or start a fire. Some people have been burned by overheated laptops, so it is best to address these symptoms as soon as they are noticeable, to insure that a more serious problem does not develop.

Laptops can produce a lot of heat because all of their components are packed into a tight space, and there is little room for airflow and heat reduction elements like heat sinks and fans. The first step to prevent a laptop from overheating is to make sure that the laptop vents and fans are not blocked, and are open to the air. If the vents or fans are blocked by stickers, paint, lint, or debris, carefully clean them to insure good air flow. If you use your laptop on thick carpet, a blanket, or similar surface, make sure that the cooling vents and fans are not obstructed.

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One simple step to help prevent laptop overheating is to use a lap desk or specialized laptop cooling platform. A simple lap desk will keep the computer clear of loose clothes or other obstructions, and can keep a good airflow in and around the laptop to reduce heat. If that isn't enough, there are electric laptop cooling platforms with fans to blow air against the bottom of the machine. This extra airflow can help prevent overheating and provide added comfort. The tradeoff is that they can be noisy, and often require their own power supply in the form of batteries or an electric outlet.

The more the laptop works, the higher the heat. You might find your laptop overheating more frequently when you perform specific tasks like playing video games, watching movies, or using advanced programs. If your laptop only begins to heat up when you perform advanced tasks, you can change the settings to lower the performance, which can cool down the computer. This is usually a less desirable solution, so it is best to save it as a last resort.

If, after trying all these solutions, you still have a problem with overheating, it might be a good idea to have a computer professional perform a diagnostic check, and any repairs that are required.

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Discuss this Article

anon303867
Post 8

iTunesHelper is a disgusting little bit of software that makes my laptop go into overdrive. The fan roars, and you can't touch the bottom of the case. Why is Apple allowed to produce such shoddy pieces of work?

anon283150
Post 6

Can a bad battery make a laptop overheat?

Monika
Post 5

I think everyone who uses a laptop should definitely heed what the article says and make sure your fans aren't blocked by lint or stickers. I actually had a friend in college who got a minor burn because her laptop overheated.

She had decorated her laptop with a bunch of stickers, and had completely covered the fan with stickers. She was busy studying one night with her laptop on her lap, and she didn't notice the laptop overheating symptoms when they started. By the time she realized what was happened, she had a burn on her leg!

Azuza
Post 4
@SZapper - It's funny you should say that, because I was actually sitting in a coffee shop the other day next to someone who was using a laptop cooling pad. I didn't realize what it was at the time, but it looked pretty weird, and it was kind of loud. It wasn't very big though.

Honestly, I've been using laptops for years and I've never had the laptop overheating problem when I've been using my laptop on a desk. The only time I've had trouble is if I've tried to use my computer with it sitting directly on my lap. So it seems like if you use your laptop normally, you should be fine, and have no need for extra accessories.

SZapper
Post 3

I've never heard of a laptop cooling pad, and quite frankly, I'm not surprised. It sounds like it would defeat the whole purpose of having a laptop! Laptops are supposed to be portable and easy to take from place to place. A cooling platform would just be one extra thing to carry with you.

Not to mention you would need to have room for the cooling platform anywhere you set up your laptop. I'm not sure how big these things are, but they sound like they would be disruptive. Using something that is loud and needs an extra power source sounds like it would be a bad idea if you were trying to use your laptop at a coffee shop or a library.

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