How to Fix an Overheated Laptop (Ultimate Tips and Solutions)

By | April 5, 2022

Laptops have become more powerful and compact than ever before. The sharp increase in CPU performance was facilitated by increasingly densely packed chips with transistors. In parallel, slimmer cases pack more processors and more powerful graphics cards support larger screens with higher resolutions. This development comes at a cost: overheating.

The biggest threat to your laptop, is overheating. This can lead to hardware failure and permanent damage. Let me show you how to prevent or fix an overheating laptop and thereby increase the performance and extend the life of your computer.

How You Know Your Laptop is Overheated

A sure sign that your computer is overheating is when your fan is always running at maximum speed. You may also experience a performance drop as an overheated CPU reduces its clock speed to avoid heat stress. Additionally, fail-safe software can trigger sudden shutdowns to prevent hardware damage.

If you want to measure the actual heat value inside your laptop, you can use a tool like HWMonitor. It can also reveal which parts of your laptop are overheating. Usually, you will find that the CPU or GPU is the hottest.

What Causes Overheating

Inadequate cooling.

Potential reasons include a grill inlet or exhaust port blocking dust, a clogged fan, or degrading thermal grease (aka thermal compound) between the heat sink and the CPU or GPU. You can fix all of these things yourself, although some jobs will be more difficult than others.

If you need a quick fix and don’t have the practical skills to wipe your CPU and apply a new thermal paste

How Do You Prevent or Fix an Overheated Laptop?

A few simple hardware fixes can cure overheating.

Fix Internal Cooling

The first and foremost thing you need to do when your laptop is overheating is to clean the fan that provides cooling to the CPU and graphics card. Over time, they build up a layer of dust and dirt that slows them down and blocks airflow. Consult your manual or laptop manufacturer to find out how you can open the laptop to access and clean these parts.

However, before you attempt a cleanup, follow these steps:

  • Turn off the computer
  • Take out the battery
  • Unplug the power plug

Clean the fan carefully with a cotton swab dipped in a drop of alcohol. Make sure the alcohol has evaporated completely before you reconnect the laptop to power.
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You can also use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust and dirt that has stuck to the fan. To prevent damage to the fan, do not allow the fan to rotate in the wrong direction. If you want to use canned air to clean the fan, stop the fan from spinning by holding it down.

Furthermore, you can clean the exhaust port by sucking the air with a vacuum cleaner. The exhaust port is usually located on the side of the laptop. It’s a hole that blows hot air.

The intake grill is a small hole that allows air to be sucked into the laptop by a rotating fan. They can sit beside or at the bottom of your notebook. To clean the intake grill, spray it with canned air.

Finally, you can apply a new thermal grease to the interface between the CPU and its heat sink. Again, please consult the manual or the laptop manufacturer for instructions on how to disassemble these components.

Keep the Laptop on a Hard, Flat Surface

Most laptops suck cooling air through the bottom. Uneven surfaces, such as blankets, pillows, or your lap, block your laptop’s airflow. Furthermore, cooling is interrupted, heat builds up, the surface of your laptop becomes hot, the temperature of the cooling air sucks increases, and finally the laptop overheats.

This scenario is easily avoided by keeping the laptop on a hard, flat surface. You can use something as simple as a tray or get a dedicated laptop holder or lap stand.

Give a Cooler or Cooling Pad to the Laptop

Laptop coolers are meant to provide additional cooling. However, getting the wrong cooler can actually make the problem worse. Before buying a cooler, you should understand the flow of air in and out of your laptop.

As mentioned above, most laptops suck air for cooling from below. This makes sense because warm air rises to the top. However, coolers that sit under the laptop and suck air from it, do not contribute to cooling the laptop and further accelerate overheating.

If your laptop has an intake grill on the bottom, buy a cooler that blows cold air upwards, e.g. To the laptop. You can also get passive coolers that don’t consume power and only absorb heat.

If none of the hardware fixes results in a lasting fix, you can also go back to software repair that addresses your laptop’s performance and power usage. However, dealing with overheating with a software fix means you give up performance in favor of preserving the hardware.

You can reduce your screen brightness or reduce CPU clock speed. In Windows, underclocking or undervolting is done in the BIOS, but can also be controlled via software tools. See our undervolting guide for more information on this procedure. If you have a MacBook, try one of these fixes.

Protect Your Laptop From Overheating

Even if you have a device that shows no evidence of overheating, it’s a good idea to clean its vents and fans regularly to prevent dust build-up. And if you want to be extra careful, always place your laptop on a flat, level surface.

If you use a laptop pillow while surfing on the couch, you will not only ensure good airflow, you will also reduce the amount of dust that gets in and blocks the vents and fans.

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