Is my laptop overheating? I am sure anyone who owns a laptop has asked themselves this question at one time or another. You know the scenarios; your computer starts to run slow, it crashes a lot, it is hot to the touch, start up time is slower, etc.
There are a whole bunch of reasons why you would think your laptop may be overheating and because this is such a common problem I have decided to write an article on some of the heating causes and what you can do to prevent it.
Desktop personal computers in general heat up but because they are much larger there is more room for the air, from its internal fan, to circulate. With laptops this isn’t the case mainly because of their size. They are smaller, meaning all the components need to be compacted into this little space leaving very little room for good airflow.
Just like desktops, laptops are equipped with internal fans. These work fine during general laptop use but what if you are working with powerful software? An example would be design or editing programs which put a lot of pressure on the computer’s CPU. You will notice your laptop heat up much quicker and for a longer period of time.Laptop Airflow
What can we do to prevent overheating in the first place?
If you are looking to buy a new laptop you can avoid overheating concerns by researching the different models available before you buy. Certain brands and models are well known for having overheating issues. There are many factors involved such as processor type, cooling system type, ventilation and items such as video cards can increase the laptop heat as a whole.
During your product research check to see where the fan expels air from the casing. Will it be blocked by resting the laptop on your lap, or hindered by putting the computer flat on a desk? These are obvious warning signs that the model is badly designed and could eventually be susceptible to overheating issues.
Is your laptop just hot or actually overheating? It’s a common misconception that if a laptop gets hot it is overheating, If you think your laptop is actually overheating keep an eye on the temperature of your laptop by using monitoring software regularly. Normal core temperatures in laptops should range between 35 degrees Celsius and 40 degrees Celsius, give or take a couple degrees. If this reaches anything higher than your in danger. Normally 55 degrees Celsius is the problem point.
Take note of the environment you are working in. For example, working in a shaded, air conditioned room will probably keep your laptop cooler than if you were working in a small, stuffy room on a hot day with the sun bursting through the window directly at your computer.
Keep your laptop clean! Make sure to dust it often as the fan has to work extra hard when there is extra dust inside the computer. If you dust regularly, the fan will not experience as much wear and tear. When your computer is turned off, use canned air to blow short bursts of air into the fan vent to blow out any dust particles. Also use the canned air to blow out any other vents or openings that lead into the computer’s insides.
Laptop On Bed – Example of a bad work surface
Illegal software, bugs, viruses, etc compromise the performance of your computer and can cause your system to overheat frequently. To minimize the amount of processing your CPU is doing at one time regularly run anti-spyware and anti-virus software.
As mentioned above, the type of software you use can have a huge effect on your laptops performance and temperature. When using a powerful program make sure your computer has enough processor speed, (GHz), to work efficiently. The harder a laptop is working the hotter the processor will become. Take note, this does not necessarily mean that the computer is overheating though.
What is your laptop connected to? If you have USB devices plugged in such as external hard drive this will put a small load on the processor. If your computer is getting hot only connect USB devices when required.
Do not place your laptop directly on a soft surface nor a surface where it blocks the airflow of the machine. I personally think the tiny legs on most laptops are not long enough to raise the computer a sufficient amount to allow for decent airflow.
Not A Good Laptop Work Surface
Example of a bad work surface
Give your laptop a bit more lift to increase the airflow under the machine. The best solution here is to buy a laptop cooler pad or lapdesk. These are portable laptop stands or a plate that sits under the laptop helping to circulate air and help stop laptop overheating problems. They come in all shapes and sizes, many have built in fans and raised backs just enough to increase the flow of air and keep your laptop cool.
If you travel a lot then make sure you shut down your laptop before placing it in your carrying bag. While it is convenient to simply pull your laptop from the bag, open the screen and start working, the environment inside of the case may be too warm for your computer and can quickly damage the hardware and the screen.
As soon as your battery is full unplug your charger. A common mistake people make is leaving their computer plugged in at all times. By doing this the constant source of electricity will heat your battery and in turn overheat your laptop. Only charge your computer as long as necessary.
If you do find your computer is a running a little hotter than usual then turn it off and allow it to cool down. If you find that this hasn’t helped the situation much and your laptop is experiencing screen freezes, sudden shut downs, sluggish performance and extra heat then this may be a sign that your computer is in fact overheating.
Follow the notes above, invest in a laptop cooler pad and if this doesn’t help then consult a computer repair expert.