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With the growth of telecommuting and travel, laptops have quickly become the go-to work tool for over desktop computers. The extra mobility and portability of laptops often come at the sacrifice of reduced graphics potential, slower processing, and overall lower computing power. Despite some continued advances in hardware and software optimization, one of the biggest problems with laptops is overheating. Read on to learn more about how to cool down a laptop that is overheating.
All of the internal components in a laptop are powered by electricity, so they naturally generate heat as a byproduct. As electricity passes through circuits, wires, and microchips, it meets some amount of friction. Much like rubbing your hands together, friction of any intensity will create an amount of heat. Some components, like LED lights, require less electricity, and thus output less heat. Other internal components require much higher amounts of electricity and produce excessive heat as a result. The components that tend to generate a higher internal temperature include:
While any single one of these components can get too hot, the cause of a laptop overheating usually comes from the cumulative heat generated by all of these components at once. Between the GPU/CPU temperature, heat sinks, and HDD functionality, it comes as no surprise that an overheated laptop could come as a result.
Most manufacturers understand that laptops and computers can generate heat and that heat can potentially accumulate. Manufacturers incorporate a variety of design features to combat the potential for laptop overheating. This includes:
Given the precautions in design and operation, overheating shouldn’t be an issue for a laptop that is functioning properly. A laptop may overheat based on a variety of factors.
Vents that are blocked by dirt, dust, and other debris prevent proper airflow, which traps heat inside the laptop’s body, resulting in a very hot laptop.
The temperature of your room naturally has an effect on your laptop’s internal temperature. Hot summer days can leave your laptop running hotter than normal. This can be exacerbated further if your laptop is constantly exposed to sunlight.
The fan is the main cooling component in any machine, so if your fan is broken or not operating properly, you can generally expect your laptop to generate excess heat even with the most minor of operations.
Whether you’re upgrading your RAM or replacing the sound card, new hardware is a good way to keep your laptop current without buying an entirely new machine. Unfortunately, some new hardware requires much more resources, forcing your laptop to work harder and generate more heat in the process.
Not all laptops were designed equal. Where one laptop might easily compress videos and run games at their highest settings, others may not. If your laptop isn’t particularly powerful, it may struggle with anything from video editing to having too many tabs open on your browser. That can cause your machine to chug and overheat.
Depending on what’s ailing your machine, there may not be a single fix that will prevent your computer from overheating. Here are some tips for keeping your laptop cool.
Fans and vents clogged with dust tend to be the number one culprit of overheating laptops. To take care of excess dust and debris in your vents, invest in a can of compressed air. Make sure your laptop is turned off and unplugged. Spray the canned air into the air vent in short bursts. Use cotton swabs or a damp (not wet) lint-free cloth to wipe down the laptop’s vents until they have clear airflow again.
If possible, consider opening up your laptop to reach the fan for a dusting. Just be careful and understand that opening your laptop’s panel may void your warranty.
Despite the name, laptops should optimally not be used on your lap. This often results in blocked vents and fans and also transfers your own body heat into the laptop, making it easier to heat up. Instead, try your best to place your laptop on a hard, flat surface, whether that’s your desk or a lap table. This can usually help provide better airflow and keep your laptop cool, while also promoting good laptop ergonomics.
Laptop stands come in all forms. The basic model allows you to prop up your laptop to reduce pressure on your wrists, optimize viewing angles, and maximize airflow along the bottom of your machine. Some laptop stands even include extra built-in fans to provide further cooling potential.
Check and adjust all your settings, from the brightness of your display to your power supply management. Close idle tabs that are eating up your CPU. You essentially want to prevent your computer from overloading on systems processes that could potentially lead to an overheating problem.
There are a variety of programs available that allow you to monitor your laptop’s temperature and control the speed of your fans. These programs can help if you find that your fans are not clicking on when your laptop is hot, though inoperative fans may point to other issues.
If you’ve done everything you can and you are still left with a hot laptop, consider the machine’s age. If it’s reaching its upper years, it may be time for a full replacement. Even with all the adjusted power supply settings and optimized software, there’s only so much you can do for a laptop that is reaching obsolescence. Just make sure that you dispose of the laptop properly before you invest in a new one.
An overheating laptop can be a physical pain to you and can contribute to slower computing and overall worse performance. With some regular maintenance and a laptop stand, you should be able to keep your laptop comfortably cool for optimal usage.