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How To Fix An Overheating Laptop

Discussion in 'Tech, Gadgets & Science Forum' started by MziziMkavu, Sep 29, 2011.

  1. MziziMkavu

    MziziMkavu JF-Expert Member

    #1
    Sep 29, 2011
    Joined: Feb 3, 2009
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    How To Fix An Overheating Laptop






    [​IMG]Laptops have undergone an incredible amount of development over the past couple of years. A steep increase in performance was facilitated by chips that are ever more densely packed with transistors. In parallel, the amount of processors was multiplied, the hardware was put into slimmer cases, and better graphics cards enabled bigger screens with higher resolutions. These developments, however, come at a cost: heat.
    The greatest threat for your laptop, except for your your coffee mug, is overheating. It can cause hardware failure and permanent damage. In this article I will introduce ways that you can prevent or fix an overheating laptop and thus improve the performance and the extend the lifespan of your laptop.
    How Do You Know Your Laptop Is Overheating?

    A sure sign that your notebook gets too hot is when yourfan always runs at maximum speed. You may also experience reduced performance because the CPU cuts back its clock speed to escape heat pressure. Moreover, the fail safe software may trigger a sudden shutdown to prevent hardware damage.
    [​IMG]

    Refer to the article 3 Laptop Computer Temperature Monitor Apps That Could Save Your Hard Drive to find out how you can measure the actual heat values inside your laptop.
    What Causes Overheating?

    In two words: insufficient cooling.
    The reasons include dust blocking intake grills or exhaust ports, a clocked up fan, or a degenerated thermal grease (aka thermal compound) between the heat sink and the CPU.

    How Can You Prevent or Fix an Overheating Laptop?

    There are several hardware fixes that can cure overheating.
    1. 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 flow of air. 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:
    • shut down the computer.
    • remove the battery.
    • unplug the power strip.
    • ground yourself
    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, arrest the fan by holding it down.
    [​IMG]

    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.
    Inside My Laptop has some great tutorials on how to fix your laptop, including How to apply thermal grease on laptop processor.
    2. Keep The Laptop On A Hard & Flat Surface

    Most laptops suck in cooling air through their bottoms. If the laptop sits on an uneven surface like a blanket, pillow, or your lap, the flow of air into the laptop is disturbed. Subsequently, the cooling is not optimal, heat builds up, the surface becomes hot, the temperature of sucked in cooling air increases, and eventually the laptop overheats.
    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.
    3. Invest In A Laptop Cooler

    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.
    [​IMG]

    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 causes a more rapid 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.
    What Are Potential Software Fixes?

    If none of the hardware fixes result in lasting improvements, you can also revert to software fixes that address the performance and power usage of your laptop. However, addressing excessive heat with a software fix means you give up performance in favor of preserving the hardware.
    You can either reduce the brightness of your screen or reduce the CPU clock speed. In Windows, underclocking or undervolting is done in the BIOS, but can also be controlled through software tools. Consult the Undervolting Guide on the Notebook Review forum for more information about this procedure.
    The Top 3 Signs Your Laptop Is Overheating

    Finally, let’s lighten this up a little. This list was inspired by a Top 11 list on BBSpot.
    • You’ve downclocked the CPU so much that the Commodore 64 team is overtaking you on Folding@Home
    • Frodo tosses the one ring into your keyboard.
    • Al Gore shows up to kick your ass.
    How often do you clean your laptop to prevent it from overheating? Do you have any additional tips and tricks to share?
     
  2. MziziMkavu

    MziziMkavu JF-Expert Member

    #2
    Sep 29, 2011
    Joined: Feb 3, 2009
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    How to apply thermal grease on laptop processor

    This guide explains how to apply new thermal grease on a laptop processor (CPU).Thermal grease (aka thermal compound or paste) has to be applied on the top of the processor before you install the heat sink. Thermal grease helps to conduct heat more efficiently.
    In some laptops you can remove the heat sink without removing the CPU fan. In my case, I had to remove the fan first.
    [​IMG]
    In most cases, the heat sink is secured above the processor by four screws. You’ll have to remove or loosen those screws.
    [​IMG]
    Carefully lift up the heat sink.
    In my example the heat sink covers two chips: CPU and ATI chip. It’s not very common. In many other laptops the heat sink covers only the processor.
    [​IMG]
    The ATI chip thermal grease is different, it looks like a blue chewing gum. I’m not going to replace the ATI chip grease today because it appears to be soft and looks normal.
    The CPU grease, on the other hand, looks dried out and feels very hard. The CPU thermal grease definitely has to be replaced.
    [​IMG]
    Thermal grease was so dried out that I had to use a flathead screwdriver to remove it from the heatsink.
    NOTE: I would suggest using something softer, maybe a piece of plastic because the screwdriver makes scratches.
    [​IMG]
    Clean the heat sink and CPU with 99% alcohol and soft cloth.
    [​IMG]
    Both, the heatsink and CPU are clean and ready for new thermal grease.
    [​IMG]
    Apply a small drop of new thermal grease on the top of the processor. Apply just enough to cover the CPU chip (black square in the center).
    [​IMG]
    Finally, install the heat sink and secure it by tightening screws in the order 1-2-3-4.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. King'asti

    King'asti JF-Expert Member

    #3
    Sep 29, 2011
    Joined: Nov 26, 2009
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    Mzizi,u ar God sent. manake my net book inapiga kelele kama mashine ya kukoboa kokoto! i will see to this. namba 3 inahusika,using the netbook either on a pillow or blanket. bless u
     
  4. MziziMkavu

    MziziMkavu JF-Expert Member

    #4
    Sep 29, 2011
    Joined: Feb 3, 2009
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    Na pia ikiwezekana unapotumia laptop yako itoe betri usitumie betri yako i pamoja na waya wake wa umeme hiyo pia inasababisha laptop yako kuwa ya moto. tumia laptop pasipo Betri yake lakini ukikatika umeme waweza kuirudisha Betri yake hiyo Laptop kisha umeme ukirudi

    toa tena betri tumia waya wa wenye adptor yake ya umeme lakini hakikisha betri yako imejaa ndio uitowe hiyo itakusaidia kuifanya betri yako kuwa uhai mzuri. Na ufanye hivi pia ipeleke kwa fundi hiyo laptop yako ili fundi aisafishe kwa ndani huenda kuna vumbi pia inasababisha Fen kutoa sauti na Laptop yako kuwa na joto na internet Conection wakati mwengine inakuwa slow.
     
  5. MziziMkavu

    MziziMkavu JF-Expert Member

    #5
    Sep 29, 2011
    Joined: Feb 3, 2009
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    Overheating Category

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    How to apply thermal grease on laptop processor

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    This guide explains how to apply new thermal grease on a laptop processor (CPU).
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    In some laptops you can remove the heat sink without removing the CPU fan. In my case, I had to remove the fan first.
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  6. Dumelang

    Dumelang JF-Expert Member

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    mkuu ingawa ni muda tangu uposti hii thread yako ila nadhani nami sasa laptop yangu ina tatizo hili, nilifungua nikaipuliza na compressed air lakin haikufanya kitu nadhaani natakiwa kwenda mbali zaid kwa kuweka izo thermal paste.

    tatizo ni wapi nitapata iyo thermal paste na iyo alcohol ya kusafishia . msaaada tafadhali

     
  7. MziziMkavu

    MziziMkavu JF-Expert Member

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  8. MziziMkavu

    MziziMkavu JF-Expert Member

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    How To Diagnose and Fix an Overheating Laptop

    [​IMG]

    One of the most common issues with aging laptops is overheating, something many people aren't sure how to fix. We'll help you figure out what's causing the heat and how to keep your notebook functioning at a lower temperature.


    Overheating computers can cause a lot of problems, from seemingly random blue screens to data loss. You might not even know that it's the root of your issues, and before you know it you have

    a burnt-out motherboard on your hands. Let's go step by and step and see how to deal with overheating computers. We'll be dealing primarily with laptops, but most of the same principles apply to desktops as well.


    Find the Heat Source

    Air Flow and Heat Transfer
    [​IMG]

    The first thing you need to do is figure out where the heat is coming from. No air flow means no heat transfer, so figure out where the air vents are. Are they blowing hot air, or is there barely a breeze, even when the fan is overtaxed?

    [​IMG]

    Most commonly, an accumulation of dust in the vents and fans through the cooling channels will be culprit in restricting air flow. Cleaning it out will work best. Turn you laptop upside-down and look at what you've got.

    [​IMG]

    Unscrew the fan doors and you should be able to lift out the fan and clean everything with a can of compressed air.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    If you find that a fan is spinning erratically, you may want to try lifting the sticker off of the axle and putting a drop of mineral oil to keep it going.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    You can also try to look up the part number from your laptop's user manual or by searching your laptop model number online. Once you have that, you can find replacements pretty easily on eBay and the like.


    Dying Batteries


    There are plenty of different types of batteries, and many different schools of thought on battery maintenance and life span, but one thing that seems pretty unanimous is that batteries aren't

    meant to be stored at 100% or 0% capacity. I know plenty of people who buy laptops and always keep the charger in, never actually using the battery. You can definitely expect to kill your

    battery's health this way, since you're essentially storing the battery when it's full. Bad batteries don't just give out really quickly, they can generate heat.

    [​IMG]
    (Image credit: Bryan Gosline)

    You can buy replacement batteries pretty easily online, even for laptops that are four years old. You just need to know what model your computer/battery is. If you can't find one, you may consider using your laptop as a desktop and remove the overheating battery completely from the equation.


    Persistent Overheating

    If you've taken the air vents and battery out of the picture and you're still having problems, then you might have a more persistent heat issue. Sometimes a dusty hard drive can cause heat problems and data loss. Some laptops just "run hot," even without a major load on the CPU. Try cleaning out these areas as best you can before you move on to another solution.
    [​IMG]

    Dust under the processor and RAM doors to get rid of any dust and debris. If you've got a netbook or a laptop without compartments underneath, things might be more difficult. You should be able to find instructions for getting the back off so you can clean things properly.

    [​IMG]
    (Image credit: fellow HTG author Justin Garrison)

    Lighten the Load


    If your computer's heat is related to how much data the CPU chugs through, you might want to manage your processes better. You can use the Windows Task Manager to see what's most

    intensive, then use Autoruns to see all your startup processes and trim them down. You can also change the order of the startup processes that are necessary. The staggered loading of software will help balance your processor's load.


    You can install and run Process Explorer to see the files that each process has open and its associated CPU usage over time. This can help you decide what to get rid of and what to spare.

    We're also big fans of CCleaner, which allows you to clean history and cache files as well as manage your startup applications quickly and easily. You can free up some much needed space that way and get a little more efficiency out of your OS.


    If you want to keep an eye on the temperature of your laptop, I recommend Core Temp for Windows. It's an extremely light-weight app that won't pressure your CPU, but lets you keep an eye on your internal temperature.

    [​IMG]
    You can tell it to display the temperature when it's in the system tray. One of the best features is under the Options menu: Overheat Protection.
    [​IMG]
    Here, you can define a temperature that will trigger your computer to Sleep, Hibernate, or Shutdown. Core Temp also works as a Windows Gadget, though if you're overheating from CPU-

    intensive processes, I'd turn Desktop Gadgets off. Another thing you can do is turn that fancy Aero interface off, and you can create a shortcut to quickly toggle it if you can't live completely without it.


    If you're using Linux instead, you might want to consider a more spartan distro. I've personally had a lot of success with Crunchbang; a clean install leaves me with Openbox as a window

    manager, a nice dock, and some nice desktop effects, along with only 80MB of RAM usage. It's based on Debian, so there's a good amount of compatibility with software. If you run Arch, you might want to try ArchBang instead, which is the same thing but built on Arch instead of Debian.


    Behavior Changes


    Laptop owners have a lot of luxury by not being tethered to a chair and desk. We develop a lot of habits, like browsing in bed, that can actually work against of computers. A lot of laptops are designed with their air vents on the bottom for some ridiculous reason, so setting it down on soft bedding or carpet for prolonged use is a bad idea. You'd be surprised at how quickly the heat can build up. If you this is a habit, you might consider investing in a laptop stand to keep the air flow unobstructed.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    CoolLift Laptop Stand
    If none of the above methods helped cool your laptop sufficiently, you might consider using a cooling pad, like this:
    [​IMG]
    Laptop Cooling Pad (USB Powered)

    The fans will help direct cool air into the underside vents of your laptop. Some even come with USB hubs and other bells and whistles.

    If your vents are placed on the sides or elsewhere, but the bottom of your notebook is still really warm, you can try out a thermal (passive) cooling pad.
    [​IMG]
    Targus Thermal Cooling Pad

    These are soft pads filled with special crystals that are designed to conduct heat away from the source. You can find thermal cooling pads in smaller sizes, too. I used a 9" one for my old netbook and it did wonders for me.


    Sure, these will make your laptop less mobile, but if it helps with overheating then at least you'll have a laptop that runs.


    Repurpose It


    [​IMG]
    (Image credit: mray)

    If you can't use it as a laptop anymore, consider repurposing it. The compact motherboards fit great inside of older and smaller computer cases and cardboard boxes. These kinds of rigs are

    great for in-drawer HTPCs, closet-servers, or under-the-desk mounted workstations. You'll have to be a bit more careful if you leave the guts exposed, but depending on the room, it can cut

    down on dust problems. You can also regulate air flow a bit better and mount some standard computer fans in clever places, like in the back and sides of the drawer or desk.

    Another idea is to try running a very light-weight version of Linux, and use it for something that

    isn't very CPU-intensive, like a file server. The lack of processor-heavy tasks will keep the temperature low, but you can still get some use out of it. And, if you're only ditching the battery, then you can leave things inside the case and stick it on a shelf as a head-less (SSH and command-line only) server. The possibilities are endless!


    [HR][/HR]I hate seeing machines go to waste. My last project took a seven-year-old overheating Dell Inspiron 9100 and turned it into a cool-running under-the-table HTPC.

    Have you recently given an overheating laptop new life? Have some better tips for temperature management? Know what to kill to keep CPU load light? Share in the comments!
     
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