What To Do If Your Computer Overheats

What To Do If Your Computer Overheats

Your computer hates heat. If it gets too hot it can malfunction. In a worst case scenario, its components can even be irreversibly damaged. Even if that doesn’t happen, you may experience various operating malfunctions, including the device suddenly shutting down without warning.

Why do computers overheat in the first place? It could be that there’s a faulty component that is generating excess heat. Alternatively, the cooling system can be the cause of the problem. Computers are designed to ensure good ventilation and effective heat dispersion but, whether your computer is air- or liquid-cooled, this protection can sometimes fail.

Temperature monitoring

Different central processing units (CPUs) and graphics cards have different temperature ranges that are ideal for their operation. Your computer’s documentation should give you important information about your hardware’s specs, the cooling system it uses and the optimal temperature ranges for operation.

How to stop overheating

Don’t despair. There are several things that you can do if your computer overheats, so if you have a problem, try these fixes to find the source of the problem.

Get rid of dust

Dust will always find its way into your computer, even a laptop which seems to be a well-sealed unit. Accumulated dust can block airflow and stop the fans that keep it cool from working properly. Cleaning desktop computers is relatively simple, but laptops are more delicate and might need specialist attention.

Inspect the fans

Often you will be alerted to an overheating computer if it becomes noisy, because the fans are working overtime trying to cool it down. But it could be overheating because the fans aren’t working or have become unplugged.

If appropriate, check the pump: Some devices are liquid-cooled, rather than air-cooled. If your computer relies on liquid cooling then you’ll need to check out the pump to see if it’s operating properly.

Make sure the computer is well-ventilated

Locate your computer in an appropriate place and ensure it has space around it. If you have a desktop computer, don’t push it close to a wall or put it near a heating vent or radiator. Laptops are great if you’re working on your bed, but don’t let it sit on a duvet, where it can sink down, causing obstruction to the air vents. Remember also that the more demanding the work you’re asking it to do, the more heat will be generated.

Check the heat sinks: An overheating CPU can be because the heat sink isn’t sealed correctly, or the paste used to seal it may have decayed. If you’re a tweaker or overclocker or have built your own PC, this might apply to you, because it’s possible to apply the thermal paste incorrectly.

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