Tips for Preventing Your Laptop From Overheating by Paula Brett

My laptop is so hot you could fry an egg on it. Sadly, that's not a clever euphemism for "wow, my laptop's on fire cos I'm churning out so much work"! My laptop really is like Mount Vesuvius, waiting to erupt at any minute!

For the past month or so, every time I put my laptop on my lap, I ended up with scorched thighs, which I can assure you, isn't a pretty sight! I know Rod Stewart opined on the virtues of Hot Legs, but this is ridiculous!

I've never really been a "laptoppy" person until August last year, when just before I was due to whizz off on holiday, my PC decided to have a hairy fit and start spewing blue screens of death at me and all sorts of other technical unmentionables -arrghh!

So I took the bull by the horns and steamed into my nearest store and grabbed a laptop that I thought looked rather attractive. I know, attractiveness is not a good criteria to choose a laptop but I was pretty desperate and it was just as good as Eeny Meeny Miny Mo!

Now up until a couple of weeks ago, all was well with Lysander the laptop, he was a rather spritely boy and I became rather addicted to him. In fact, he encouraged me to become terribly lazy. Who could be bothered to fire up the old PC and sit perched there as winter was approaching, enduring frozen fingers and toes, when Lysander was beckoning me enticingly; positively luring me to jump on the couch, cover my feet with a quilt and flip his enormously attractive lid?

But, suddenly, inexplicably I thought, the laptop started to cut out. Black screen... nothing! Bizarre. I couldn't start him up again he just wouldn't put out.

At first I thought I'd got one of those deadly viruses - blamed Thing 1 and Thing 2 for downloading dodgy games and getting me infected.

Every day, this would happen more and more. Depending on what I was doing on the computer, it would just shut down with no warning. If I was watching a video I could hear the fan chugging and working like a Trojan. If I was running a few programs at once, woah, the fan was working overtime and that thing was heating up like a pubescent boy at a Miss World beauty contest.

The mouse pad was turning into a ceramic hob and the underneath of the laptop was growing more pyroclastic by the minute giving me more than just a sharp crease in my trousers!

Time to hit Google, type in my model name and number and see what happens.

Phew. How comforting. there were tons of people who were all experiencing the same problem as me. It's odd, isn't it, how you always feel better when you find other people that are having the same problems as you - you just don't feel so alone, somehow!

What Causes a Laptop to Overheat?

Using your machine intensively, makes the hard drive, the central processing unit (CPU) and video systems work at a high capacity. If you do a lot of gaming on your laptop, or run a lot of programs at one time such as Photoshop or Dreamweaver, these will be causing the CPU to work some overtime. I particularly notice my lappy heating up when a virus scan is running. So, the harder your laptop is working, the hotter your processor will get.

Keeping your laptop in an hot environment, very hot room, near to a radiator / heater etc. contributes to over-heating

The make and model of your laptop determines whether it may have a propensity to overheating - i.e. if your model's design does not allow for adequate ventilation.

If you obstruct the existing ventilation in any way e.g. use it on a bed, blanket, quilt etc.

Allowing fibres and dust to enter the ventilation area.

Plugging in USB devices such as dongles and external hard drives puts a load on the processor.

How Do I Know if I Have an Overheating Problem?

It's important to remember that there is a difference between your laptop getting hot and actually overheating. If you aren't sure if your laptop is truly overheating, look out for the following:

If your laptop suddenly shuts down for no reason - this often means the fail safe system in the computer has kicked in when it hits a certain temperature.

Blue Screen of Death often signifies you have an overheating CPU problem.

You may become aware of the fan working more often and sounding louder and/or more vigorous than normal as it tries to cool the computer down.

Memory operation errors.

Your laptop is scorching hot to touch in certain areas.

Your laptop is running slower than usual.

What Damage Can Overheating Cause?

Your laptop can suffer quite extensive damage and require you to replace major components, which could prove to be expensive.

You can actually cause damage to yourself. My report of singed thighs was slightly exaggerated but, believe it or not, cases of burned genitalia and legs are common. Some medical reports also attribute fertility problems to excessive heat from a laptop.

What Do I Do if my Laptop is Overheating?

Try to keep your laptop on a cool, hard surface. The majority of models have their ventilation underneath, so if you were daft enough to think that because it's called a laptop it's ok to have it on your lap (doh), think again. You may well be in danger of obstructing the ventilation. Ensure that air can circulate all around the laptop, especially underneath.

Keep all the vents clear of dirt, fluff, dust and fibres.

Only connect USB devices when you need to use them.

Use the powersaving functions of your laptop, helps to prevent overheating and also extend the battery life.

Use a laptop cooling stand, a gel cooling pad or a 3-fan cooling pad.

I hope this helps any of you who are experiencing similar problems. I'm pleased to say that Lysander is behaving perfectly once again after I ordered him a nifty new notebook cooler and my legs are now recovering from that motley, corned beef look.

Paula Brett is a writer and internet marketer in several niches. She also co-owns Check out her recommended Laptop and Notebook [ PAGE NOT FOUND] here.

Bucaro TecHelp Webmaster's comment: I agree totally with this wonderful article by Paula Brett, but I would like to add that in 2006 Dell computer had to recall 4 million batteries because they where causing their laptops to catch fire. The batteries, made by the Chinese company Sony, had impurities and other defects introduced during the manufacturing process. Some estimates say there were 10 million defective batteries installed in laptop computers. So, in addition to the tips provided in Paula's article, you might consider the possibility of a defective battery.

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