Computer Care: Prevent Laptop Overheating

Laptops are prone to overheating. Learn tips for keeping yours safe and running smoothly.

Laptops, just like any computer equipment, are susceptible to overheating, so certain precautions must be made to make sure your laptop computer performs at its best all the time.

There is a fan inside all laptops that is designed to keep it from overheating. However, sometimes the fan is not enough to keep your laptop cool, or sometimes it stops working entirely and you have to take certain measures to keep the laptop cool on your own. To keep your fan working properly for as long as possible, dust your computer often. The fan has to work extra hard when there is extra dust inside the computer, and if you dust regularly, the fan won't experience as much wear and tear. Use canned air to blow short bursts of air into the fan vent (make sure your computer is turned off!) and blow out any dust particles. Use the canned air to blow out any other vents or openings that lead into the computer's insides. This will help keep all the components running freely.

Another easy way to keep your laptop from overheating is to prop it up off of your desktop or other surface so that the fan creates the maximum amount of circulation possible for the laptop. This can be as simple as using a medium sized book underneath the back of your laptop, but be sure not to cover the fan vent. Position the book so that the fan can blow freely.

Many computer and electronics stores sell specific equipment for keeping your computer cool. Some even have extra fans that run off of your laptop's USB or firewire port. Be careful of such devices, though€¦ they could actually use more power than they can cool down, making the overheating problem worse. Also, make sure that any device you buy doesn't block your internal laptop cooling fan, as this will also exacerbate the problem.

If your fan has stopped working or your laptop overheats to the point of shutting down often, it needs to be repaired. The solutions above are temporary fixes, and a more permanent solution is often required to resolve the problem entirely.

When buying a laptop, avoid overheating concerns by checking into the model before you buy it. Certain brands and models are well known for having overheating issues, such as Dell Inspirons and some Compaq models. 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. Choose your model carefully, and you won't need the solutions explained above.

Another quick fix is to minimize the amount of processing your CPU is doing at one time. Regularly run anti-spyware and anti-virus software to make sure your computer is free from performance-compromising illegal spyware. These programs can eat up your CPU power and cause your system to overheat frequently.

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