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Dealing With an Overheating Computer Concern

Dealing With an Overheating Computer Concern

Dealing With an Overheating Computer Concern

There are a few issues no desktop or laptop computer owner wants to run into, and one of these is overheating. A computer that's too hot during operation could be signaling a few different things to you, and you may have to take one of a couple different actions to remedy the situation.

At PC Laptops, we're here to not only offer a variety of brand new laptops and PCs, but also to provide computer repair services for all our products -- and many from other manufacturers as well. We've assisted clients with several different overheating concerns in the past, helping them understand not only why their computer is getting hot and how they can remedy it, but also how to prevent these issues moving forward. Here's a primer on everything you need to know about computer overheating.

Why is My Computer Overheating?

It's important to realize that in nearly every case, an overheating computer is getting so hot in response to one of several issues that may be occurring. That is, overheating itself is a symptom of problems taking place in the device, not the actual cause.

There are several minor issues that may lead to computer overheating, including:

  • Poor ventilation: When your computer is plugged in, it's not actually getting the electricity from the wall -- rather, it's receiving alternating current (AC) that needs to be converted into direct current (DC). That conversion takes place in a power supply unit housed somewhere inside your machine. The issue here is that some of these models may not be configured to handle the power draw of your system plus the additional load that is placed on it by plugging in AC devices, such as a fan. You may have multiple ports for USB cables, and all of these could be drawing current away from the computer itself (especially if you're charging a tablet or phone via one of those ports). It suffices to say that a computer can draw only so much power from the wall, and if you try and pull more than it should be getting at any given time, it'll get hot in response.
  • Dirty fan: The fan could very well be the culprit for overheating when it's not properly maintained. When you vacuum out your computer (which you should do at minimum once per year), fully clean out all dust and debris from where the fan sits, as this can lead to insufficient airflow and cause lots of problems with temperature.
  • Viruses or malware: While this isn't the most common cause of computer overheating, it's still one that can happen -- viruses or malware could be slowing your machine's performance, which in turn will create extra heat.
  • Excessive usage: This is one of the more common causes for overheating, and you'll want to take special care if you're playing games, rendering video or audio, running multiple programs simultaneously, and/or doing other intensive tasks on your computer.
  • Sunlight exposure: Finally, if you've just moved your PC to a very sunny spot, the exposed glass may get hot, which will cause your machine to work overtime in response.

General Tips for Dealing With an Overheating Computer

You have several basic tools available to you if you're looking to lower the heat level for your computer:

  • Clean the fan: For desktop computers, fans play a major role in keeping things cool, as they're designed to pull in air from outside and push it through the internal portions of your system. As dust builds up and is pushed around by fans over time, they're likely going to need some cleaning -- which can be done via an electronic vacuum or compressed air.
  • Laptop cooling stand: For laptops, the use of a cooling stand will help to protect the motherboard and several other components. As your computer heats up, you'll find that the fan kicks into overdrive in response -- this will expel more heat than normal for laptop computers, so you should consider investing in one if you use your machine in its native position (i.e., on your lap) frequently.
  • Avoid hot weather and sunlight with your computer: If you're planning on working outside, consider moving your machine to a shady spot in the event that sunlight is shining directly on your machine's display. This can trap heat and cause unusual internal temperatures.
  • Remove malware and viruses: If you know that viruses are likely the cause of your computer getting hot, remove them from the system using quality antivirus or virus removal software.
  • Upgrade hardware: If you have an older, slower computer that's struggling to keep up with your current workload, consider upgrading hardware as a solution to help your machine function better under heavy load.
  • Check for air leaks and spills: Leaks aren't common in a PC, but they can lead to major issues with temperature if left alone. One area where this could be a major issue is the cooling vents in your computer case, so take some time and double-check these to make sure there isn't anything that's blocking airflow. A simple piece of tape or a rubber gasket should do the trick.
  • Professional repairs: Finally, for computers that overheat regularly, you should consider professional repair to help get to the root of the problem. This could include replacing hardware that's not working properly, or it may mean upgrading several components (such as heat sinks) in order to keep everything running smoothly when you're using your machine for intense work.

For more on dealing with an overheating computer, or to learn about any of our PC or laptop repair services, speak to the staff at PC Laptops today.