Working on a laptop is a fiddly business at times. When your laptop is a workhorse for your business or entertainment, it’s annoying when you don’t feel it works as well as it should. But there are some things you can do to keep your laptop running like new. One of these is to keep it cool.

Why should you keep your laptop cool?

Laptops get hot! Yes, they’re small and thin, but they’re also packed with components like processors, hard drives, and graphics cards, and all of that heat needs to dissipate somehow. But you shouldn’t just rely on the laptop’s built-in cooling system. Laptops do have an internal cooling system that helps them run quickly while resisting overheating. However, the internal components and their heat can cause your laptop to run slowly, shut down after a few minutes, or even fail together. That is why it is best to keep your laptop from overheating.

What Causes Laptops to Overheat?

Excessive heat causes all sorts of problems, including melted plastic, shattered glass, and in extreme cases, fires. While most laptops are sealed up tight, unfortunately, there’s still a way out of the internals, which brings us to the question: what causes laptops to overheat?

Here are the following causes why laptops overheat:

  • Your laptop’s memory is full. Are you finding your laptop getting really hot, and you don’t know why? One of the causes could be that it is running low on memory. When your laptop uses memory for storage, it consumes more power. Some laptops have a memory that is integrated into the motherboard, while others have a memory that is in the form of an SD card. When it comes to laptops, a memory comes in two forms, RAM (random access memory) and ROM (read-only memory). RAM is the type of memory that is inside a computer’s RAM chip, which stores data while the computer is running. When a computer is powered on, it loads data from the computer’s RAM and reads and writes data to and from the RAM.

  • You have a broken laptop-fan situation. One of the ways your laptop can get too hot is from a broken fan. Most laptops have fans in the processor that help keep the processor cool. If those fans fail, your laptop can overheat. The temperature at which heat damages your computer will vary; it depends mainly on the type of processor and the amount of RAM and hard drive it has. In general, you want to prevent your laptop from getting too hot.

  • The laptop’s thermal paste has dried up. Many laptops suffer from overheating issues, and you could be subjecting your laptop to unnecessary risks. One of the main reasons laptops overheat is due to a buildup of thermal paste, which is responsible for transferring heat from the processor to the heat sink. This heat simply dissipates into the air or is absorbed into the laptop’s body. Over time, the thermal paste dries and cracks, allowing more heat to dissipate into the laptop.

  • The fan’s dusty. Dust buildup inside your laptop’s fans is a common cause of overheating, and this can cause a number of issues ranging from a sluggish laptop to permanent damage to the machine. But the good news is that you can clean your laptop’s fans and prevent overheating.

Laptops, tablets, and phones all use microprocessors (or CPUs) that are responsible for “doing” the primary computing tasks of your device. As these processors use more and more power, they also generate more heat. But, as with all electronics, keeping the internal components cool is a major priority. Unfortunately, laptops rarely have enough ventilation to dissipate excess heat. When laptops overheat, they can experience permanent damage, including melted-down chips and components, or even heat-related fires if the case becomes so damaged that hot components start shorting out.

Top Ways to Keep Your Laptop Cool

If you spend a lot of time using your laptop in a hot environment, such as a sunny car or basement office, you could experience some heat-related problems. Laptop computers are able to produce heat since that’s the only way for them to run, but excessive heat is detrimental to their performance. Excess heat can slow your system down and even damage laptop hardware. You can cool your laptop down quite a bit with some simple tips.

Check out the following ways to help keep it cool:

Give your laptop a rest. You may have come across those TV commercials that tell viewers that they’ve left their laptop on for the past 24 hours. The commercial shows a graphic depicting how much money has been wasted over the span of an entire year. The implication is that it’s a waste of money to leave your laptop on while it’s not in use—and, of course, a waste of energy.

But is leaving your laptop on all day really that wasteful? Of course, it can bring harm to your device. Most of us don’t give a second thought to using excessive heat to power up our laptops. After all, it’s only used for an hour or two per week, right? Wrong. Excessive heat can damage laptop components and make them fail faster. Heat can also shorten the life of the battery. So, taking a break from your laptop will go a long way in prolonging it.

1. Not all laptops have the same fans.

If your computer is sounding like a jet plane taking off, it could be that you have a problem with your laptop’s cooling fans. When this happens, you’ll notice that your laptop gets louder. That could mean something is wrong. Fan noise is a common complaint with laptops, especially newer models.

While laptops generally use their own fans to cool their processors, they also use fans to cool their internal battery and hard drives. Some laptops have fans that spin faster even when their processors aren’t working hard, so these fans can be noisier than necessary. You should also check your fan blades to see if they’re bent or warped, as this could cause a buildup of heat inside your laptop’s case, eventually leading to an overheating problem.

2.Use an external fan. 

Whether you’re working from home or sitting in a hot cubicle, your laptop can get hot. Just like with the human body, avoiding heat is the best way to prevent heat-related damage to your hardware. When your laptop gets excessively hot, turn it off and let it cool down. Then power it on and allow it to run for a few minutes before resuming your work.

A laptop’s internal fan is usually one of the most inefficient fans on your computer. So, you have to supplement it with a more powerful external fan or cooler in order to keep it cool. You might not think that using an external fan or cooler requires much skill, but configuring a laptop fan and cooler correctly requires good general PC knowledge and some advanced technical skills, like soldering.

3. Monitor your laptop’s temperature.

Have you ever been working on your computer and suddenly the temperature on your LCD screen started to increase? Sometimes this can be due to faulty hardware. Other times, the problem could be related to overheating. Just as we need to pay attention to our body’s internal temperature, we need to pay attention to the temperature of our workstations, too.

When your laptop or PC gets too hot, it means that the CPU is working hard, and if there is excessive heat, it can damage it. If it’s a laptop, then add some cold packs to your lap, and make sure the bottom of the laptop is elevated so that air can circulate freely and the fan can do its job. If it’s a laptop with a built-in fan, then keeping it at a cool temperature is essential. To do this, you can use a program like SpeedFan or Hardware Monitor and install a fan control program to control the fan speed. Also, use a laptop cooler or cool wrist rest to keep your laptop cool.

4. Make sure your graphics adapter is working properly.

Your laptop’s power supply may be playing a smaller role than you think in keeping it cool. When your laptop’s CPU hits 100% load, it uses roughly 10 watts of power (the wattage per hour). However, when it’s idle, it’s using just 1 watt. So, when you play graphically intense games, YouTube videos, or stream your favorite video, the CPU is drawing power at 100%, and there’s no telling how high the wattage will go.

When your laptop is running hot, you tend to notice right away, and the hot laptop syndrome will bite back in the form of slower performance and a sluggish laptop. One of the most important things you can do to keep your system cool is to make sure your graphics adapter is working properly. If your graphics adapter is installed properly but your laptop is still warm, there could be some other issues.

5. Your laptop stand is an essential piece of equipment. 

Keeping a laptop cool is important, but a laptop stand is probably one of the best ways. A laptop stand is a device that elevates and tilts your laptop, making your work easier and letting you have a comfortable position while doing it. A laptop stand offers a lot of benefits, including:

  • It allows you to rest your laptop on a comfortable surface, which reduces the stress on your back and wrists.

  • It allows you to view the screen at just the right angle, making it easier to see.

  • It allows you to use your laptop while resting on your couch, bed, or another chair, giving you a better position to work.

  • It allows you to use the laptop while resting your forearms on your lap, which is more comfortable than resting them on the keyboard.

There are many laptops stands on the market, and while there are a lot of choices, most of the top products offer the same basic benefits.

6. Dust bunnies are not cute.

Dust bunnies are small, fuzzy balls of dust that collect on your laptop’s keyboard and are usually easy to get rid of (ever seen one of those videos online of people blowing compressed air into their keyboard?). But, the problem is that dust bunnies can build up quite fast. If left on your laptop, they can even affect the health and performance of your laptop.

Dust buildup on your laptop is not only unsightly, but it can also cause your computer to run slower. To clean your laptop, start by unplugging it and removing any detachable covers. Then, remove all of the screws on the bottom cover. (Removing the screws may make your laptop easier to clean in the long run, so keep them in case you ever need to replace your laptop’s components.)

7. A laptop should be placed on a flat surface.

Laptops can be very hot, especially during heavy use or being left on. As heat rises, hot air can push out from the bottom vents, causing your laptop to overheat. Every time you use your laptop, you are generating heat. This extra heat places more wear and tear on your device and will eventually cause the device to overheat.

You do not want to shut down your laptop to cool it down—you actually want to cool it down. To cool down your overheated laptop, make sure to place it on a hard surface (such as a bench or table) with a fan blowing over the computer. Next, shut down your laptop—it’s best to power it down entirely. This will prevent the fan from spinning up and creating extra heat.

Laptops allow us to work from anywhere, but they can also overheat. The CPU fan is constantly spinning, the power supply is constantly spilling out heat, and the internal components are heating up. And the longer we work on a really hot laptop, the worse it gets. But there are ways to let your laptop cool down. Check out the above-listed tips to keep your laptop cool.

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About the Author JChou

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