Why has my laptop started running really hot at times?

I've noticed that my computer runs really hot sometimes after 20 mins or so.  Other times I can have it on for hours before it gets hot.  Thanks ahead for all answers.

frollard8 years ago
The main power hogs in your laptop are: (in order)

CPU
Screen/GPU
HDD
Optical Drives (in use)
Other Peripherals.

By and large the biggest user of power is the cpu.  When you use the computer very little (in cpu terms) many laptops cycle down their processors, turn parts off, and go slower, such to use less power and get less hot.  When you use more computing power, the opposite happens - it spools up and gets hotter.  Using more cpu happens at various times; such as when you do powerful calculations like graphics editing, video rendering/viewing, or other number crunching.

An indication of a problem can come from when the computer is idle, the cpu isn't cooling down.  Vis a vis; something is using the cpu.  More often than not, its a virus.  Other possible causes are background services like the windows file indexing service that crunches away in the background when otherwise idle to build a searchable database of your computer.

Check your task manager (windows) with ctrl+alt+delete or ctrl+shift+escape.  When you're not executing a program or doing anything intensive, the cpu usage should idle between 0-10%, with brief spikes here and there as background services do 'stuff'.  When you do something heavy duty like recoding a dvd, it should be at 100%.  Check the processes tab - Look at the programs running to see which are using up the cpu.  Google the name of the application to see if its legit.

-----------

Cooling:  since it's intermittent, it's not like you have a blocked cooling port making the laptop overheat.  Still, it's not a bad idea to clean the visible dust with a vacuum and compressed air now and then.  If theres an openable port to get at the guts to blow out the dust, go for it.  It can't hurt.

Amen.  You said everything I was about to say.  Rather than be repetitive, I'll just advise you to give frollard the best answer.