Introduction: Computer (Laptop) Cooling Basics
The cooling of the CPU (Central Processing Unit), otherwise referred to as "The Chip" or to laymen "The Brain" of the laptop is a dilemma that most manufacturers have to face when designing a laptop enclosure (casing) and choosing the correct CPU for it. The cooling is normally performed by a fan and some kind of metal conductor like copper or aluminum called a heat sink. The CPU, and lately the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit), are "connected" to the metal heat sink via a thermal grease or compound. This grease conducts heat but not electricity. The "trick" for manufacturers is to get rid of as much heat as possible using as small a fan and heat sink as the CPU will allow. Vents are also cut into the casing allowing the fan to suck cool air from the bottom, force it over the heat sink and blow it out the side or rear thus cooling the CPU and GPU. In more modern times copper is being used as the conducting metal, liquid is "pumped" through the system and radiators and exhaust ports are used just like in motor vehicles. All this to get rid of the heat and make the system run faster.
The problem is that over time dust and other particles clog the vents, fan and exhaust port or radiator of the system thus restricting air flow and cooling. This is fixed relatively easily by blowing out the vents and fan with air or using a brush or earbud (Q-tip) to clean away the dust. Remember: In the computer world - DUST DESTROYS! There is however another hidden problem that occurs when computers (laptops) heat up or overheat. They tend to dry out the thermal compound that conducts the heat thus causing the system to overheat more quickly. Luckily most CPUs, GPUs and chip manufacturers have built in protection for this. They step down the operating speed bit by bit until they eventually switch off the CPU and thus the system shuts down. So if you have a computer system that starts working slower and slower and then switches off for no apparent reason, overheating could be your problem.
To solve the overheating problem, especially in laptops, I am going to show you how to get to the cooling unit, dust it out, replace the thermal grease and put everything together again. In order to demonstrate this I will be using a friend's LG F1 Pro Express Dual laptop that started exhibiting just such symptoms. It would become sluggish and then suddenly switch off for no reason. This caused him a lot of lost work and a corrupted Outlook PST email file. Here I will show you step by step the solution to this nasty problem.
Interesting Tech Fact: I captured all the pictures with my Samsung Galaxy S cellphone.
Step 1: Preparing for the Process
Before you start, make sure you have made a backup of all your data files and that if in the unlikely event that something does go wrong, you will be able to restore your application programs and the data. (Tip: Test the data files to make sure they were backed up correctly!)
Make sure the backup is totally separate from your laptop, not on the same hard drive, on an external device like a SD / USB or portable drive.
Prepare an area to work on that is well lit, clean, dry and has enough space. Use a towel or soft cloth under to laptop to protect it because it will be lying on it's screen for most of the time during the procedure. Make sure that nothing you use, even your clothes, generate static electricity. This process will take about 30 minutes.
NOTE: THIS WILL VOID YOUR WARRANTY IF YOUR LAPTOP STILL HAS ONE. ASK YOUR SUPPLIER TO DO THIS FOR YOU IF IT IS STILL UNDER WARRANTY!