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Picture of How to Stop Your Laptop Overheating
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
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.

The Solution
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.  

 
 
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Step 1: Preparing for the Process

Picture of 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!


Step 2: The Tools

Picture of The Tools
You will need the following:

Tools:
1. A holder to keep the screws from getting lost. (The cap of a deodorant can works well.)
2. Thermal grease or compound. You local computer shop or hardware store should have this otherwise "Google is your Friend"
3. Screwdrivers that fit the screws on the back of your specific laptop.
4. Earbud (Q-tip) cotton swabs
5. Wooden tongue depressor or any other soft object to scrape the old thermal grease off.
6. Brush

Time:
About 30 minutes

Cost:
A couple of Bucks

Saving:
Huge! (You would normally have replaced your laptop as it is unusable in it's current state.)

Optional:
Rubber gloves or finger cots
Earth strap or grounding wire
Some Isopropyl alcohol wipes


Step 3: Removing the Battery and Back Cover

Picture of Removing the Battery and Back Cover
03-LG F1 Laptop Battery Lock.gif
04a-LG F1 Laptop Battery Removed.jpg
05c-LG F1 Laptop System Door Bolts.jpg
05b-LG F1 Laptop System Door Removed.jpg
After you have backed up all you data files and shut down your laptop, unplug the power source and remove the battery. In the case of the LG F1 Pro Express Dual the battery is released by two clips, marked 1 and 2, in the second picture. The system door has 4 screws that give you access to the CPU, GPU, RAM (Random Access Memory) and various other parts like the Real Time Clock battery, modem and cooling unit.

Release the battery and remove it completely. Using the correct screwdriver loosen the four (4) screws. Place then in the holder once they are removed. Remove the back cover and set it aside. You will notice dust clinging to the back cover. Use the brush and earbuds to clean the vents and back cover.  


Step 4: Unscrew and Remove the Cooling Unit

You can now put on your rubber gloves and attach your grounding/earthing strap  if you want to. I did not. 

The easiest way to identify the cooling unit is to look for the fan. Once you have this, it should be easy to locate the screws holding it down. Carefully remove them and place them in the holder. Gently grip the cooling unit and remove it from the laptop. Try twisting it back and forth, left and right, slightly (not up and down) before lifting it out. It should "break" any hardened thermal grease that acts like glue. This one comes out at a slight angle. Remove it slowly and gently because the fan power cable is still attached to the motherboard and needs to be removed before the unit will come out completely. 

Note: In my case, the CPU came out with the unit. This is unusual and very rare as the CPU is normally latched firmly to the motherboard. In my case the thermal grease had dried out completely and acted like "putty" by "glueing" the CPU to the heat exchanger. The twisting action should "break" this glue bond but is not always possible. Open the CPU socket  "latch", take the CPU by the edges. DO NOT TOUCH THE PINS! Align the CPU to the socket by matching the markings or pin configurations together. Press down firmly to seat the CPU and lock it in place with the latch.    

Step 5: Dust out the Unit

Picture of Dust out the Unit
08a-LG F1 Laptop Heat Sink and Radiator Top View.jpg
08b-LG F1 Laptop Heat Sink and Radiator Bottom View.jpg
09a-LG F1 Laptop Fan Bay.jpg
05b-LG F1 Laptop System Door Removed.jpg
Using your breath, compressed air, hair dryer or fan gently blow out the dust located in the fan, case, exhaust port and anywhere else you see it accumulated. Use earbuds to clean the fan blades. Hold the fan down when blowing it with air so that it does not operate in the reverse direction and also not work against the blowing air. Use the brush to dust everything off one last time before blowing it out with air again. 

Step 6: Remove the old Thermal Grease

Using a soft object like a wooden tongue depressor, plastic knife or old credit card scrape the old thermal grease / compound from the CPU, GPU and Heat Exchanger. Be gentle and take your time as there is no rush and trying different angles, the dried thermal grease should just flake off. Here you could also use the  Isopropyl alcohol wipes or an earbud dipped in Isopropyl alcohol to remove the dried thermal grease. It comes off easier then. If you are going to work and touch components on the motherboard, I suggest you wear an earth / grounding strap and rubber gloves. 

Step 7: Apply new Thermal Grease

Picture of Apply new Thermal Grease
11b-LG F1 Laptop CPU Thermal Paste Applied.jpg
11c-LG F1 Laptop GPU Thermal Paste Applied.jpg
Place a very small blob of thermal grease (mine might be a little too much) on the CPU and GPU only. Do not place any on the heat exchanger as well. You only need to place thermal grease on one or the other. Use the wooden depressor, plastic knife or old credit card to spread it evenly and very thinly over the surface of the area of the CPU / GPU or heat exchanger that will come in contact with each other. More is not better in this case. Too much thermal grease will not cause better heat conduction but might even cause some heat build up.

Step 8: Replace the Unit and Close the Case

Picture of Replace the Unit and Close the Case
12b-LG F1 Laptop Replace Heat Sink.jpg
12c-LG F1 Laptop Replace Back Cover.jpg
12d-LG F1 Laptop Replace Battery.jpg
Connect the Fan Power Cable. Replace the heat exchanger and tighten down the five (5) screws to keep it securely in place. Replace the system door, pressing down gently but firmly until all the sides have clipped in place. Replace the four (4) screws and tighten them. Replace the battery and make sure it is locked in place.  

Step 9: Turn the Unit on

Picture of Turn the Unit on
Plug everything back into the laptop that needs to be there and turn the unit on. Voila! No more overheating. Its a miracle you have given your laptop a new lease on life!

Step 10: Tips and Additional Resources

Picture of Tips and Additional Resources
14b-LG F1 Laptop Additional Cooling.jpg
laptop-cooler.jpg
In conclusion some tips and additional resources to help you manage, reduce and monitor your laptop overheating problems.

Use your laptop on a hard flat surface. Blankets and clothes tend to block the vents and reduce airflow.

The help reduce heat build up even further you can use a laptop cooling pad. This usually raises the laptop and has fans that force more air in from the bottom.

If sudden laptop shut-downs have also damaged the Outlook PST file, use MicroSoft's SCANPST to fix it. SCANPST can be found here for the different versions of Outlook:
http://www.msoutlook.info/question/77

More Outlook repair tools can be found here:
http://www.howto-outlook.com/products/outlooktools.htm

If you suspect your system of overheating, CPU and system temperature can be monitored and logged by this FREEWARE program called SPEEDFAN.
http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php

Keep those laptop's cool!

   

Step 11: Afterword

Testing the Temperature
Quite a few people have commented that I used way too much thermal grease (compound) and that the amount I used would cause overheating. I disagree with this view. So in an attempt to provide some kind of proof, one way or the other, I decided to monitor the temperature for a few weeks with SpeedFan v4.44. Then to take the laptop apart again, clean it up, using the suggested alcohol wipes method, and replace the thermal compound. This time I would use a thin amount. I would than assemble everything and then monitor the temperature again. I followed the same process as before with the slight suggested changes. This documents that process.

According to the CPU chip specifications for a LF80537 T5500, which is a Intel Core 2 Duo Mobile, the Minimum/Maximum operating temperature (°C) is 0 - 100°C. The maximum operating temperature of the CPU was 65°C before I started this process. After I completed the process the maximum operating temperature was 60°C. It seems I might have applied too much thermal compound but not way too much to cause overheating. Just too much as in wastage. It would seem as if excessive amounts of thermal compound could cause your system to heat up slightly more and if it is running close to the maximum allowed temperature it might cause overheating. It caused a 5°C increase in temperature in my case but this is not definite because it was not a controlled situation. The increase was not enough to cause overheating, but enough to deduce that excessive amounts of thermal paste could increase the temperature. The photos contain a step-by-step guide of what I did.

Notes: Wipes

I found the alcohol wipes worked terrible. It smeared the thermal grease all over and just created a bigger mess to clean. It could be because the previous thermal grease was al dried out and flaked off nicely. This thermal grease was wet and sticky. It smeared too easily. On the GPU there are very small resistors or components and the wipes smeared the thermal grease all over them and then kept getting caught in them.

If I were to do this instructable from the start over again, I would use less thermal grease from the start as it does make a difference no matter how slight, but I would not use the alcohol wipe.

Update 2013

I have been ripping Intel CPUs out of laptops and desktops and replacing the thermal compound (grease) for years now and have noticed that on the older Intel CPUs the thermal grease was used liberally. However, on the newer CPUs the compound is quite thin. I wonder if it really matters that much or is it cost saving to have a very small (tiny) amount of compound in between the CPU and the cooler (heat sink)?

Here is what Intel itself says about how to apply thermal grease to a CPU. What you will read will surprise you because there is no mention of layer thickness and no mention of spreading it around. To tell you the truth it states that you blob everything in the centre of the CPU and the pressure of the cooler (heat sink) on the CPU will determine the thickness, squeezing out all excess. I think I also mentioned something like that in one of my comments. This information comes straight from the CPU manufacturer, and they should know. Read for yourself at:
http://www.intel.com/support/processors/sb/CS-030329.htm (Click "How to Apply TIM" from the menu)

I have included some of the photos from the Intel site for reference.
I have also replaced the thermal grease (compound or interface material if you are from Intel) on many secondary chips like integrated GPUs on motherboards by releasing the cooler (heat sink), cleaning both surfaces, apply thermal grease and replace. Once you know how, you can replace the thermal compound on practically anything.

Update 2014

Many people are still suggesting I am using too much thermal grease. I want to bring the following to the attention of these people. I am using a non conductive thermal grease. It does not conduct heat as well as the conductive thermal grease but does not damage components when it comes in contact with them because it does not conduct electricity. Cooling has to do with getting rid of excess heat, so the thermal grease is only one part of the solution. The heat sink, fan and airflow are the other parts. You could have a CPU that does not have well applied thermal grease but has a fantastic heat sink and airflow across it and the system will never overheat. Here are some links to other resources which I found very helpful in understanding overheating, thermal grease, fans and airflow.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cooling-air-pressure-heatsink,3058-8.html
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/thermal-paste-heat-sink-heat-spreader,3600.html
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/thermal-paste-performance-benchmark,3616.html
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2009/02/16/all-about-tim/1

http://www.intel.com/support/processors/sb/CS-028869.htm
http://www.intel.com/support/processors/sb/CS-030329.htm

I hope this helps everyone understand more about what causes overheating and how to solve the problem.

Step 12: How much thermal paste is enough?

During the course of writing and expanding this article I have constantly been told that I use too much thermal compound or grease. Most of the people that make these statements have no proof either way of how much paste needs to be used. They also do not read the complete article with its comments. I have been doing this since the early 1980's and have never found the amount of TIM (thermal interface material/compound/grease/paste) I use to cause any problems. I normally provide a link to CPU manufacturer, Intel's, website where they explain how to apply TIM. Intel just state that you apply a blob in the middle and let the pressure of the heat sink spread it. I also refer people to Tom's Hardware were there is a much more in depth analysis on the application of TIM.

Although Tom's Hardware is quite thorough regarding the issue you will see that it is not totally impartial and personal the preferences of the tester do come to the fore. Like the statement that "smearing paste on the whole CPU is quite pointless and a thing of the past" because all CPUs have hot spots that generally lie like a sausage in the middle of the cpu from left to right. However, Tom's admits itself that it is not that simple in their statement "The two images below illustrate what a hot spot is, albeit in an over-simplified way. Reality is not as simple; CPU cores may be loaded differently, and there is also the issue of on-die graphics, which may be more or less active than the processing cores." This means we do not really know exactly where the hot spot really is at any given moment. Tom's even admits that the application method is a "philosophical debate". Although Tom's stated previously that spreading paste on the whole core "is quite pointless and a thing of the past" they then discuss Revoltec Thermal Grease Nano which is applied with a brush. A picture is shown where the whole CPU is "painted" with the paste even though it is "pointless and a thing of the past". Tom's states that "these pastes typically fall to the bottom of our performance charts. When you try to apply semi-liquid pastes by brush, typically you wind up with too much, and that isn’t optimal." Then Tom's states that spreading is tedious and runs the risk of applying too much.

I am a firm believer of spreading a liberal amount over the entire surface that comes in contact with the heat sink. The reason for this is that I believe in the the law that states the maximum heat transfer happens when the biggest area is touching the conductive material.

NOTE: NOT ALL TIMs CAN BE SPREAD BY HAND!

In an effort to provide a more believable answer than just my experience and opinion, I have gathered some pictorial "evidence" of how the manufacturers of the chips themselves apply TIM. At www.hardwaresecrets.com they tested the outcome of the amount and method of applying TIM by applying a tiny dot in middle, a small dot in middle, transversal line, parallel lines and spread across the CPU methods. Although the tests are not 100% lab proven the do give and idea of what to expect.

The results in core temperature in Celsius were as follows:

a tiny dot in middle - 55

a small dot in middle - 50

transversal line - 51

parallel lines - 51

spread across - 51

The difference in applying too much paste to just the right amount is 1%. The difference between applying a dot in the middle and spreading it is 0.2% and can be ignored. Read the article as the "correct" dot amount for them is also a bit of trial and error. I will then rather stick to my spreading method.

Make up your own mind based on the this information, the kind of paste you have, the kind of CPU and the heat sink that is to be used.

1-40 of 88Next »
majsison2 months ago
Hi, Mr. Andre. I don't know if this the right thread where I should ask this but my laptop's keyboard is malfunctioning. I press on whatever key ONCE but the result is as if I have pressed the key a hundred times. It is now impossible to use it. The reason I am asking it here is because it happened after I left my laptop charging (and may have overheated). Can an overheating battery destroy the keyboard's functioning? Thank you! I hope I am not bothering you!
Don OnkaraM2 months ago
Don OnkaraM2 months ago
PRAFULP2 months ago

Hello, Mr.Andre Coetzee, I'am using DELL Vostro 1015 laptop from past 4 years, but nowadays it gets heated up very fast and I'am not using any kind of material under laptop like pillow. After getting heated, my laptop gets lagging while doing work please help me. What can I do to solve this problem.

Sometimes it is very difficult to work on it.

This is to inform you that I'am using Windows 7 and want to upgrade to Windows 8 so can you tell me that if, should I upgrade or not*

*(If no then give reason) *

Andre Coetzee (author)  PRAFULP2 months ago
Hi PRAFULP,
First off, lets deal with your upgrade issue. Why would you would need to upgrade to Windows 8? Is there a much needed special feature that will help you? If not, don't upgrade. However, here are the more tangible reasons why not to:

1. The Dell Vostro 1015 was not designed for Windows 8
2. The Dell Vostro 1015 has no Windows 8 drivers
3. Windows 10 (Microsoft Edge) will replace Windows 8 in the 2nd half of 2015. The new Windows 10 OS will be able to run Android and iOS apps.
4. Don't fix something that is not broken. 
The only reason I can think of why you would is that Windows 8 is lighter on resources, starts up slightly faster and has better security.

Now, for your overheating problem. Your laptop is full of dust. Open it up. Blow out the dust and lint. Replace the thermal paste of the CPU. It should then be fine. Please only do this if you know what you are doing and backup your data before opening your laptop.
You can find the service manual HERE.
malik37443 months ago

Hi, I have Hp1000 notebook for my personal use but after installing windows 8, heat sink started to exhaust severe kind of heat. What should I do?

Andre Coetzee (author)  malik37443 months ago
Hi malik3744,
Windows 8 is optimized for touch screen enabled devices, so if you do not really need to Windows 8, go back to your previous OS. If you cannot do this, clean out all the dust out of you laptop as per my instructable, (See HERE for the HP 1000 service manual). If you have done this, I suggest using a fan driven cooling pad to help with the air flow. Windows 8 overheating like this normally happens when the GPU (graphics card) starts working harder. You can investigate Windows 8 options to reduce GPU (and CPU) usage. This will reduce the temperature on the laptop. 

I have dell inspiron N5010 ,all time my laptop over heat quickly within 5 minutes ,but there is no interruption in running programe and working on my laptop,but I need solution how to cooling system.

Andre Coetzee (author)  biraj.debbarma.93 months ago
Hi biraj.debbarma.9

If you are not blocking the cooling vents by working on a blanket or piece of material then you have dust and lint in your system. Even a cooling pad will only go so far to help if the system is clogged with dust and lint.

Your laptop will have dust collected in the fan. See this video to see how much dust can collect and where. This video shows you how to take apart your laptop to clean out the dust in the fan and heat sink. 
CandyS4 months ago

I have a Dell Latitude D530, and was wondering how i would clean the vents.

Andre Coetzee (author)  CandyS4 months ago
Hi CandyS,
If the vents on the computer are covered with dust and not allowing air to pass through and you want to clean them, then:

1. Turn off the System
2. Unplug the AC Adapter
3. Remove the Battery, for instructions on how to remove the battery see the Service Manual
4. Use air (compressor, can, vacuum cleaner, etc) to blow the dust out of the vents.

(The Service Manual also shows you how to remove the back cover so you can clean the fan with a brush.)  

Thanks for the advice, bt it was a gift from a friend so i have no manual.

Andre Coetzee (author)  CandyS4 months ago

Hi CandyS,

Not to worry, just click on the words Service Manual in my previous post (and this one ;-) ) and you will be taken straight to the manual section for your laptop.

QUASEEMA8 months ago

hello sir

i am using lenevo sl400c laptop, and it producing more heat can tell me what i have do

vlcsnap-2014-07-31-18h37m27s161.png
Andre Coetzee (author)  QUASEEMA6 months ago

Quaseema,

Which of my suggestions did you try and what was the result? You can find the manual showing you how to take your laptop apart and clean the fans on the Lenovo site here: http://download.lenovo.com/ibmdl/pub/pc/pccbbs/mo...

QUASEEMA8 months ago

hello sir

i am using lenevo sl400c laptop, and it producing more heat can tell me what i have do

vlcsnap-2014-07-31-18h37m27s161.png
Andre Coetzee (author)  QUASEEMA6 months ago

Quaseema,

Which of my suggestions did you try and what was the result? You can find the manual showing you how to take your laptop apart and clean the fans on the Lenovo site here: http://download.lenovo.com/ibmdl/pub/pc/pccbbs/mo...

QUASEEMA8 months ago

hello sir

i am using lenevo sl400c laptop, and it producing more heat can tell me what i have do

vlcsnap-2014-07-31-18h37m27s161.png
Andre Coetzee (author)  QUASEEMA6 months ago

Quaseema,

Which of my suggestions did you try and what was the result? You can find the manual showing you how to take your laptop apart and clean the fans on the Lenovo site here: http://download.lenovo.com/ibmdl/pub/pc/pccbbs/mo...

BryanL29 months ago

The fact that its not overheating doesn't mean you didn't use too much paste though, all it means is you got lucky this time and seem unwilling to take advice from someone who has been doing this stuff for 20+ years. Even if the effects of too much thermal paste can be minimal, its costing you money, since GOOD paste is expensive.

Andre Coetzee (author)  BryanL29 months ago
Dear BryanL2
It seems then that I have been very lucky for over 30 years applying the paste like I do. (I built my 1st 4.77 Mhz PC from scratch in the early 80's and continue fixing and building PCs today.) Although the cap of my thermal paste is broken and it is nearly empty, I still have the same tube of thermal paste I bought 10 years ago. People do not have to follow my advice. None of the more than half a million people who have read my instructable have to. They can decide for themselves, supported by the extensive descriptions, comments like yours and external website links, if they want to follow my method or not. It is not that I am unwilling to accept your advice, however you comment is contradicted by Intel and lab tests. Have you looked at the photographic procedure supplied by the CPU manufacturer that I included? I have attached photographs from Intel and supplied the link to the information on the Intel website at the end of the instructable. Select "How to Apply TIM" from the top of the Intel page to see their procedure. Here you will see the amount of paste Intel recommends. They empty the complete tube, that was supplied, on to the middle of the chip and do not even spread it thinly. According to you, Intel then also use too much paste. So how can I accept your statement as fact when they contradict the manufacturer's recommendations. Take a look at Tom's Hardware where they explain in detail everything that you need to know about cooling. Then check out the tests they did on the type and brand of thermal paste used and see how much that contributes to an increase in temperature. Even if you applied the right amount of paste the type and brand also matters. It matters much more than if you applied the paste thickly or thinly. Remember the thickness is a perception because some people believe there should barely be paste and it should be spread, others want a bit more paste but not spread, etc. Tom's really does an excellent job of explaining everything about cooling. Even the fact of blobbing the paste in the middle and let the heat sink spread it for you, the way Intel recommend. I supplied the links to this at the end of the Instructable. I am sure you probably knew this already. I am also sure that people that revive their overheating laptops will be so grateful that the few $ that was wasted on thermal paste will not matter to them. A few people have told me I use too much thermal paste but nobody has read the Intel description or the Tom's Hardware information. The manufacturer's information and lab test contradict the statements that I use too much paste. However, you can please all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time but you cannot please all the people all of the time. Thank you for your positive and constructive comments. I am sure your contribution will help others make informed and correct choices.
BryanL29 months ago

Waaaaaay to much thermal paste on that small area, you need like 1/4 that amount.

Andre Coetzee (author)  BryanL29 months ago
Hi BryanL2,
Thanks for your comment. This topic is covered extensively in the description and the comments. The myth buster that the laptop has been operating for more than two years without an overheating problem should be proof enough that there was not too much past on.
lalitk19 months ago

Hi, Great post and Thanks for sharing this nice post...

see : http://www.geeksonsite.co.nz/

taz99taz10 months ago

hello, i cleaned the heat sink, no more dust there, i applyed a new layer of thermal compound (arctic sylver) and my laptop pc is same as before .. slugish and shuts off wih no warning .. what should i do?

HartyJ taz99taz9 months ago

right bottom hand corner right click on your battery icon choose change setting then go into advanced settings turn your cpu max power to 60% this should stop your computer from over heating

Andre Coetzee (author)  taz99taz10 months ago
Hi taz99taz,

Cleaning the dust and re-applying thermal grease is only part of the solution. What you also need to do is make sure your laptop has good airflow going through it. Some have badly designed ventilation and a cooling pad (little tray/stand with fans on) might help solve your problem. Do you know if it is temperature? Have you run any utility to monitor if the CPU temperature is rising or not? You BIOS settings might also be set quite low and then the laptop will shut down even if it is not really overheating because you "told" it to in the BIOS. Check your airflow and monitor the temperature and get back to me with your findings.

Hello mr. Andre, thank you for the reply. I used Everest Ultimate to check the CPU temperature. It goes up to 92-93*C then it just shuts off.. the only way i can use it now is flipped over with the covers removed and connected to a tv. But if i try to play a game or watch a movie or video it shuts off. It was working fine until suddenly it started to do this (about 2 and a half weeks ago it started).. Should i start looking for a new one? (I have an Acer Ferrari One 200)

Thank you.

3of5 taz99taz10 months ago
hello taz99taz,
sometime oil from fingers and even dust can cause issues, even a very little amount. This may be a very stupid question, is the fan even running? When a CPU gets that hot, it should sound like the CPU fan is ready for take-off. I would be willing to take a look at it if you are willing to pay for shipping. Or if you don't want it, I would be happy to take it. I could even trade you for a netbook I have if the laptop has the right specs. (if you are willing to) if you are interested, my email is zappybear@gmail.com.
Andre Coetzee (author)  taz99taz10 months ago

Hi taz99taz, it seems as if your laptop is overheating if it reaches the high 90s in °C. It also seems to be the graphics card that is causing the overheating because it happens when you do graphic intensive operations. The graphics processor (GPU) might also have a heat sink that needs to be cleaned and re-greased. So lets put down the steps you should have done so far for your Acer Ferrari One 200:

1. Removed / Uninstalled all unused / not needed programs that run resident in the background. These programs cause higher CPU usage and thus contribute to heat build up.

2. Defrag your hard drive. When the heads jump around a lot looking for data it generates more heat.

3. Make sure the air vents under and on the sides of the laptop are clean, clear and open. Even when you use the laptop, make sure something is not blocking the air vents. Feel around the laptop to make sure the air flows out easily. Some people even take a Dremel tool and make the vents slightly bigger to promote better air flow by cutting away every alternate vent "bar". Remember that this will void any warranty, should be done with the laptop off and at your own risk. Does your laptop still have little rubber feet that raise it slightly off the surface it's on? If not, get some!

4. Get yourself a cooling pad. This is a small cheap stand with a fan or two on to help pull air through the laptop. There are easy and cheap ones you can make yourself here on instructables.

5. Clean out all the dust in the laptop and all its fans. You can use a vacuum cleaner to suck out the dust on a weekly basis so you do not have to open the case every time. Blow the dust out if you opened the case. The Acer is very touchy about dust and even a little bit prevents air flow and slows the fan down. [Turn your laptop upside down. Unscrew the 4 small screws and remove the large panel. Disassemble the fan / ventilator by unscrewing the 3 screws ( do not bother to remove the fan plug) Remove the accumulation of dust between the fan and the cooler. Blow out the dust through the gate of the cooler.]

6. Re-apply the thermal grease on the CPU and GPU.

7. Operate the laptop in a cooler/colder environment like closer to a room fan or air conditioner. The ambient room temperature can also contribute to overheating as the air drawn in to cool down the CPU is already warm.

8. Have the fan run all the time on the laptop and not just when it overheats. This is normally controller in the BIOS or operating system.

NOTE: Remember: You use the laptop to run games and movies and this will cause the laptop to run hotter because the hard drive is working harder and the graphics card is constantly on at a higher resolution. Some of the above suggestions might void your warranty and should be done with the laptop turned off, unplugged and the battery removed at your own risk.

Let me know if this helped you.

dopedndead10 months ago

Has anyone heard, that if your laptop overheats too much, it's probably bugged?

Andre Coetzee (author)  dopedndead10 months ago
Hi dopendead,
Although anything is possible and should a laptop be bugged the device might contribute to a small increase in power consumption and heat, but not enough to cause overheating. If somebody got hold of your laptop and was able to take it apart, it would be very easy to install a little FM transmitter that runs off the laptop battery. Many years ago, when Apple was still a seed in Steve Jobs's pocket, I used to build small FM bugs from transistors. They could fit into half a match box and have a signal range of about 100 to 150 m. You would use a normal FM radio to tune in to the frequency to hear whats going on. Now days it would be a very small IC that would be installed. What you must ask yourself is why would somebody do it?
busywith241 year ago

What`s about If I don`t use any thermal compound?

Andre Coetzee (author)  busywith2411 months ago

If you do not use any thermal compound your CPU could over heat. This will affect performance and your computer will start working slower and slower. Earlier CPUs would burn out. Newer CPUs step their speed down when they over heat. They eventually shut down when they get too hot to prevent damage. However over heating is not a good thing and could permanently damage and even destroy your computer.

wliu31 year ago
You seem to apply too much thermal paste. You will only need the size of a pea or less if you are doing on a laptop.
Andre Coetzee (author)  wliu31 year ago
Actually that is not totally accurate. In my 30 years of replacing thermal grease on chips I have tested thin layers and thick layers with very little difference (+/- 5%) in the temperature of the unit. The reason for this is that the pressure applied between the heat sink and the CPU by the retaining springs will spread the grease around and force excess paste out. See Step 11 Afterword of the instructable for more on the grease thickness as well as an 2013 update with info from Intel.

There are 2 problems with using too much grease/paste.

  1. If you are using a conductive paste, (silver based) too much can short out the tiny resistors/caps on the top of the CPU/GPU when it gets squeezed out.
  2. Grease is not nearly as conductive as copper. The purpose of thermal grease is to fill in any voids between the heatsink and the die. The thermal transfer of metal to silicon is better than metal to grease to silicon.(But metal>grease>silicon is better than metal>air>silicon.)

The worst thing you can do with any grease is to pre-spread it. This just creates air pockets in the grease that get trapped under the heatsink.

Andre Coetzee (author)  freezier1 year ago

Hi Freezier,

Here is Intel's guide to applying thermal grease: http://www.intel.com/support/processors/sb/CS-0303...

Yes, I know what intel says. If you notice, the chip they were using in that demo is a desktop chip with an integrated heat spreader. You, however, were greasing a laptop chip without a heat spreader, and were using plain silicone grease. (Which is probably the best grease to use if you are going to overdo it, as it wont short out the caps like the silver stuff will.) If you are using a heat spreader the amount of thermal grease can be higher, due to the larger surface area of the heat spreader. When using bare chips its best to use proportionally less grease for the fact that you have less surface area. (Basically use a grain of rice worth of grease for bare chips and a pea worth of grease for a heat spreader chip.)

Andre Coetzee (author)  freezier1 year ago

Yes, you are right in that I am using plain, non conductive, silicone grease. This kind of grease does not short out components like other conductive grease does. So even if I did overdo do it, which everyone seems to suggest I did, it had very little impact on the temperature as I explained in one of my other comments after tests I did. The temperature difference was actually less than the tests done here http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cooling-air-pr... by Tom's Hardware showing that even correctly applied thermal grease can have a difference of 10 °C from one brand to another. There is also quite a good tutorial here http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/thermal-paste-... also from Tom's Hardware showing how to apply thermal grease.

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