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Keeping your PC from overheating

I’m writing this post on a cool Spring day in Silicon Valley, but we are getting close to summer when temperatures rise and PCs occasionally act up. Although modern PCs are built to mostly work fine in hot environment, heat can cause a PC to shut down or malfunction. Typically, if a system gets too hot it will shut down and can be restarted after it cools off. That’s because machines have sensors in them that determine if they’re starting to exceed safe operating temperatures.

Some machine will kick the fan into overdrive if they sense too much heat, allowing you to keep working.

Occasionally machines will simply malfunction. It’s not common, but what might seem like a software bug could be a processor, memory or other component that’s hiccuping because of the heat.

Regardless of how hot it is in the room, make sure that your computer is getting plenty of air flow. If it’s a laptop, make sure you’re not putting papers, bedding, clothes or other things in the way of the air vents.  Desktop PCs have obvious fan (typically in the back) which need to have some space around them for airflow. Be especially careful if  the PC is in a cabinet or other enclosure.

Also, check for dust build-up around the fan. You can very carefully use a vacuum to suck up dust or a slightly moistened cloth to wipe dust from the fan blades.

If the problem persists take the computer to a technician to have them check the fans and heat syncs which are designed to cool down the processor.


It’s not always practical to air condition a room with a PC but you can place a fan in the room, or even near the computer, to cool things down. Since heat rises, it might be a good idea to put them PC on the floor, where it’s often cooler and be sure the PC isn’t up against a wall or any place else where airflow might be impeded.


Lifehacker: How to prevent your computer from overheating

Overheating computer: How to detect and fix

How to fix your PC’s Overheating

eHow: How to reduce overheating in a computer

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