How to Stop Your Computer from Overheating

How to Stop Your Computer from Overheating

Did you know that some computers can reach internal temperatures as high as 110° C (230° F)? That's several notches above the boiling point of water!

Interestingly, that's still normal for computers with specific AMD Graphics Processing Units (GPUs).

On the other hand, 110° C is way beyond the safe range for most other computers. So, unless yours has the AMD Radeon 5700 or 5700 XT GPU, such a high temperature can kill your desktop PC or laptop. At the very least, you can expect an overheating computer to lag, freeze, or crash.

All that should be enough reason to keep your device's temperature in check.

Don't worry, though, as we're here to help you combat heat-related computer problems. Read on to learn what you can do to prevent your device from becoming too hot to fry an egg on.

Give It a Physical Cleaning

More than 135 million individuals live in places with polluted air in the US. Unfortunately, polluted air doesn't restrict itself to the outdoors. It can easily make its way into your home or workplace.

All those air pollutants, in turn, can settle on your computer keyboard and inside its ports. Over time, they can form layers of residue, acting as insulation. If that happens, the heat generated by your device may not dissipate efficiently.

What's more, accumulated debris can block your computer's air vents. That can further impede the air circulation within your device. As such, the heat gets trapped inside your PC or laptop, while little to no cool air can enter.

With that said, one way to prevent an overheating computer is by cleaning it regularly.

To start, use a soft-bristled brush to sweep away particles under your keyboard keys. You can also use it to dislodge debris inside the ports or air vents.

Next, moisten a microfiber cloth with some isopropyl alcohol. Use that to clean the external hard, non-porous surface of your computer. You can then use a cotton swab dampened with some alcohol to remove debris and grime inside ports.

Give the Air Vents Enough Clearance

If you're working from a desk, ensure your PC or laptop is several inches away from the wall. That can help the heat generated by your computer dissipate efficiently.

If you're using a desktop PC, allow a few inches of clearance around the CPU. Avoid placing anything flush against the case, as that can block the airflow. In addition, keep the CPU clear of fabrics and heavy items.

If you're a laptop user, you may want to boost air circulation by propping up your device. For example, you can use a small book or notebook to elevate the area by the screen. Doing so can allow more air to circulate under your computer.

It's also best to avoid using a laptop on any soft surface, such as your lap, bed, or couch. That's because the device will sink, resulting in its air vents getting blocked. That can then cause your computer to overheat.

Avoid Running Too Many Programs at the Same Time

The more active apps you have, the more of your computer's resources they consume. As a result, the CPU has to work harder and use more electricity. The flow of electricity, in turn, makes computer circuits put up electrical resistance.

From there, the electrical resistance generates heat within your computer. As such, the more active programs you have at a given time, the warmer your device can get. That can then ultimately lead to overheating.
So, as soon your computer gets a little too warm to the touch, close a few apps that are only running in the background. For instance, you can quit browser windows or tabs you don't need at the moment.

Use a Temperature Monitor

Temperature monitoring apps are programs designed to monitor the internal temperature of computers. You can use any of them to track your desktop PC's or laptop's temperature. That can then help you determine if your laptop is on the verge of overheating.

To learn more about such tools, check out How to check MacBook temperature on The guide there discusses some of your temp-monitoring tools for Macs.

If you're on Windows, you might want to give Open Hardware Monitor, Real Temp, or Core Temp a try. They're all free, so that's all the more reason to use them.

Shut Down Your Computer When Not In Use

That's even more important during summer, and you don't have (or use) air conditioning in your work area. That's because high ambient temperatures can also increase internal computer temperatures.

If you can't turn off your computer, set it to at least hibernate after several minutes of inactivity. That way, the device will pull less electricity, and thus, generate less heat.

If you're using a laptop, make sure you shut it down before packing it in a bag. Otherwise, the heat generated by a hibernating device can get trapped inside the case. That can ultimately result in the laptop overheating.

Don't Forget to Unplug Your Device

Electronic devices on standby mode still consume energy. So much so that they account for about 3% to 10% of electricity use in residences and offices.

The thing is, hibernating desktop PCs can act much like electronics on standby mode. The same goes for a laptop on sleep mode, so long as it remains plugged into a wall outlet.

Since those computers still use electricity, then they also keep generating heat. So, if they're in a warm environment, they might end up overheating.

As such, make it a habit to shut down and unplug your computer from the wall if it's not in use.

Cool Down Your Overheating Computer With These Tips

Please keep in mind that an overheating computer can shut down automatically. That's a safety feature most computers have, as it helps protect them from heat damage. Unfortunately, that can also cause you to lose everything you've been working on.

So, don't wait for the signs of an overheating computer. Instead, follow the tips we've outlined in this guide as soon as possible.

Are you interested in even more tech hacks and tricks? Then feel free to browse our most recent posts!