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How to Prevent Your Laptop from Overheating

While enjoying the mobility and functionality of a laptop we often run into the problem of overheating. Excess heat is not only uncomfortable for the user but makes the machine run slower and can even cause physical harm to the hardware. So let’s take a look at the ways to prevent laptops from overheating.

The compact design and increasing processing power of laptops often lead to the same issue – overheating. Computer hardware heats up as it works, especially the GPU and CPU during high-demand programs and video games. Slim modern design results in limited ventilation and heat release of the machine. And overheating can lead to a number of problems: overheated parts work slower, using an overheated laptop is unpleasant and extreme heat can actually damage certain parts like the graphics card.

However, just like most issues with computers, this is not an issue to live with, but a problem to be solved. And here we’ll look at a few ways to solve that.

Place Your Laptop on a Hard and Flat Surface

A lot of the older models of laptops as well as some of the modern mid to lower range machines have their air vents on the underside while some laptop models have additional vents on the sides too. If you would place a laptop like this on your lap, on a pillow on top of the carpet it will block the air intake and the internal cooling system won’t work as it should, and you know the rest.

As such, it is recommended to always place your laptop on a flat, hard, dry and most importantly clean, surface to keep the air vents and fans functioning optimally. Also if the laptop is constantly in contact with the soft encompassing surface it preserves heat as well as increasing the number of dust particles your laptop will collect. So there is really no good reason to keep your laptop where it shouldn’t be.

Use Cooling Pads

Your laptop needs good airflow to maintain a cool temperature and most surfaces won’t give you this. Fortunately, there are special surfaces called cooling pads on which you can place your machine and significantly reduce the risk of overheating. These pads provide hard, flat and well-ventilated surfaces to place your laptop without affecting cooling functions. Some pads even have inbuilt fans to increase the amount of air flowing into your laptop’s air vents, thereby boosting cooling processes. Cooling pads are available in most online stores like Amazon with prices starting from $20.

Check and Fix Your Internal Cooling System

With continued use and placement on various surfaces, the air vents that supply air to your cooling system become covered by dirt or dust particles. As a result, less air gets through to the cooling system which in turn, is not able to maintain optimal temperatures for long. You can spot this issue by putting your hand against the laptop’s air outtake vent. If there is little to no airflow when your laptop is running hot, then something is wrong. At that point, you must clean it – or even better make a habit of cleaning your laptop regularly..

In the ideal circumstances, you should be able to gain access to the cooling fan and use canned air to blow out the dust that might be clogging the fan and blocking the air flow. If you don’t have canned air on hands you can use a vacuum – especially if it has the blower function. After cleaning it with air you can gently wipe the fans with a cotton swab dipped in some alcohol to eliminate solid dirt. Of course, you need to switch off your laptop before you do any of these things and for reconnect it until the alcohol droplets fully evaporate!

Check Your Software

It may be possible that internal software issues, and not hardware issues, are what’s causing your laptop to overheat. Reducing the workload is a tried and tested way to keep your laptop’s performance and internal temperature at optimal levels. Common software remedies include unplugging USB devices, reducing screen brightness, minimizing the number of tabs running simultaneously and updating your OS when a new version is out. If you’re on Windows, you can check and update your power settings on BIOS.

Of course, the obvious culprit might be malware. If your laptop overheats and is overworked even when you don’t run anything, you might have a miner or other malware secretly abusing your laptop. As always use anti-virus, scan your system regularly and avoid shady sites and shady downloads.

Your Physical Environment Matters Too

This might go without saying, but if you’re in the hot environment your laptop will have problems cooling off as well. In closed spaces with little air flow, in direct sunlight or during hot summer in general your system temperature will be affected. If it’s impossible to work in a cooler place, then try to reduce the workload of your system and not over-stress it during harsh conditions.


Laptops overheat for a variety of reasons, and as with all computer problem, every issue has its solution. If you’re diligent and thoughtful, taking care of your equipment you can easily avoid burning your hands as well as your hardware.

Did this article help you to deal with your overheating problem? Have you encountered a heat-related problem that couldn’t be fixed with the given advice? Tell us in the comments below and let’s have a conversation.

Written By

Roland Harris is a writer and a techie from California. Infatuated by technology since childhood, Roland works as a computer engineer and also strives to find and share knowledge of technology through his writing.

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