How to Keep Your Computer From Overheating
Most computers come with adequate cooling systems and plenty of fans, but here are some steps you can take to ensure heat doesn't become a problem.
Give Your Computer and Peripherals a Spring Cleaning
Most of us are more concerned about the tidiness of our directories and files than we are about our physical computer.
Keep it clean: The first step in overheating prevention is making sure that the insides of the computer are kept clean. We've covered how to give your computer a spring cleaningto get rid of the dust that's a huge culprit in raising your computer's temperature.
Internal dust buildup over time can lead to heating problems: Dust is an insulator. When you crack open the case of your computer and [it's blanketed with dust] you're looking at a computer that's facing a radically reduced life span. Every inch of it is covered with a blanket of insulating dust that raises the temperature of components across the board. Your computer might not be that dusty but given how easy it is to clean out a computer, it's ridiculous not to. Not taking the time to dust out your computer once or twice a year is like being too busy
Spring Cleaning for Your Computer: Evacuate PC Dust Bunnies
So what happens if you've got all that dust? You arm yourself with a Philips screwdriver, mechanical oil dropper, and a can of compressed air and get to work. Luckily we've got a step-by-step guide with pictureson how to banish those dust bunnies from your computer. While we used a damp cloth to clean our fans, typical geek procedure says to use the compressed can of air to blow out the fans, inlets, and heat sinks. Among the really important things to check for is the fan on top of the CPU, the filters over the fans, and the fan on the power supply.
Avoid hot neighbors: It's also important to check the physical location of your computer. If you have devices nearby that are blowing hot air into the computer's intakes, that's not good either. Ideally, the flow of air where the fans are should be steady and adequate, with room for the computer to breathe.
If Your Computer Overheats Anyway
Here's a word of caution: If your computer is overheating, resist the urge to take the side of the case off the computer. It's a rookie mistake that will often make the problem worse. Because most computers are very carefully designed to ensure that cool air is delivered to critical components, removing the side of the case disrupts the circulation (convection) system.
Instead, shut down the computer and let it cool down. From then on, you can plan a course of action that involves doing some cleaning if necessary, potentially upgrading your BIOS (check your motherboard's manual or web site for details), or planning some system-cooling upgrades if necessary.
If your computer is clean, your BIOS is up to date, and you're still having temperature problems, crack open your computer and check for damaged fans and heat sinks. Check for cracks, missing pieces, and make sure all the push pins are secure and all the appropriate fans are running. Secure and/or replace any loose or damaged cables. If you find you've got broken fans or a damaged heatsink, you can buy and install new cooling hardware for relatively cheap, and finding a highly rated, compatible fan or heatsink on a site like Newegg can potentially go a long ways toward keeping your computer cooler.
If you're not comfortable cracking open your PC and installing new parts, this is the point that you may want to consider finding some professional help.