My Laptop feels hot!?

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Every laptop will get hot at one point or another. But on comparing them with a Desktop PC this makes absolute sense, there isn’t enough room for airflow and a really amazing cooler so the heat has to go somewhere. But still, if you have the feeling it is way hotter than usually there are some steps we can take.

First off, if your laptop is a bit older or you have pets or use it outside where there might be dust and dirt, it makes sense to clean it regularly. Every so often, say every two months, should do the trick and help it keep cool. In order to do that we recommend buying can of compressed air, which you should be able to find in hardware stores, online and even in your local supermarket.
Open up the laptop after you have turned it off, unplugged the power cable and removed the battery. This doesn’t void the warranty (unless you intend on running the internals of the laptop through like a shish kebab); If you need help, feel free to ring us as we can generally send you pictures and instructions for most of the laptop models we sell.

Find the fan(s), hold the blades still by pressing your finger on the middle and then spray the dust out. Most cans of compressed air will tell you how to use them properly, but in general you should hold them in about 15 cm/ 6 inches distance. Sometimes this alone will cool your laptop significantly and you may even find that the machine is quieter.
If that doesn’t help the next thing we’d look into repasting the thermal paste. This is a bit more labour intensive and involves removing the heatsink, cleaning off the old paste and applying new paste. Once again if you need help, ring us we can send you pictures and instructions for most of the laptop models we sell.

If it is still too warm after that, run a stress test to simulate a heavy workload/ gaming session and a monitoring program like RealTemp or HW Monitor and send us the results of the temperatures. Naturally if the stress test is causing the machine to cut out it may be worth simply running the monitor to get an idea for the idle temperatures. You can take a screenshot or picture with your smartphone and send that over if you are unsure what you are looking at and we’ll take it from there.


The BSOD Doctor
Excellent advice (no surprise there)!

I would add to be sure the can of compressed air you buy is low pressure and designed for cleaning computers and the like. You can get cans of compressed air under higher pressures and these generate an intense cooling effect when you spray the air. I have damaged the plastic on a satellite phone using a can of too high pressure compressed air - the intense cold turns the plastic brittle and it breaks. Even if it doesn't damage the plastic the intense cold can be bad for electronic components. In the early days of integrated circuits we'd use a can of compressed air to cool each chip in turn to locate the flaky one...

The surface on which you use the laptop makes a big difference to how hot it runs too. Wood and plastic retain heat so that the air immediately around the laptop is warmed and has less of a cooling effect. Metal desks lose heat faster and allow laptops to run cooler.

Ensure a good flow of air around the sides and back of the laptop as well as underneath. You need to allow the hot air being exhausted from the laptop to escape, you don't want it hanging around and being drawn back in.

A fan-assisted cooling pad is an excellent investment because it draws in more air which means it's cooler. They also help to blow the hot exhaust air away. In my experience large fans last longer, are more efficient, and are quieter than lost of smaller fans. An aluminium mesh that the laptop stand on is cooler than plastic.

The volume inside a laptop is tiny so it's very important to get cool air flowing in and hot air flowing away.
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