My computer runs very hot and eventually turns off or freezes – this is one of the most common complaints I have been receiving from my customer for many years.

Why it’s happening? Is there an easy fix for that?

Most likely this problem is heat related. Take a look at the following picture.


Any laptop has a cooling module which includes two parts: the heat sink and cooling fan. When it works, the processor (CPU) heats up and the heat sing heats up too. At some temperature level, the fan kicks in and cools down the heatsink.

The problem starts when the cooling module collects too much dust inside. The dust kills normal airflow inside the cooling module. Eventually, the processor overheats and the laptop turns off unexpectedly or freezes.

This problem can be fixed by cleaning the cooling module.

Cleaning the cooling module.

Some laptops give you an easy access to the heatsink and fan. In laptops like that you can access the cooling module through the bottom cover.

In my example I had to remove the cooling module. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to remove the fan and access the heatsink.

In some models you can remove the fan without separating the heatsink from the CPU.

After I removed the fan, I found a thick layer of dust inside. Cleaning it up will fix the overheating problem.

Apply thermal paste on the processor.

You should apply new thermal paste before installing the heat sink back in place.

Remove old thermal paste from the processor and heatsink using alcohol swab.

WARNING: In some models the heatsink also covers the graphics chip. The part of the heatsink which covers the graphics chip might have thermal pad on it instead of regular thermal paste.

Do not replace thermal pad with thermal paste! Do not apply thermal paste on the thermal pad! Just leave thermal pad alone and apply thermal paste only on the processor.

I usually use Shin-Etsu paste which is relatively cheap and performs well.

After applying new paste, install the cooling module back in place. Do not forget to connect the fan cable to the motherboard!

What if the cooling module cannot be removed easily?

In some laptops the cooling module is buried deep inside the case and cannot be easily accessed and removed. In order to remove it you’ll have to disassemble the whole laptop but it’s only for experienced users.

In this case you can use the following technique. It’s not perfect but works very well.

Buy a can of compressed air or use a compressor.
1. Blow air into the fan grill on the bottom.
2. Blow air into the fan grill on the side.
Switch direction a few times until all dust is gone. Most likely this quick cleaning will fix your problem too.

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87 Comments

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  1. 7
    cj2600 Says:

    oteniola,

    why if the laptop powered but not dispying what it may be the problem

    There is no simple answer to this question.
    Can you get image on the external monitor?
    If both, the internal and external monitors have no image, check laptop memory. This could be memory failure.
    Try reseating memory modules. Try removing them one by one.

  2. 6
    oteniola Says:

    why if the laptop powered but not dispying what it may be the problem

  3. 5
    cj2600 Says:

    Trever alex,

    same problem is happenning to my laptop is hp g series notbook once i turned it off the next day it wont turn on the light is blinking so i will try it out this way

    I don’t think your problem is heat related.
    You said the laptop will not start the next day. It means the laptop is not hot when it fails.
    Something else is going on here. Could be memory failure.
    Try reseating memory modules. Remove memory modules one by one. Test your laptop with each memory module separately.

  4. 4
    Trever alex Says:

    thanks the same problem is happenning to my laptop is hp g series notbook once i turned it off the next day it wont turn on the light is blinking so i will try it out this way

  5. 3
    BC Laptop Repair Says:

    Laptop’s are sometimes ignored when it comes to collecting dust and overheating. It’s always a good idea to keep the vents clear away from the mess that collects on an office desk. The laptop will last longer given adequate ventilation.

  6. 2
    cj2600 Says:

    Michael,

    It’s an HP Pavilion dv9000 notebook. I already tried blowing air but it still feels hot. I want to try replacing thermal paste but don’t know how to remove the heat sink.

    You can find laptop disassembly instructions in the official HP service manual.

  7. 1
    Michael Says:

    Hi there. Sadly my laptop is one of those where you cannot remove the heat sink without taking apart the whole thing. It’s an HP Pavilion dv9000 notebook. I already tried blowing air but it still feels hot. I want to try replacing thermal paste but don’t know how to remove the heat sink. Can you help?

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