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All major PCs/Macs have an automatic shutdown feature if temperatures reach past 70C-100C. This will vary based on the manufacturer and it doesn’t necessarily protect your computer from damage. A computer overheating will usually give off enough heat to change the room temp too.
A hot computer is a handicapped computer. There’s a number of reasons why a computer may overheat, but if it has only recently started happening, it’s usually user-error. That means you have the ability to fix it before real damage happens.
Keep your cool by learning why your computer is overheating and how to fix it.
6 Signs of a Computer Overheating
If you don’t physically feel the heat pouring out of your computer, then you’ll need to do some investigating. Avid computer techies who test the limits of their computer will look for these signs when overclocking. Are you experiencing any of these signs under normal usage?
1. Sluggish Performance
There are a number of things that cause a computer to slow down, but heat is commonly overlooked. This is especially true with laptops. Because there is very little room for air to pass through, dust is a common culprit.
As components get hotter, they become less effective and drop in performance.
2. Random Shutdowns
If this happens, your computer has essentially “hard crashed”. As we mentioned at the beginning, CPUs are made to automatically shut down when a temperature threshold is reached. This is the CPU’s last resort to prevent the chip from melting.
3. The Fan(s) is Too Loud
This is another early sign of a computer overheating that is noticeable in laptops. If there isn’t proper airflow, the fans will run at full speed in an attempt to push heat out. The loud whirling usually becomes the thing that forces many users to visit a repair shop to fix or purchase a new computer.
4. Glitches and Errors
When the CPU gets too hot, it will encounter a higher rate of errors. That means you’ll see more funky program glitches and processing errors. The cursor may disappear, your sound may hiccup, or clicks will fail to register.
5. Texture Artifacts
As a gamer, a hot computer will start displaying weird technical glitches that only show up in 3D environments. This can also happen when only one region of the computer is overheating (i.e. the GPU is hot, but the case temp isn’t). These artifacts appear as missing textures, blocks of colors, twisted and missing polygons and etc.
6. Your Room Has a New Heater
The difference between a computer running at around 55C and 80C is like moving to Florida from Tennessee. It’s still warm, but when it gets hotter, you feel it. Gamers can also attest to the ambient room temperature impact that a computer can bring.
A computer can actually make your light bill increase based on heat alone.
Prevent and Correct Overheating
If you don’t want to haul your computer to the repair shop yet, you can do some things to reduce or eliminating heating. This will depend on the type and severity of the problem, but you can try the following:
Elevate, Clear Vents
Do you use a laptop? Are you setting it on the floor, bed, or directly on your lap? Always check to see where your vents are located and if you are accidentally covering them.
Some laptops have very quiet fans, so you might not even have the early warning sign of this problem. Try to sit the laptop on a flat surface to provide an easy exit for hot air. For desktop computers, don’t surround the backs with 3-4 walled surfaces.
Open and Clean It
Regular maintenance of your computer’s case, fans, and vents are essential. No one is immune to the collection of dust inside your computer’s surfaces. Well, maybe quarantined medical or science labs.
If you can’t or don’t know how to take apart your computer, you’ll have to skip to the next section. There’s a way to measure your computer’s temperature that you can then use to find a professional to clean and fix the problem. Otherwise, invest in a nice microfiber cloth, some canned air, and an anti-static wristband.
Checking the Temperature Inside
Your computer may feel hot if you stick your hand over the fan. Is it hot enough to qualify as overheating? That’s something you really can’t tell unless you get readings from inside the components themselves.
You can do that one of two ways. Modern computers have internal thermometers for the CPU and usually two other spots on the motherboard and any fans with sensors. To find these readings, you’ll need to access the computer’s BIOS.
PC users can access the BIOS by holding down the delete key as the computer is turning on. Then, you’ll navigate the menus until you see a section for hardware sensors or monitoring. If you can’t find it or access the BIOS, you can download a great program called SpeedFan.
It’s free, it’s legit, and a powerful tool for monitoring temperature, adjusting fan speeds, and more.
Dangers of an Overheated Computer
Ultimately, if you suspect that your computer is overheating, you shouldn’t procrastinate or ignore it. Even if this problem doesn’t immediately translate into on-screen symptoms, it will eventually. A slow rise in hot temps will do more harm than a sudden spike to a computer.
Your computer might be sitting just outside the processor’s auto-shutoff point. That means everything is cooking and degrading over time. Heat is the biggest killer for electronics longevity.
Call the Professionals
Save your computer before components start to fail. Gamers, if you own a computer that has been overclocked, you should get a second opinion on its settings. Techville is a great place to go if you want experienced advice and high-quality repairs.
For those looking for an alternative to the outrageous expensive Apple repairs, take any Apple device in for repair. We promise unbeatable prices for an unbeatable service. Ask us about our PC and Mac Repairs today and how we can help with your computer overheating.