How to Stop a PC from Overheating

By Contributing Writer

When computers overheat, strange things happen. Sometimes the computer will shut down without warning while you're in in the middle of your work. At other times, you may notice that performance is suffering when you are running high-demand programs like games.

Things You'll Need

  • Flashlight
  • Moist cotton swabs
  • A small vacuum (or a small attachment for a large vacuum)
  • Something to ground yourself with

Clean the dust out of your computer

Step 1

Remove your shoes and ground yourself, in order to avoid the possibility of damaging your computer with static-electric charges. Avoid working in a carpeted room if possible.

Step 2

Shut down your computer and unplug it.

Step 3

Lay the computer on its side.

Step 4

Open the side panel opposite the motherboard.

Step 5

Remove as many removable cards as possible. These should include video cards, soundcards and memory.

Step 6

Get a flashlight and look around. Make note of any clumps of dust in the computer.

Step 7

Use a vacuum to suck up any clumps of dust that you see.

Step 8

Look closely at all of the fans in the computer. Dust often collects here. Use a slightly moistened cotton swab to wipe the blades.

Step 9

If you know how, remove the heat sink over the central processor. Examine it carefully. Dust often collects on the heat sink. Vacuum it off (but only after it has been removed from the computer).

Measures to prevent overheating

Step 1

Verify that your computer's case is well vented and includes plenty of fans. The best cases have an exhaust fan on top, where heat tends to collect.

Step 2

Keep the temperature in your computer room as cool as is practical.

Step 3

Place the computer on the floor, where the air is cooler.

Step 4

Place the computer close to an air-conditioning vent if possible.

Step 5

Evaluate the cooling system in your computer. Are all the fans working? Are all the vents unblocked? Have an expert evaluate it if necessary. Many types of computer cooling systems are now available. Water cooling systems, while expensive, are considered to be the most effective. If overheating is a problem for you, then you may want to consider such a system.

Tips & Warnings

  • There are free software programs available on the internet that will let you keep track of the internal temperature of your computer. This is a very effective way to determine if your computer is overheating. See the link provided below.