What to Do When Your Laptop Is Overheating


Unlike most desktop computers, a laptop computer has its components densely placed with little room for airflow. Laptop computers run the risk of overheating, so you must protect not only your device from physical damage but also from thermal stress as well.

What Are the Signs of an Overheating Laptop?

If your laptop feels hot to the touch, there’s a good chance that your device is overheating. If it’s under warranty, contact your manufacturer immediately.

Besides touching the bottom of your laptop, you can also use your hand to feel for dangerous heat. Be sure to avoid the keyboard, however, since the heat from the bottom of the laptop will make your hand burn.

You can also use a thermometer to check the temperature. Place the thermometer’s sensor onto the bottom of the laptop, where it’s coolest. You can also monitor your laptop’s heat levels with the software on your device.

Note: If your laptop has removable device covers such as a RAM or hard drive cover, make sure they are always in place.

When Should You Shut Down a Laptop?

With a desktop computer, you can either turn it off or put it on standby at any time. But with a laptop, shutting down the device is not always an option.

If you’re working on a presentation for work or school, you’re likely to stay on your laptop for more than a few minutes. For example, if you’re working on a school project, you probably won’t want to restart your computer just to add a bit more text.

But if you’re working on a project that takes a long time to complete, you should shut down your laptop in between sessions to allow it to cool down. Likewise, if your laptop starts to run hot or you notice symptoms of an overheating laptop, you should immediately shut down your computer.

What Should You Do if Your Laptop Overheats?

You should shut down your laptop immediately, but the sooner you can begin to correct the temperature of your device, the less damage it will suffer.

Activating your laptop’s fan is the best way to cool down the device. The problem is that most laptops have a passive cooling system, meaning that the fan won’t come on unless you manually turn it on.

To activate your laptop’s fan, try one of the following:

  • Turn down the heat. If your laptop is overheating, it might help to turn down the system’s temperature. If you have an adjustable fan, try turning it down by one notch.
  • Clean the overheating device. Dust and dirt can slow down your laptop’s fan, so sucking out all the dust inside the device may help.
  • Use a laptop cooling pad. While these devices may not be aesthetically pleasing, they can help you avoid overheating.
  • Use anti-virus software. Anti-virus software can actually cause your laptop to overheat. If you’re using such software, make sure you remove it or make it a low priority.
  • Get a cooling fan. If you’re sure that the laptop’s fan is working, it might be time to invest in a cooling fan or cooling pad.
  • Avoid overclocking your laptop. Overclocking your laptop means that you’re increasing the performance of your device beyond its standard capabilities. While this can temporarily boost your system’s performance, it can also cause your device to overheat.


Overheating can cause a great deal of damage to your laptop, especially if you don’t take precautions to cool down your computer. It’s essential to understand the signs of an overheating laptop. Understanding the risks and the signs of an overheating laptop is key to ensuring that your laptop has a long, cool life.

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