Is Your Laptop Running Hot?

Many factors can lead to your laptop running hot, we tackle the many reasons why and what you can do to prevent it.

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Laptop Cooling Fan System

Laptop computers commonly heat up during normal everyday use. Electronic components, including the batteries, end up generating heat but your laptop should never be running hot or feel hot when you touch it. When a laptop ends up being hot to the touch or the fan starts to sound like a jet engine about to take off, it’s likely something is wrong.

Modern laptops utilize nearly silent fans to cool the system and keep it safe to use. For the majority of users, the noise the computer makes is the is one of the best tools you have on hand to know if there is an issue. Excessive heat triggers the fans to work harder and faster to cool the system down. This jet engine noise is among the very first signs that might indicate something is not quite right.

Why So Hot

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Dust buildup on a laptop fan

Due to their compact size and portability, laptops are particularly vulnerable to overheating. Their small size means that the electronics inside are packed tightly together and there is not much room for cooling vents.

Most laptop computers have small fans that suck in cool air, passing it over metal fins to exchange heat from the system, and exhausting that heat out the back. Much like the radiator in your car. This process helps avoid heat building up inside the machine. The continuous air cycle is designed to keep the laptop running cool no matter how much of a workload you put on it.

The process though, can be disrupted by any variety of reasons. Along with cool air, the fans also suck in dust, dirt, stray hairs, and even cigarette smoke which is loaded with thick tar and coats the fins, fan blades, and other internal components.

This foreign debris builds up inside the machine and prevents the cooling system from operating at its best.  Over time that debris builds up, and the laptop fan can’t move as much air as it needs to in order to keep the system cool which leads to the fan running harder and the laptop feeling hot to the touch. Your laptop starts to feel like it was wrapped up in a blanket.

Other Causes of Overheating

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Laptop sitting on a bed

How or where you use your laptop can also lead to overheating issues. Setting your laptop down on beds, blankets, or soft furniture can block the cooling vents, keeping the fans from moving the air they need to keep the laptop cool. Even more dangerous is leaving the laptop running when you set it down on carpet, especially for prolonged amounts of time. Not only does it block the cooling vents, it also allows extra dust to get pulled in as well.

The best place for a laptop computer is on a hard surface such as a table, desk or lap tray. This enables air to flow, doesn’t block the vents, and helps keep dust and debris from getting inside.

What Happens When Your Laptop Overheats

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Overheating Laptop

As the computer starts running hotter, the fan will start running faster and harder, trying to move more air. This results in the “jet engine” sound numerous users report when their computer is having a hard time trying to keep up.
Once tar, dust or hair has made its way into the cooling system, it can be very difficult to clean out. The only way to properly clean the system is to disassemble the unit and clean the individual pieces.
Just like an automobile, computer systems have a temperature range in which they can safely and reliably run under. Prolonged durations of running above the temperature they are designed for causes damage, unexpected failures and drastically lowers the life expectancy of the computer. Remember, as heat increases, the rate at which electronics fail, drastically increases.

Random Problems

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Laptop BSOD Crash

A lot of times random Blue Screen crashes can be traced back to components that have been overheating inside the computer system. As mentioned before, as heat builds up, parts begin to fail or behave unpredictably and can cause a variety of problems.

When the computer has cooled off, the issue may seem like it is gone, but when you get back to using your laptop, it heats up once again and subsequently causes another crash. These irregular crashes are highly troublesome and can cause data loss.

Nevertheless, these symptoms are small compared to a completely dead laptop computer. For some folks, the very first indication that the machine is too hot is when it’s too late and the motherboard is fried or their hard drive failed and all their data has been lost.


If your laptop computer is running hot to the touch or has begun to make loud sounds, it might be time to take us up on your Laptop Repair Service. Every laptop we touch receives a thorough cleaning inside and out. Most repairs are completed within 72 hours or less and we offer FREE pickup and delivery.

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