Ask LH: How Can I Stop My Laptop Overheating Constantly?

Ask LH: How Can I Stop My Laptop Overheating Constantly?

Hi Lifehacker, I’ve owned a Sony Vaio laptop (VPCF116FG) for just over three years and overheating is becoming an issue. Recently I’ve noticed that it overheats fairly quickly even with the most mundane tasks. such as watching a video or browsing using Firefox. Even when I switch it on, Task Manager reports that it’s already using about 1.5GB of my 4GB of RAM. I can’t have too many programs running or my laptop shuts itself down without warning.

I’ve tried disabling all unnecessary startup programs but that doesn’t seem to help. I always have Task manager open to close any tasks that I know I don’t need. I’ve tried putting my laptop on a wooden board and raise it on small wooden blocks to allow for airflow. I even wired my old desktop’s fan as a USB fan and put that underneath but my laptop still keeps burning up. I always routinely unsintall software that I don’t use, keep spare drive space and kill bloatware. I’ve even re-installed Windows but that doesn’t seem to help either. Is there anything else I can do? Thanks, Hot Stuff

[credit provider=”Sony” url=””]

Dear HS,

As luck would have it, we already answered this question during a previous As LH post. Rather than regurgitating all the same information, here’s a link to the original, in-depth answer. This will guide you through common heating issues and how to treat them; from manually adjusting fan speeds to minimising CPU-intense processes (which unfortunately means cutting back on HD video).

Other possible DIY fixes include fan lubrication, cleaning your laptop’s interior, tweaking fan speed settings and keeping background applications to a minimum.

You could also try your luck with a laptop chill mat which are a lot more effective than most people give them credit for. This chill mat group-test will give you a good indication of what to look out for.

Otherwise, options are pretty limited when it comes to a three year-old machine — perhaps it’s time to upgrade to a new model? If any readers have some cooling tips of their own, let HS know in the comments section below.


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  • Try killing off the Dropbox service if you have it installed…. I’ve come across several laptops over the past few months all suffering from the same problem of overheating and they all seem to have an issue with the Dropbox installation.
    Only fix I’ve found so far is a format and clean install…. Updating Dropbox only provides 15mins of relief….

  • You should try a chill mat, especially if you get something like this: that not only elevates the laptop but has USB powered fans underneath.

    The primary reason I see laptops overheating is because of some reason unbeknownst to me and possibly knownst only to laptop manufacturers, they put the exhaust fan vents on the bottom of the device. So if it’s sitting on a table for example, there’s really nowhere for the air to go. Using something that raises the laptop off the desk is a good start, to allow more air to flow underneath it, and if it has built-in fans on it, even better.

    Having said that though, what “Hot Stuff” is describing sounds more to me like the laptop is malfunctioning, possibly with a dying fan that is causing erratic behaviour.

  • “Ask LH: How Can I Stop My Laptop Constantly Overheating? would be a better headline, IMHO.

  • I am not an expert in this field but I can share how I get rid of this problem.
    I have hp pavilion dv6 almost 4 year old machine from last year it start get heatup and hibernate automatically.
    One day I disassemble it totally, take out its fan and disassemble it as well and find out the cross ventilation was not effective because the cooling system was full of heavy dust kind of particles so I washed them assemble everything back. sheeewwww! my laptop start working properly.
    hope this will help full for you.

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