Frying is for Eggs, Not Computers – Overheating, Prevention, and You

A customer’s fried video card with some of the dust still remaining.

We’ve had a few customers come to us with similar situations recently. Their computers were showing signs of slowdown, sometimes sluggishness, and occasionally, their systems were in a bit more trouble than that– computers that wouldn’t turn on or were experiencing sudden shutdowns.
We opened up one case and found a ton of dust inside (see photos with this post – and this was after initial dusting). The dust combined with a lack of air circulation to go and fry the video card. Too much heat inside your computer is going to lead to problems eventually. There is a limited amount of space in the case, so making sure the fans have room to circulate the air and cool your system is important. So, too, is regular cleaning and maintenance. Dusting your computer helps it run better in the long run. Investing in a couple of cans of compressed air to dust out the fans now and then is the least you can do.

In another case, a customer who used his laptop for gaming came to us with slow computer problems. The games he enjoyed playing were rather resource intensive, and many laptops not specified for gaming purposes might chug when trying to play them. Gaming on laptops is possible, but again, heating can be a real danger when it comes to running programs that demand a lot from your system. After cleaning out this customer’s computer and performance testing everything with games and programs running, temperatures were mostly within a workable range. We suggested that the customer buy a cooling pad for laptops. Not only do cooling pads help reduce temperatures, they tend to elevate a laptop a little bit, which makes it easier for air to circulate out of the vents and below the computer. By not resting the laptop on a desk or table itself, the air can get out and disperse, letting the additional fans help prevent issues. What’s more, they begin at under $20, so it can be an affordable way to keep your hardware healthy if you use your laptop for gaming or other intensive work, like video editing.

Keeping an eye on the temperature during all your most common activities on your computer will help too, because it will give you an idea of what is normal for each demand you place on your system and alert you if excessive heat starts to become a pattern. This can help you notice heating occur before it causes any obvious problems. If you can investigate the cause and find out how to stop overheating early enough, it might spare your system repairs later.

Of course, you can invest in regular computer maintenance from a shop you trust to keep things running smoothly. We are happy to provide maintenance services for all computer models. Call us for a free, no obligation phone consultation.

Yes, We All Hate this Heat Wave…

(Prevent your Computer from Overheating)

Just the same way it happens to all of us, when a heat wave hits, it is very hard (if not impossible) for your computer to function properly.

Overheating will not only make a computer slower, but it could also damage the integral parts of what makes it work, possibly destroying or shortening the lifespan of the hardware. But this is not the worse part. When this happens you are in danger or losing all your data!

It is recommended that a computer’s temperature is never over 154°F. And even if you can’t be that accurate, sticking your hand over the computer’s ventilation system or case will give you an idea.

To prevent overheating, the first thing you should do is to keep your computer clean (view our previews posting on the matter).
Also you should try to avoid hot neighbors, meaning that a computer should never be close to the heater or a fireplace. Keep it rather in a place where temperature is as low as possible and air flows.

Now, if it’s already too late and feeling it with your hand can’t seem to do it anymore, the real way to check the temperature is as follows.

You should first restart your computer, and on the boot screen, you should have an option to press a key (often Delete) to enter the BIOS. Once you enter Setup, navigate the BIOS menu using the on-screen instructions. You should be able to find a menu that deals with the computer’s hardware monitors and CPU. There should be a field that lists your CPU temperature.

There are too some tools that would allow you to do the same without restarting your computer. But unfortunately those can only read certain sensors, so you’ll have to make sure your hardware is supported. Some of those could be the cross-platform GKrellM (Windows/Mac/Linux), RealTemp, CoreTemp and SpeedFan.

If you don’t feel comfortable with any of these methods, or you find that the temperature is too high, it might be time to get professional help.

Give us a call! At PcMac Express we are pro’s and know what to do to keep you and your computer chilled and happy!