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HP Notebook PCs - Reducing Heat Inside the PC to Prevent Overheating

This document pertains to HP notebook PCs.
Heat buildup can cause problems for any computer. Generally, when temperatures inside the case rise above 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit), the risk of damaging important internal components increases greatly. The most common cause of overheating is the accumulation of dust inside the computer. The electrical components in a computer generate heat and fans inside the computer help move the air to keep the components cooled to normal operating temperatures. Inadequate cooling can cause excess heat to build up inside the case which can damage components. The sound of the fan running constantly may indicate that the computer is not running as efficiently as possible and that there is a problem with accumulated dust clogging the air vents.
Symptoms of heat issues and causes of excessive heat
The following list describes some of the issues caused by overheating in the computer:
  • Games stop responding during play.
  • Windows stops responding during use.
  • Fans inside the computer become louder because they are spinning faster to remove the heat.
  • When starting the computer, it sometimes stops at a black screen and does not open into Windows. Windows usually stops responding when it does open.
  • Mouse and keyboard stop responding.
  • Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP: Computer restarts unexpectedly or displays a fault message.
    Windows 95, 98, and ME: Frequent Fatal Exception, Illegal Operation, or General Protection Fault error messages occur in several software programs.
     note:
    These errors are not predictable. If these errors occur only in one software program, the issue is probably related to that software program and is not heat related.
The following list describes some causes of excessive heat:
  • Dust inside the computer.
  • A new component, such as a hard drive, is added. The extra component causes the power supply to work harder and generate more heat. Extra heat also radiates off the new component and adds to the temperature inside the case.
  • Over time, some cooling fans might slow down and wear out, depending on the usage of the computer.
  • High ambient room temperature.
Step 1: Removing dust and lint by cleaning vents
Most notebook computers have vents located around the case to allow air to flow through the case. If these vents become clogged, or if heat-generating parts become covered with dust, the fan cannot cool the components properly, and overheating can become a problem. Lint and dust accumulation prevents air from flowing around the cooling fan blades and causes the fan to work harder. If there is dust in the vents, you should clean the computer by blowing out the dust from around the fan and heat shield. This prevents dust from accumulating.
Figure : Dust accumulation
Image of dusty component
Figure : Dust accumulation around a fan
Image of dust accumulation around a fan
 caution:
To prevent damage to the computer, make sure the notebook is turned off and the AC adapter is disconnected before spraying with compressed air.
Use a can of compressed air (a vacuum cleaner on blow function or a hair dryer in cool air mode can also be used, though compressed air is better suited for this task) to remove dust from the computer vents and prevent overheating. Removing the dust increases the air flow to improve cooling and allows the fan to run quieter.
The cooling vents are located in various places depending on the notebook model. You can identify the vents by looking for the copper or black fins inside the vents. You should also blow the compressed air into other openings such as the fan intake vent to help keep the air circulating and prevent dust from accumulating on components.
Figure : Side vent
Image of a side vent
Figure : Rear vent
Image of a rear vent
By taking this action periodically as a preventive measure, you can greatly reduce the possibility of component damage and prevent the slowdown of the computer's performance.
Step 2: Ensuring proper space for ventilation
To decrease the likelihood of overheating problems, ensure the fans on your computer are able to ventilate properly. Proper ventilation for the system is important for notebook operation. Follow these guidelines to ensure adequate ventilation:
  • Keep the computer upright and on a sturdy, level surface.
  • Provide at least 15.25 centimeters (6 inches) of clearance around each vent.
  • If the computer is being used at very high altitudes, above 1500 meters (5000 feet), take extra care to keep the computer cool. The maximum limit of 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) drops 1 degree Celsius (~34 degrees Fahrenheit) every ~300 meters (1000 feet) of altitude.
Step 3: Updating the BIOS
After releasing a computer, HP regularly provides updates for the BIOS and other components. Check for BIOS updates and install them using instructions in the HP support document Updating the BIOS.
Step 4: Using HP CoolSense technology
HP CoolSense technology is a feature in some HP notebook computers that combines hardware, software, and mechanical design to dynamically manage the temperature of your notebook computer. HP CoolSense uses a motion sensor in your notebook computer to sense when your computer is being used in a stationary or mobile setting, and automatically adjusts the computer performance and fan speed to keep the computer cool. You can set HP CoolSense software to your specifications. For more information, see HP Notebook PCs - HP CoolSense Technology.
Step 5: Placing the computer in a cooler room
If your computer is overheating, place it in a cooler room. A small difference in temperature might be all that is needed to prevent a component from failing. Move the computer to a cooler room in the house or office. If this is not an option, continue with the next step.
Step 6: Testing for hardware failure
If overheating issues persist after cleaning the vents and moving the computer to a cooler room, a hardware component might be damaged. Test the computer to see if any hardware, such as memory, the processor, or the graphics hardware, have failed. Most HP and Compaq notebook computers have diagnostic software to verify hardware failures. For more information, see Testing for Hardware Failures (Windows 8), Testing for Hardware Failures (Windows 7), or Checking Your Notebook PC Using the HP System Health Scan (for notebook computers running Windows Vista).
If hardware has failed, either replace the bad component or contact HP for further assistance using the Contact Support tab at the top of this screen.

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