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

This document is for HP notebook or laptop PCs.
Heat buildup can cause problems for any laptop (notebook). Generally, when temperatures inside the case rise to excessive amounts, the risk of damaging important internal components increases greatly. The most common cause of overheating is the accumulation of dust inside the laptop. The electrical components in a notebook generate heat and fans inside the notebook 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 laptop is getting hot and is not running as efficiently as possible and that there is a problem with accumulated dust clogging the air vents.

Video overview

Symptoms of heat issues and causes of excessive heat

The following list describes some of the issues caused by overheating in the notebook:
  • Games stop responding during play.
  • Windows stops responding during use.
  • Fans inside the notebook become louder because they are spinning faster as the laptop gets hot, to remove the heat.
  • When starting the laptop, 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: laptop restarts unexpectedly or displays a fault message.
The following list describes some causes of excessive heat:
  • Dust inside the laptop.
  • 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, as the laptop is getting hot, depending on the usage of the laptop.
  • 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, because the laptop is hot and overheating becomes a problem. Lint and dust accumulation prevents air from flowing around the cooling fan blades and causes the fan to work harder and the laptop to get hot. If there is dust in the vents, you should clean the laptop by blowing out the dust from around the fan and heat shield. This prevents dust from accumulating.
It is not necessary to open the notebook (laptop) to clean out the dust with the canned, compressed air.
The following graphics show the dust accumulation on the inside of the laptop, but dust around the fans and heat shield of the laptop can be cleaned without opening the computer.
Dusty component
Dust accumulation around a fan
To prevent damage to the notebook, make sure it 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 laptop 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 laptop model. You can identify the vents by looking for the copper or black fins inside the vents.
Be sure to find and clean all the vents on your laptop with the compressed air. Your particular laptop might have vents on the side, the back, or the bottom. Some newer laptops might not have any vents at all.
You should blow the compressed air into the vents on your laptop, and into other openings such as the fan intake vent to help keep the air circulating and prevent dust from accumulating on components.
Blowing the  side vent with compressed canned air
Blowing the  bottom vent with compressed canned air
By taking this action periodically as a preventive measure, you can greatly reduce the possibility of component damage and prevent the slowdown of the notebook's performance.

Step 2: Ensuring proper space for ventilation

To decrease the likelihood of overheating problems, ensure the fans on your laptop are able to ventilate properly. Proper ventilation for the system is important for laptop operation. Follow these guidelines to ensure adequate ventilation:
  • Keep the laptop upright and on a sturdy, level surface.
  • Provide at least 15.25 centimeters (6 inches) of clearance around each vent.
  • If the laptop is being used at very high altitudes, above 1500 meters (5000 feet), take extra care to keep the laptop cool.

Step 3: Placing the notebook in a cooler room

If your laptop 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 laptop to a cooler room in the house or office. If this is not an option, continue with the next step.

Step 4: Using HP CoolSense technology

HP CoolSense technology is a feature in some HP notebook (laptop) computers that combines hardware, software, and mechanical design to dynamically manage the temperature of your laptop computer. HP CoolSense uses a motion sensor in your laptop to sense when your laptop is being used in a stationary or mobile setting, and automatically adjusts the laptop 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.
The HP Command Center app, available on select HP ENVY Notebook PCs, uses CoolSense technology along with other thermal control options to keep you comfortable while using your HP notebook. For more information, see HP ENVY Notebook PCs - HP Command Center (Windows 10).

Step 5: Updating the BIOS

After releasing a laptop, 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 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, go to Testing for Hardware Failures.
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.

Power switching to reduce heat (HP Spectre PCs)

HP Spectre products offer the option to switch to a lower power CPU state in which the computer runs cooler. The power switching option is different depending on the Spectre model. The two options, selecting the low power mode in the BIOS, or turning on Cool Control using the desktop interface, are very similar. Some of their features are:
  • Both options for switching to the lower power CPU achieve the same result. The only difference is that Cool Control has a Windows interface.
  • The default setting for all Spectre products is Performance mode in the BIOS or Off for Cool Control.
  • Selecting Balanced mode in the BIOS or selecting On in Cool Control reduces maximum power usage resulting in lower system operating temperatures, which causes slightly lower system performance.
Use one of the following instructions, depending on which Spectre model you have, to switch cooling options:

See also

For more information on overheating and how to avoid it, refer to the following documents:






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