How To Keep Your Computer From Overheating

Gnomie geek43 from our chat room writes:

Hey, Chris!

My computer recently experienced a sudden overheating; since this was the first time it’s happened to me, I was really scared. I was in my room when my processors started going nuts and they wouldn’t stop — neither would the fans. So I got a small fan and blew it in the computer’s case and restarted. It booted back up with amazing speed. To help others who might find themselves in this situation, I typed up a top five list of how to keep your computer from overheating.

  1. If your computer starts to really work its built-in fans, do what I did and get a small, external fan to blow into your computer.

  2. Put a thermometer inside or next to your computer and look at the average temperature. If it gets too hot, you know that it is truly hot and you can take care of it.
  3. You can move your computer near an air vent so that, when your AC is on, you can have it cooling yourself off as well as your computer.
  4. You can go the expensive route and spend 300 dollars to water cool your computer, but be aware of the danger that you could drown it.
  5. Make sure your computer’s air vents have plenty of room to release that hot air and let cooler air in.
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Chris has consistently expressed his convictions and visions outright, supplying practical information to targeted audiences: media agencies, business owners, technology consumers, software and hardware professionals, et al. He remains a passionate personality in the tech community-at-large. He's a geek.

  • Bill

    Uncharacteristic fan operation* means something has changed.The gnomie missed the first two rules:
    01. Make sure all the vents are clear and clean.
    02. Open the case and carefully blow all dust out with an air can.
    NOTE: NEVER blow air on fan blades without holding the blades stationary…it can damage the fan if the blades are allowed to rotate in the air stream.

    *By uncharacteristic, I mean unusual. All high speed processors will increase the fan speed when the processors are under load. It’s normal for them to speed up when multitasking while virus scans, etc. are going on.

  • Jerry

    After I got a dual core CPU I had problems with overheating, especially when running my huge music editing program which gobbles up nearly 100% of the CPU and nearly flogs it to death. Even with a massively gigantic aircooler/heatsink with dual fans and recirculating vapor tubes, I was still frequently violating the temperature limit and sounding the alarm, which didn’t do much for the musical effect, or my nerves, or my temper. Then I got a water cooling system, a Corsair Nautilus 500, for 150 dollars, and (somewhat nervously) installed it. Surprisingly, after I carefully read the instructions over a couple of times, it installed fairly easily with everything fitting just right, and when I turned it on, it proceeded to COOL DOWN that puppy permanently. I’ve been running it for nearly a year now without any trouble, and the hoses and fittings are still safe and sound. The CPU temp cruises at about 107 degrees F, and even when I run the music editing program it goes only slightly higher, even with two or three other programs running, including Internet. The only slight objection I had was the whirring sound of the refrigeration unit, which sits on top of my mid-tower case, but it’s not so bad and I forgot all about it after a day or two.

  • Pal

    Actually system cooling is a simple process, and water cooling is really a last resort for overclockers, far cheaper air cooled options work great.

    Every couple months open the case and use some compressed air to blow out any dust that accumulates on the heat sinks and air vents.

    Make sure to tuck back all the cables you can, so that the air is having to work its way through them to cool parts off.

    Placing a fan up front to blow air in, plus another blowing out just behind the processor, can provide better air flow than having just one in the back.

    If you want to get into a quieter environment while still keeping things cool, check out, which has some excellent discussion on making PCs as quiet as possible.

  • grannar olice

    Make sure there is not dust blocking free flow of air to and from the fans. Need to open the case, etc.

  • Erik Jacobsen

    And gently remove all dust from fans and cooling devices inside the computer.

  • Steve

    The box fan has worked really well for me! :)

    I have a ‘wind tunnel’ brand fan sitting halfway along my computer’s side. With the side panel off ofcourse. So the wind is running mostly over my video card and processor, but air has room to escape as well.. It’s a gaming rig, and man can it get hot!

    I was playing Crysis Warhead last night and I forgot to turn on the fan. I had my head phones on. After an hour, the game got glitchy, then the video feed stopped completely, the audio skipped and I had to reboot. The video card was SOOO hot that I had to use onboard video for the rest of the night (no more video games :(

    But today, she fired right back up. Got the fan on HIGH now. This game is demanding! lol

  • Jon