Skip to Content
© Dmitry Kobzev | Dreamstime.com
Tech tips

Computer running hot? How to quickly find out what’s causing it

If you watch the news, you’ve probably seen a story or two about a laptop overheating and starting a fire. While overheating leading to a fire is incredibly rare, it does happen now and then. Are you having other issues with your PC? Tap or click here to fix common Windows problems.

But why do some overheat? There are several reasons yours may be overheating, and once you rule out the primary causes, there are programs to help you pinpoint exactly what the problem is.

Thankfully, identifying the why of your atomic hot computer is easy, and so is fixing it. Here’s how to quickly find out what’s causing your device to overheat and how to fix it.

Why is my laptop overheating?

There is a long list of reasons your laptop may be overheating. Most of them are pretty obvious to identify:

  • You don’t have your laptop on a hard service, blankets and pillows do not allow proper air circulation.
  • Your intake grills are dusty.
  • Your fan is clogged.

While these are common culprits, there are dozens of other reasons it could be happening. If these common issues aren’t the offender for your overheating device, try using software to identify the problem.

Windows Choice: Speccy

Speccy’s first desirable characteristic is that it offers a free version. Who doesn’t love free stuff? It also includes a host of valuable features outside of temperature control.

Not only can it identify the problem if your computer is already overheating, but it also offers real-time temperatures of your PC so you can be alerted before the problem even happens.

You can download the free version here.

Mac Choice: XRG

If you are looking for a thirty-party app to monitor your Mac’s heating and cooling, look no further than the free, open-source app XRG. You can download it here.

After downloading the program, a window will appear on your screen that lists important data on how efficiently your computer runs. It will tell you the current temperature in your CPU and the current fan speed, which ultimately affects over-heating and cooling.

If you want more detailed information about the temperature on your computer, head to the Window at the top of the screen and click it. Once you select Temperature Sensors, you’ll get a readout for all the cores inside the CPU.

You can download the free version here.

A few simple tricks to cool your computer down

If your computer is overheating, don’t run directly to the repair shop. Try these simple tricks first to keep a little more money in your wallet.

Clean out the fan

You can clean out the cooling fan that you see externally on your computer a few ways. You can use a Q-Tip with a dab of isopropyl alcohol on it to try and remove as much dust and possible. You can also attempt to use a small vacuum with an attachment to remove dust.

Move your computer to a flat surface

Laptops especially don’t receive the opportunity to cool off when they are located on lumpy surfaces like couches, beds and blankets. Try moving your laptop to a stable surface and give it an hour to see if it cools down.

Try a laptop cooling pad

A laptop cooling pad goes underneath your laptop to help redirect airflow and keep your laptop nice and cool. This Havit Laptop Cooler comes with three fans and is available in black and blue. Grab yours for under $30.

Compressed Gas

Compressed Gas is well known for its use in cleaning keyboards or all electronics where we can’t get a towel or even a Q-Tip into small areas to get a good clean. Compressed air power cleans your keyboard to get rid of dust and other nasty particles. It can also be used to clear the dust from your cooling fans.

Falcon Dust-Off is a great option and can clean multiple components on your computer to keep it running smoothly in the future.

By clicking our links, you’re supporting our research. As an Amazon Associate, we earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. Recommendations are not part of any business incentives.

New eBook: ‘Cryptocurrency 101’

Don't want to lose your dough to crypto? Check out my new eBook, "Cryptocurrency 101." I walk you through buying, selling, mining and more!

Check it out