How To Cool Down A Laptop – (17 Simple Tips To Follow)

Keeping your laptop cool is a must for every user in order to ensure its maximum performance and keep it working properly. In our previous article, we have talked about how a laptop’s CPU throttles when operating under high temperatures.

Because of this, your laptop CPU performance will be automatically reduced by limiting its clock speed to maintain system stability and to stop your laptop from overheating.

We all know that prolonged exposure to high temperatures will result in a decrease in your laptop’s lifespan. Going over the safe temp for extended periods of time is no good. Ideally, you’d want to keep your laptop as cool as possible.

Not only will it maintain performance to its maximum potential throughout daily usage, but you will also extend its lifespan by not applying too much stress to it.

While this may seem close to the impossible, there are actually some ways to prevent a laptop from overheating.

In this article, we will talk about how to make a laptop cooler, with some of the most common tricks to use in order to maintain what is called “ideal temperatures” when using your device.

Why Does My Laptop Get So Hot?

black Acer laptop displaying specification sticker

Before we go further into details about how to cool down a laptop, let’s first discuss the reasons why it can get so hot.

Because of their compact design, laptops will have more limited airflow and therefore operate at higher temperatures than desktop PC.

This may often cause overheating. Overall poor ventilation due to an obstruction of the laptop’s air vents also causes its internal components to overheat.

cooling vents of Acer Aspire laptop

A poor cooling solution represents another possible reason why a laptop can get so hot. Most use budget cooling solutions and tend to get hotter than most desktop PCs.

Using your laptop under high temperatures for an extended period of time may cause problems in the long run, such as when the system shuts down or parts begin to fail, etc.

This being said, how can you cool a laptop down, or even stop it from overheating in the first place?

How To Cool Down a Laptop That Is Overheated – 17 Simple Ways to Tackle This Problem

Preventing your laptop from overheating doesn’t have to be a complicated undertaking. There are simple solutions for how to keep a laptop cool. Below are 17 DIY ways to combat an overheating laptop without taking it apart.

1. Use a Table or Desk

This may be obvious, but placing it on a table top or desk during use can help keep your laptop cool because it helps maintain ideal operating temperatures. A solid, flat surface will avoid the bottom air vents from being obstructed and will result in better airflow. This will stop your laptop overheating.

laptop placed on a wooden table for better heat ventilation

2. Avoid Carpets and Beds

Placing your computer on a carpet or bed will limit the airflow in and out of the system. Uneven and soft surfaces will obstruct your air vents, decreasing heat dissipation. A blocked vent is never good.

In addition, carpets can attract dust. Placing your laptop on these types of surfaces is definitely not a good idea and maybe the cause of your laptop running hot.

3. Clean Dust

Dust is the last thing you would want to see near your workstation. Not only is it aesthetically unpleasant to see, but it can also clog up any air vents.

dust accumulated on a laptop keyboard

There are plenty of ways to clear the dust off your laptop. You can wipe it off using a cloth with smooth fabric in order to avoid minor scratches, especially when cleaning the screen.

You can also use those small microfiber cloths that usually come with your eyeglasses. Keep in mind to always avoid using wet wipes or baby wipes when cleaning the dust off the surfaces of your laptop as this can leave moisture which can potentially damage your system.

Using a can of compressed air is also a good idea. Compressed air is proven to effectively remove dust from all components, including air vents. As an alternative, you can also use a paintbrush with soft bristles.

4. Clean it Regularly

Cleaning your laptop shouldn’t be just a one-time thing. This process should be part of your regular maintenance.

regularly cleaned laptop with dust free i/o ports

In most cases, maintenance only happens when we notice that there is something wrong with our computer. You shouldn’t wait to ask “why is my laptop overheating?” before doing maintenance.

Ideally, this should be a regular habit. And while you’re at it, you may also want to try to keep your desk clean to avoid dust from building up in your workspace.

5. Laptop Stand

If you are willing to spend the extra money, you can also use a laptop stand. This is available in almost every computer store and also easily purchasable online.

One of the benefits of using a stand is that this will ensure maximum airflow around the computer since it will allow you to elevate your device, thus creating more space for air intake and exhaust.

This is one of the two accessories that you can buy to keep your machine cooler. The other is the laptop cooling pad, which you can read about below.

6. Laptop Cooling Pad

Cooling pads are a good way to keep your laptop cool and are similar to laptop stands. They also come with integrated fans.

The size of these fans will vary among different models, but each one should be efficient enough when it comes to dispersing the heat exhausted from your laptop air vents while providing cool air coming from underneath the pad.

These coolers are easy to find, as you can purchase cooling pads in any nearby computer and online stores.

7. Sit it Close to a Standing Fan

Would you like to know how to cool down a laptop in a hot place? If an air-conditioning unit is not available, sitting your device close to an external fan will also help as it will provide a continuous airflow, blowing the hot air away from your workstation.

This easy method of cooling will also allow your laptop to absorb the cool air breeze produced by the fan.

8. Keep Out of Direct Sunlight

I had one friend tell me that “their laptop overheats and keeps shutting down”. This was the most simple fix as we quickly realized that it sat near his window at all times directly absorbing sunlight.

Keeping your laptop out of direct sunlight is one of the essential things to do not only for your machine but for other devices too, such as mobile phones, tablets, and desktop computers.

Exposing your PC to direct sunlight will cause overheating. As previously said, this can shorten its lifespan, so make sure to keep all of your devices away from direct sunlight at all times.

9. Check and Adjust Settings

You may notice that your system temperatures tend to fluctuate between what is called normal and hot states. When high temperatures are detected, your laptop will limit the performance generated. Your current settings or the type of applications you use may be the reason for this behavior.

If you experience a rise in temperatures it is most likely that are you are putting too much work on your laptop, particularly your CPU, and in some cases, the GPU. Heavy workloads contribute to your laptop heating up.

For this reason, the components will work harder than usual to execute all the tasks you demand. Your laptop will consume more power, and as a result, it will also generate more heat, which then may turn into a problem.

A quick remedy for this type of scenario is to turn down your settings to reduce the workload on your computer. You can do this by checking the built-in program settings and adjusting them accordingly.

You can also change your Windows settings, at the cost of a small drop in performance.

10. Adjust Power Settings

Another reason for your laptop getting really hot maybe because of its overall power consumption. Keep in mind that components that use a large amount of power also produce more heat. Adjusting the power settings under the power management settings can be a quick remedy in this case.

You can access this feature by navigating into your Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Power Options. Here you can select between different pre-defined power plans.

Enabling the Power saver option will result in lower temperatures being detected.

You can also personalize all existing power plans by clicking on Change plan settings.

using power saver mode in Windows to reduce the heat of the laptop

This is one of the easiest solutions when figuring out how to keep a laptop cool.

Pro tip: One easiest way of accessing the Control Panel is by pressing Window Key + R and typing “control panel” in the search bar. Confirm the action by clicking OK or just hit the Enter key.

11. Reduce the Number of Programs Running in Task Manager

Another reason why your laptop gets hot is because of the large number of programs running in the background. Although you may not be directly using these applications, they still use system resources, hence require power for their operations. Reducing the number of programs running can also benefit your battery life.

You can close these programs using the Task Manager. There are several ways to access the Task Manager. The quickest one is by right-clicking on the taskbar and choosing Task Manager.

selecting Windows task manger from start menu

If only a limited number of programs are displayed in this window, click on More details to expand the task manager. For more guidance, you can refer to the screenshot below.

expanding Windows task manager by clicking the more details button

After clicking on More details, you will be presented with a full list of all the programs running on your computer. These include applications that are running in the background as well as Windows processes. To close an application, just click on the program’s icon/name and select End task.

ending a process using Windows task manager

Warning: Be careful when closing a program under the task manager. Several background processes are essential for your operating system. Closing these programs might cause your operating system to malfunction.

If you are interested in buying a brand new laptop instead of cooling your overheated device, I recommend that you read reviews of the best $1000 2 in 1 laptops here. These are awesome portable laptops that will not let you down.

12. Install Security Software

Your laptop might not even appear to be running anything but the laptop is overheating. “Why is does my laptop get so hot?” you might ask.

Well, Malware running in the background may be a possible cause of your system overperforming. Because most malware software is not visible in the Task Manager, you may need a more advanced program to disable them.

One of the most common solutions is to install security software such as an antivirus. If you are using Windows 10, you can use the built-in Windows Defender.

If you are not comfortable with Windows Defender, you can also use third-party tools. There are several security programs available on the web.

While the free versions offer basic security, solutions that offer more advanced features often come at a cost.

13. Check the Fan Speed

Back when I purchased my first laptop, I used to have to terminate my gaming sessions after a few hours of gameplay because of overheating laptop issues.

So I wondered, “how I could keep my laptop cool whilst gaming?” because I badly wanted to address this annoying problem.

Hours of research later I found myself reading an article explaining how to adjust the fan speeds using third-party software.

At that time I had just started to learn how these systems work and all this information was new to me. It was only later I realized that the fan speeds in my laptop were locked at 29%, even at full load. This was the reason for my overheating issues.

Fan speeds usually are set to auto, which means that the fan speed would vary depending on the amount of workload your computer is handling.

In other words, if the computer is under heavy use, the fan would automatically spin faster. On the other hand, it would slow down when it is idle.

You can fix this by accessing your system’s bios, although I would highly recommend using a third-party app.

MSI Afterburner is the most popular GPU-managing software whereas Speedfan can be useful when managing your CPU settings. You can download these apps for free from the following links:

For more details on MSI Afterburner and how to optimize a gaming laptop, please check out the following guide:

MSI Afterburner graphics card utility software used for changing fan speed

SpeedFan software showing fields where we can adjust speeds

Once you have downloaded and installed the above software, you’ll be able to adjust your fan settings by setting a specific fan speed. This will help stop your laptop overheating.

You can also choose to allow the software to automatically manage these settings. On the other end, forcing your fans to spin faster would usually result in loud noises being produced. You can also set a custom fan curve that can help make your laptop less noisy while not under load.

In addition, because both mentioned third-party software utilize hardware heat sensors, they will enable you to monitor your system’s temperatures. You can make use of this feature to check if there are, at any time, issues with your laptop.

14. Reduce Clock Speeds

Reducing the clock speeds should never be an option unless you have no alternatives. This is your last resort in the effort to keep a laptop cool.

Besides, as we already mentioned, your computer is smarter than you think. It is programmed to automatically throttle (also called thermal throttling) by reducing its CPU frequency in order to avoid potential damage to your system.

If you have overclocked your system and do not have an appropriate cooling solution, you may experience overheating issues. It is advisable, in this case, to revert to its original frequency.

15. Add More RAM

The more apps we run, the harder our system will work in order to keep up. Our laptop will continue to consume all available resources to run all these programs smoothly.

When these resources run out, your computer will be pushed to its limit, which will, in some instances, results in excessive heat being produced. This will result in a drop in your laptop’s performance.

Installing additional RAM could result in a significant increase in your system’s overall performance, thus reducing the amount of heat normally produced. Adding more RAM will also help your laptop feel faster and improve its overall responsiveness.

16. Room Temperature Plays a Part

One of the most important things to consider when asking “how to cool down a laptop?” is your room temperature. Always remember that the ambient temperature will affect your computer’s thermals, especially during the hot summer days.

That being said, always place your laptop in a cool area. Avoid sitting near any sources of heat, such as radiators and direct sunlight. Having access to an airconditioned room will give you much better thermals.

17. Shut it Down When Not in Use

Last but not least, shutdown your machine when you are not using it. Give it a little time to rest. A cooler laptop will likely perform better. This is one of the easiest methods to do.

With these tips, you should be well placed to cool down your laptop when necessary. If you ever decide to game on a desktop instead you will have to decide whether to cool it via air or liquid. If you want to learn more on this subject you should read our report on whether liquid cooling is worth it or not.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What can happen if my laptop gets too hot?

As already stated, if your laptop gets hot for too long, excessive heat will shorten your system’s lifespan. Keeping temperatures on the lower end is part of a system’s regular maintenance process.

High temperatures can also be responsible for system instability as your computer will throttle your CPU and GPU frequency to avoid further damage.

Why do laptops suffer from overheating more than desktops?

This is to be attributed mainly to the compact design of these systems. While desktop components are fitted in larger chassis which are designed to produce maximum airflow, laptop parts are densely packed together inside a very limited space with restricted airflow.

Additionally, desktop fans are generally bigger and able to move a bigger volume of air.

Are gaming laptops hotter than everyday-use laptops?

This will depend entirely on the type of laptop. While gaming laptops have better cooling solutions than normal everyday-use laptops, they are also fitted with components that consume more power.

Naturally, a component that consumes more power, will also produce more heat.

On the other hand, if you play games on an everyday-use laptop, you are going to experience higher temperatures since they are not specifically designed for this particular job.

I hope that you enjoyed this article on how to cool down your laptop. With this information, you should know how to keep your laptop cooler easily.

Here is a great guide on the best gaming laptops for less than $900. These reviews may help if you find that your current machine can’t be cooled maybe you will want to purchase a new one.

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