Overheating issues

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Hardware' started by zaven, Mar 13, 2010.

  1. zaven

    zaven New Member

    Feb 12, 2010
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    My CPU has been acting up lately, on a Dell Inspiron 6400, more than usual. It gets really hot and my computer then proceeds to slow down with the fan going full tilt. I notice it usually happens when I'm watching videos online streaming, so much so that I can't get through an episode of Deadwood without stoppin a few times to let the thing cool down. My question is what can I do to minimize this issue? The comp is a couple years old so I was debating opening her up for a little spring cleaning, yea or nea? Is there any other measures that will help my CPU from getting so hot so fast, short of sitting it on a ice pack? Always used to get nice and hot, but not to the point my comp slows down, when its sitting on a desk with fine ventilation.
  2. cybercore

    cybercore New Member

    Jul 7, 2009
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    Exactly how many degrees of heat does your CPU get? Is it below 154 F or 68 C?
  3. kemical

    kemical Windows Forum Admin
    Staff Member Premium Supporter Microsoft MVP

    Aug 28, 2007
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    Try giving the pc a clean paying particular attention to the heatsinks on the motherboard, vents and fans. If your pc is a couple of years old and has never been cleaned I'd bet that your culprit is dust...

    I do this every 6months or so..
    View attachment 5681
  4. Digerati

    Digerati Fantastic Member
    Microsoft MVP

    Oct 25, 2009
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    I have to do it a little more often.

    Just to elaborate - it all depends on how you use your computer, the case, and the environment it is sitting in. A computer in a low foot-traffic area of an air conditioned (air filtered) office will need less cleaning than a computer in a house full of kids and pets running in and out and about stirring up dust, dirt, dander, microscopic critters that eat dander, and their vast quantities of microscopic fecal matter that gets sucked into the innards of the case by the fans. Cats and cigarette smoke is the worse. The sticky cat dander and smoke residue coats your electronics and air channels then snags and clings to everything that is drawn by. It can get pretty nasty if neglected for long. Of course, a computer that runs 1 or 2 hours everyday will require less cleaning than one that is on 24/7. And if your case has a removable, washable air filter (and I will never buy another case without one), internal cleaning will be required less often. I still have one computer using a non-filtered case and that computer is on 24/7. It requires cleaning about every 3 months. My other systems have cases with filters and need cleaning 2-3 times per year. Cases tend to draw cool in from every crack, crevice, and vent so even a filtered case needs periodic cleaning.

    The number, size, and CFM rating of fans drawing air into the case affects the intake of dust. And if the computer is on the floor, it will suck in more.

    If you don't have a cleaning routine setup, then I generally recommend inspecting the insides once a month, then clean as necessary. Even though you may not need to clean monthly, it is a good idea to stick your head inside regularly to make sure all the fans are spinning and everything looks and sounds normal.

    An air compressor setup for electronics (80lbs PSI and with an in-line moisture and particulate filter) works best - but it means lugging the computer outside. Cans of compressed dusting gas (it is not breathable so canned "air" is not a "safe" word) work too but take care to hold can level to prevent spraying super cold liquid on components.

    And always unplug from the wall and touch bare metal of the case to discharge any static in your body before reaching in.

    You can use a vacuum cleaner but extra and extreme caution must be taken to avoid destroying the computer in the process. Dust and dirt particles banging into the nozzle as they zip by can generate lots of static creating dangerous ESD potentials, especially when the nozzle is in close proximity to ESD sensitive devices. When I must use a vacuum, to prevent static build up I wrap my hand around the nozzle end extending a finger past the tip and in constant contact with bare metal. Then I use a soft brush to move the dust to the nozzle.

    Don't be afraid to break any "Void if Broken" seal - those mean NOTHING in a court of law (if your country is a member of the UN). As long as there are "user serviceable" parts inside, you paid for it, you can open it. You have the right to add RAM yourself, for example, so you have the right to open the case. And since cleaning is a user responsibility, you have the authority to open it up and clean. Just to clarify, you can break the seal and open your computer case because you have the Right to do the labor yourself, and not have to pay someone to upgrade your graphics card, add RAM, or add another hard drive. It is exactly the same as you have the Right to change the oil yourself in your new car - you don't have to take it to the dealer or some "certified" mechanic if you know how, and have the necessary tools to do it yourself (just keep your receipts!).

    You cannot, however, break the seal on everything. There are no "user serviceable" parts inside power supplies or hard drives so breaking the seals on them would void those warranties.

    Notebooks are another story. Their proprietary nature and the makers failure to facilitate good cleaning make it nearly impossible for "normal users" to clean thoroughly. Still, you can unplug and removal the battery and any removable drive, card, and access panel and clean out most of the crud.

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