PC Overheating is one of the most common problems that people have to face with their computers – even more so during the summer season where ambient temperatures are higher.
A common misconception with overheating is that it always has to do with a faulty PC component. It’s entirely possible for your computer to work like brand new and still overheat.
Nonetheless, it’s also something that can damage your computer in the long run. Generally speaking, the cooler that your computer runs, the better. Here’s how to fix PC overheating.
Some of these solutions can be a bit technical for the average person. I would advise not to proceed with a method that you don’t feel too comfortable with and maybe consult with your neighborhood computer kid :).
If you end up damaging your computer because you failed to follow my instructions, or you didn’t know what you were doing, then I’ll take no responsibility. You choose to follow the steps provided below solely at your own responsibility.
There’s no need to be scared, the first two solutions can be applied by pretty much everyone and do not pose any level of threat.
Anything after that will require increasingly more skills and attention to detail so that you don’t destroy anything.
Steps to fix/prevent your PC from overheating:
- Clean your Case
- Restrict Power Usage
- Underclock your System
- Use an eGPU (Laptops Only)
- Replace your Thermal Paste
- Get an Aftermarket Cooler
Clean your Case
Most Desktops and Laptops use fans to air cool the machine by “pushing” out the hot air from your computer components. This is called “air cooling”.
The problem with this cooling solution, though, is that you can very easily gather lots of dust in the vents of your Desktop or Laptop.
All this dust may reduce the natural airflow of your system which will cause your computer to overheat – mostly because your fans won’t be able to push out the hot air fast enough.
If that’s your cause of overheating, then there are both good news and bad news. The good news is that this is natural and there’s nothing wrong with your PC. The bad news is that overheating is still harmful for your computer and you need to clean it up asap.
The process is very simple, just open your case/remove the bottom cover of your Laptop and use a can of compressed air to blow off the dust from your vents.
Make sure that your computer is not plugged in. If you’re using a Laptop, do pull out the battery as well.
Restrict Power Usage
The more power that your computer uses, the more that the heat levels will rise. Manufacturers generally try to make their hardware as fast as possible without it overheating. Yet, sometimes, for various reasons, they fail to accomplish that.
Take my perfectly healthy Core i5 machine as an example. It was running fine during the Winter but now that the ambient temperatures are higher it can get as high as 103 Celsius degrees.
The solution to that problem is restricting the maximum CPU utilization through the settings of Windows 10.
To do that, type Edit Plan Settings on your Windows search bar, then click on Change Advanced Power Settings, go to Processor Power Management, Maximum Processor State, and reduce the percentage down to a point where your PC will no longer overheat.
Do keep in mind that this method will reduce your overall performance. But, if you already cleaned your computer and your problem wasn’t fixed, then this is the next easiest and safest solution to overheating.
Underclock your System
Underclocking is an extreme version of restricting how much power your components will be able to use.
It’s a bit of a more advanced method as there is no standard way of underclocking. You’ll have to find the appropriate software and steps to take with it for your particular hardware. I would advise a Google search specific to your hardware.
For an example, let’s suppose that my GPU (GTX 750 Ti) is running hot and that I want to underclock it. By making a Google search I can easily find that MSI Afterburner software works like a charm for adjusting its clock speeds.
All I have to do is to install it and adjust the memory/clock speeds until it will no longer overheat. You can see me doing exactly that in the image above.
Your mileage may vary depending on the hardware that you have and the software that you must use for underclocking. If I’m not mistaken, you can use MSI Afterburner for various AMD cards as well.
Do keep in mind that certain computers may allow you to underclock your system through your BIOS. Other than that, do understand that underclocking will reduce your performance as well.
Use an eGPU (For Laptops)
Laptops do generally run hotter than Desktops because of how much less room they’ve got to work with.
If you’re also gaming on a Laptop, then you’re even more likely to face overheating issues as gaming is a very power intensive task.
How to fix that? If you’re not willing to sacrifice performance by underclocking your system, then you might want to try out an eGPU configuration. eGPU stands for External Graphics Card.
Your GPU is the most important component for gaming and also the one that creates the most heat – which is precisely why using an external GPU will take a lot of heat out of your Laptop.
The downside of eGPU setups is that they cost a lot of money and that they are not compatible with most Laptops.
If your Laptop has a Thunderbolt 3 port, then you might be able to find a few compatible eGPU setups with a Google search.
In case that you don’t have one, then you’ll have a rough time. I personally managed to use an eGPU with the EXP GDC Express Card version. But, again, most Laptops nowadays do not have this port.
Replace your Thermal Paste
CPUs are using a thermal paste to quickly transfer the heat from them to the heat pipes. It’s quite common for thermal pastes to lose their effectiveness over a few months/years of use.
Replacing your thermal paste is cheap but requires a lot of attention. All you have to do is take off your heat pipe, take off the old thermal paste by using clean alcohol and insert a small amount of the new thermal paste on top of the CPU.
You should be able to find detailed step by step guides on Youtube for your particular set of hardware.
Get an Aftermarket Cooler (For Desktops)
The default coolers that come with our computer are often not the best out there. Getting a new aftermarket cooler may offer you much cooler temperatures. If you’re up to it, then can also switch from an air cooling solution to a liquid one.
Replacing your cooling system will also require you to replace/reapply your thermal paste as you’ll be removing the heatsink.
There are plenty of aftermarket coolers out there so make your own research and pick the one that fits your budget and needs.