Overheating and Unexpected Shutdowns
Would you want your computer’s lifespan reduced by 50%?
We didn’t think so, but this is what can happen due to the damage caused when a computer overheats.
What are the symptoms of an overheating computer?
Keep in mind that once a computer has started exhibiting these symptoms it has already started being damaged. The longer you continue to use an overheating computer, the more damage it receives, so it is a good idea to deal with them well before they reach the point of overheating. I’ll cover when to start being concerned in a moment.
On hot days, newer computers will suddenly become slower. The faster a computer runs, the more heat it generates, so this is a protective mechanism designed to help avoid overheating. If they get too hot, though, they’ll start behaving like older models.
Older computers will usually suddenly switch off and restart. The restarting will become more and more frequent as the computer gets hotter. Eventually the computer won’t restart at all until it is left to cool down.
What causes a computer to overheat?
As the weather heats up, we see more and more of this sort of problem. Computers are usually able to run under the same temperature conditions that we can comfortably tolerate, so its not just the hot weather that is the problem.
The most common reason for overheating is the computer’s cooling mechanism being clogged with dust which means no air can get through to cool down the computer. On cooler days, the computer can still deal with the heat it generates, but on hot days, the heat just can’t dissipate fast enough which causes it to get hotter and hotter.
When to be concerned?
There are two main pre-overheating symptoms:
The computer is usually well short of any damage at this point. Computer cooling fans are designed to go faster as the computer gets hotter. On a clean computer you can only just hear them, but with a hot computer they are often roaring (unfortunately, if they’ve been at the “roaring” stage for a long time, the temperature sensor may have been damaged and it may be permanently stuck at this speed).
You’ll know what I mean if you’re experiencing this because you’re almost certainly saying, “The computer’s gone crazy!” You might get random characters appearing when you’re typing, the mouse can become erratic, programs become unresponsive or respond in ways that they shouldn’t. Generally it will be behaving oddly.
The computer is probably beginning to be damaged at this point and is just short of displaying full-blown overheating symptoms.
What you can do?
You can help avoid overheating in the first place by locating computers off the floor and away from open windows. You should also vacuum the vents you can see on the OUTSIDE of the computer to remove any dust that may otherwise get sucked inside.
Do not BLOW, BRUSH or WIPE dust off the external vents as it just ends up forcing it inside the computer – you must use a vacuum cleaner.
The only high voltage component in a computer is quite well isolated so you don’t have to worry about electrocution unless you start poking around with something metallic. However, computers are very susceptible to static damage, so its not really a good idea for you to start delving around inside to clean their cooling system if you don’t know what you’re doing – you’ll just add insult to injury.
So once your computer is exhibiting pre-overheating or full overheating symptoms, there’s really no more you can do – time to call in the experts! Hopefully this article has helped you avoid getting to that point.