How To Reduce Laptop Heat (Prevent Laptop Overheating)

If you’ve ever felt your laptop warming up uncomfortably or noticed decreased performance due to overheating, you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are practical and effective ways to reduce laptop heat, ensuring optimal performance and prolonging your device’s lifespan.

To reduce laptop heat, ensure the balanced power plan is selected, and avoid operating it in the sun or on a soft surface restricting airflow. Also, check that the laptop’s fans work, the cooling system is clean, and the thermal paste isn’t too old.

In this post, we’ll explore a range of solutions, from simple adjustments to more advanced techniques, to help you keep your laptop cool and running smoothly.

A laptop has many components sitting close to each other, making them more expensive to produce. This means that if one of them overheats, it’s very likely that the surrounding parts will become affected, too.

How to reduce laptop heat.

How to Reduce Laptop Heat

Some giveaways that your laptop may be overheating, are increased fan noise, hotter areas on the laptop’s outer casing, increased CPU or GPU temperatures with monitoring software, and reduced performance.

By following these recommendations, you can lower the heat inside it and extend its lifespan.

1. Ensure the laptop is always used on a flat hard surface

Laptop on a flat surface to optimize intake airflow and to prevent the vents from being obstructed.

Hotter areas under the laptop can cool down better when surrounded by air rather than blankets or clothing.

Keeping your laptop on a flat surface helps air flow through the cooling intakes and outlets.

The cooling system usually relies on a blower-style fan(s) that draws air in through a vent and then cools a heatsink, with the hot air exiting the outlet or exhaust vent.

If either of those vents is obstructed, it will impact the cooling capability dramatically.

Some laptops have intake and exhaust vents underneath, and others along the outer perimeter of the base of the computer.

2. Use a laptop cooling pad or lap desk

An example of a laptop cooling pad.

This is a very effective way to keep your laptop cool while being a low-cost investment.

If you are using your laptop for gaming, you will want a cooler that performs well. It will most likely contain multiple fans.

Laptop coolers available can cope well with being used on a bed. This way, you aren’t restricted to using it on a hard flat surface.

With most cooling pads, you can choose whether or not to run the fans depending on your usage level.

If it’s a hot day or you choose to game on it, enabling the fans helps keep your laptop cooler.

Use a lap desk to decrease laptop heat on soft surfaces

An example of a lapdesk used to reduce laptop heat in bed.

Using a lap desk is a great way to reduce laptop heat. Placing your laptop on your lap or any soft surface can block the air vents and trap heat, causing the laptop to overheat.

However, using a lap desk as insulation between your laptop and your legs or any soft surface allows for better ventilation and airflow. This helps dissipate the heat more effectively and keeps your laptop running cooler.

So, consider investing in a lap desk to prevent overheating and maintain optimal laptop performance. There are some elegant designs and different varieties for all budgets.

3. Maintain clean air pathways and fans to improve cooling

A dusty clogged laptop cooling system.

Over months, dust starts to accumulate in the cooling system. It’s simply the nature of cooling in general. Desktop computers must also be cleaned, and preventative steps can be implemented to keep dust out.

But with a laptop, you are pretty much stuck with the cooling system’s design, and adding filters isn’t an option.

Simply cleaning vents may have little impact on the cooling system’s effectiveness as dust and debris collect deeper within the cooling system.

I don’t recommend servicing the laptop yourself unless you are confident in your abilities and don’t have a warranty left on the computer.

Instead, I recommended that you have it done professionally. I also highly recommend replacing any old thermal paste at the same time. This method can be the most effective to keep your laptop from overheating and running as it should.

4. Try to prevent direct sunlight on the laptop

Whether using it or not, keep your laptop out of direct sunlight.

Small plastic parts inside can become warped from too much heat.

If you are using your laptop in the sun, it will raise its internal temperature. If it continues to run for hours this way, it can shorten the lifespan of certain internal components.

Storing your laptop in a hot car can also cause some damage if certain plastic components warp.

5. Make sure the fans are working to stop overheating

If you are using your laptop and notice absolute silence (no fan noise), shut it off and have a professional look at it.

This means that the cooling fan is either damaged or some other malfunction is causing your fan not to spin up.

This can cause damage to your laptop, and it should be looked at as soon as possible.

If you hear rattling sounds from your fans, they are worn out and need replacing.

Because of the delicate and compact nature of all the internal parts, unless you’ve had laptop repair experience, have a professional replace them.

To know more about when fans should turn on, please read my article on how often should a laptop fan come on.

6. Use software to monitor laptop temperatures and fans

By installing software that can inform you about the temperatures of components in your laptop, you can easily keep an eye on crucial component temperatures.

Several software packages control fan speeds and provide you with temperature information.

On some applications, you can set up fan speed profiles based on the temperatures of hardware components.

This way, you can also ensure your fan(s) are doing their job by observing increased fan speed as your internal hardware gets hotter.

7. Is the laptop hardware capable enough?

Old hardware with a modern operating system and software can be problematic.

If the hardware is old, it will be flat-out trying to perform basic tasks. This will inevitably raise the laptop’s temperature.

The CPU will be working hard to keep up and use lots of power from the battery to sustain its operation.

At this point, there aren’t any tricks to get around the problem. A new laptop is the only way out.

I have been down the path many times installing lightweight Linux operating systems to get extra time out of the laptop.

Truthfully, it simply isn’t worth it, and I’ve always replaced it anyway. An external graphics card is an option for gamers whose internal GPU isn’t up to spec.

However, depending on your situation, it may be worth replacing it, seeing as portability will be affected and considering the cost of an external graphics card setup.

8. Check the BIOS settings

Please make sure there are no settings that are keeping your fan from performing the way it should.

Check that any fan control settings aren’t set conservatively, which can keep it running at a much higher temperature.

If you aren’t comfortable setting an optimized manual fan profile, choose one of the medium to more aggressive profiles to ensure adequate cooling.

While some laptops don’t have a fan profile adjustment feature in the BIOS, using a third-party software application may be the answer, as mentioned in step 6.

9. Don’t overload it with too many programs at once

Try to keep the number of programs running down to a minimum. If you are working on an application and completed a task, consider closing it instead of minimizing it.

This will also free up your laptop’s resources to deliver better performance to something you currently use instead.

Keep the number of tabs open in your browser down to a minimum. It will use less memory and keep your laptop able to deal with other things a bit easier.

10. Avoid intense processes causing laptop overheating

Task Manager with CPU intensive applications sorted first.

To reduce laptop heat, avoiding intense processes that load your laptop’s CPU and GPU heavily is important.

These processes, like gaming or using resource-intensive applications, can generate heat and cause your laptop to overheat.

Minimizing your system’s workload can help keep the temperature down and prevent overheating issues. So be mindful of what programs or tasks you’re running on your laptop and avoid anything that could strain its performance too much.

You can view the CPU-intensive applications in the Task Manager by clicking on the CPU column to order all the programs by the highest usage ones.

11. Adjust power settings to fix laptop overheating

In Windows, a couple of power management settings can help keep your laptop cooler.

  • Change the power plan settings to Balanced.
  • Change the System cooling policy from Plugged in to Active.

This will help keep it cooler by reducing power to certain internal components that aren’t being used to a higher potential.

12. Remove overclocking for thermal improvement

Check in the laptop’s BIOS or other overclocking software that may push the hardware’s limitations, causing excess heat.

Some examples of overclocking software:

  • AMD Ryzen Master and AMD Overdrive.
  • EVGA Precision X.
  • Intel Extreme Tuning Utility.
  • MSI Afterburner.
  • ASUS GPU Tweak II or III.

You will likely find a program like this running in the system tray.

You can enter the profile settings in the overclocking software and select default settings for clock speeds and voltages.

Be careful not to remove any fan speed profiles that may be keeping your CPU or GPU cool.

Check inside the BIOS and set all the overclocking or clock frequency values back to auto or default. Take note of the settings before making changes so you can return any settings that may make your system more unstable in some unique cases.

You will also want to keep the BIOS updated so that any changes from the manufacturer regarding cooling or other hardware management can be implemented to provide a better outcome.

13. Keep USB ports free

Using extra USB peripherals not only drains more power from the laptop but also tends to increase CPU usage and another reason why laptops overheat.

This has has a two-fold effect to increase a laptop’s temperature.

Unplug all USB peripherals when you don’t use them, which reduces power draw, and the extra CPU utilization which will lower CPU thermals and component level heat.

It’s overheating only when charging

If you notice more heat from your laptop, only when your charger is connected, look at the charger you use.

If it isn’t the original charger, make sure the charger’s specifications are correct and that it isn’t a no-name cheap replacement or at least a certified charger.

Some extremely cheap replacements can damage and cause extra laptop heat internally when plugged in.

Conclusion

I hope some of these tips have helped you in some way to keep your laptop cooler. If you can’t get it to run cooler after trying these suggestions, hand it over to a professional to look at it.

It could save the lifespan of your laptop, and it will be money well spent.

Please refer to my other on why your laptop dies when plugged into power if you have reliability when trying to charge it.