Five cool tips for a cool laptop

Laptops are invaluable machines that allow you to take the office with you, without having to lug around a massive desktop. What is also really useful about them is that most new laptops have the same power as desktops but in a much smaller case. There is a price to be paid however: Cram enough components into a small space and they will generate heat. Lots of heat. Excessive temperatures aren’t good for laptops, and need to be addressed.

Here’s five tips on how to reduce the heat your laptop generates

Keep it out of the heat and sun – Laptops are designed to operate within a set heat range (usually between 30 and 55 Celsius or 86 to 131 Fahrenheit). If the ambient temperature is high, the laptop’s operating temperature will be higher, which will greatly increase component wear and the chances of your device overheating. It’s best to keep your laptop in a cooler room and out of the sun. If that’s not possible, turn off your computer when it’s not in use.

Put your laptop on your desk, not the couch – Those pieces of rubber on the corners of the underside of your laptop are like tiny feet, they are meant to provide enough space for air to circulate under the device and cool it. You’ll notice that if you keep your laptop on a fabric surface like a couch or table with a tablecloth, the bottom gets really hot. To avoid this, it’s best to keep your laptop on a solid, flat surface.

Don’t use your laptop on your lap – Despite the name, laptops don’t the best thing to use on your lap. There have been incidents in the past of laptops overheating and burning users. This happens because air can’t circulate under the laptop and pull heat away. So best to keep your laptop on a flat surface rather than on your lap.

Invest in a cooling pad or lapdesk – If you find that the bottom of your laptop gets hot even on a desk, you could look for a cooling pad. Your laptop sits on this device, which plugs into your USB port, while fans cool down your machine by circulating air. If you feel comfortable with your laptop on your lap then look for a lapdesk which has a flat surface for it to sit on.

Clear dust out of the machine – Dust is one of your laptop’s worst enemies. It often collects in nooks and crannies and over time can cause components to stop working. One place you’ll often find a lot of dust is on the cooling fan’s blades. If it builds up, your fans will not be able to spin and cool your laptop. To tell if your fans are affected by dust: Put your hand near the fan vents and run a power intensive program, or watch an HD movie. If you can feel a steady stream of hot air coming out, you are ok. If you don’t feel anything, it might be time to clean your fan.

With many laptops, you won’t be able to access the fan without opening the case. It’s important to remember that many manufacturers have a clause that if you open the case, the warranty is voided. If your machine is still under warranty, take it into a vendor to be cleaned. Also, if you’re unsure about what you’re doing when you open the case, it’s best to let professionals clean your computer instead.

It’s good to remember that laptops will always be warm to hot when you use them, and more power intensive programs will cause them to heat up even more. If you don’t take steps to manage the heat though you could see the life of components and your battery decreasing, and an increase in random shutdowns. If your laptop shuts down, or starts to beep, this is a good indication the components are overheating. You should give your computer at least half an hour to cool down before starting up again.

In general, not taking care of your laptop will mean you will have to replace it earlier, which is an added expense many businesses can’t afford in this current economic climate. If you find that your laptop isn’t running the way it used to, and seems increasingly hot, don’t go out and buy a new one. Instead, give us a call, as we may have a cool solution for you.

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