The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

How to fix an overheating laptop or notebook

laptop on cooling standDanny bought me a state of the art HP Pavilion Entertainment Notebook just over a year ago. It was the last one in the shop and had served an apprenticeship as a display model. I didn’t care. It was just what I wanted with loads of memory, widescreen and plenty of vroom.

Now I could work at the kitchen table rather than in the Rat Room. Everyone was pleased.

Within a month, the laptop started overheating. I’d be beavering away when suddenly the screen would freeze. With a tremulous phut it would die. Usually when I hadn’t bothered to save. The base of the laptop would be extremely hot.

By now, it was part of the family, customised just for me. I couldn’t bear to take it back to be fixed. Anyway, with a years warranty, I had plenty of time.

I finally got to grips with saving every few minutes. I found a chilly spot in the larder where it would cool down quickly after overheating. This went on for months. Finally there were only two days left on the warranty. I started to back up my stuff and Danny muttered darkly about people waiting for months for repairs to be carried out.
“Why not see if anyone else has the same problem?”

I searched online and discovered that there are two persistent problems with laptops. Dust and overheating. The solution for dust problems is to buy a can of compressed air. The solution for overheating seemed to be something called a bakers tray. The latter is not the metal grid on legs used for cooling hot scones but a platform with fans that cool the underside of the notebook.

I whizzed over to Cambridge and found a can of compressed air and a dinky doll sized vacuum cleaner at Maplins. My luck was in as PC World had a special offer on a “laptop cooling” stand with two little fans.

I carefully cleaned the laptop with the vacuum cleaner and compressed air. I plugged in the baker’s tray and happily blogged as the fans whirled almost soundlessly beneath my fingers.

I’m not sure whether the compressed air and vacuum cleaner did any good at all. The cooling stand definitely works. If I forget to switch on the stand the notebook reverts to being the temperamental layabout of pre-stand days. If your laptop overheats and dies this could be the solution.

October 2009 update: Amazon has the Belkin laptop cooling stand whichis much cheaper than the ones on offer at PCWorld.


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