When you’re relying on your computer so that you can get things done, the worst thing that can happen is that you have sudden technical problems. One of the most commonly occurring issues that people have with their computers is overheating.
The first thing you might notice if you have this problem is that the computer becomes extremely noisy, with the fans working overtime to try and keep internal temperatures in check.
Additionally, the PC might actually feel physically hot to the touch as things get worse. And eventually, you’ll have technical problems, with the computer slowing down, programs crashing, and possibly even complete shutdowns.
What’s more, as the problem persists, overheating can cause damage to all parts of your PC, which could prove costly in the long-term, and is likely to further exacerbate performance problems.
It’s important at all times to make sure that you’re doing a regular data backup, in order that if your computer malfunctions, you won’t lose all your content. But in order to avoid the possibility of damage and complications, you should take steps to avoid the problem of overheating, which can be easily handled with a little effort and attention.
Why Does Overheating Occur?
Although it might not seem like it from the outside–and even if you open your computer up, you can’t see much going on–a computer is a collection of moving parts, and as long as it’s operating, then its components are in motion.
This means that as its parts move, it generates heat, and the more intensive the operation it’s performing, the more heat will be generated. To counter this, manufacturers fit internal fans, and if you’re using higher spec components, then each part might have its own small fan.
There are also vents that you can see from the outside, and parts are positioned to optimize airflow. There are heat sinks too, and alternative methods of keeping the temperature down, such as liquid cooling.
Overheating occurs when the cooling systems are faulty, dirty, old, or in some way not operating properly, when the computer is performing heavy operations for a prolonged period or, if overclocked, is operating above what we’d ordinarily regard as maximum capacity.
In any of these scenarios, the heat generated by the computer’s operations is more than the cooling systems can deal with, and you get overheating. This can be further exacerbated if the computer is in a hot environment.
Assess Whether the Fan is Working
You might be able to hear whether or not the main fan is working as soon as you power up your computer. When you have a new PC, you can hear when you turn it on that it’s in good working order, because the fan springs quickly into action with an efficient, consistent whirring sound.
With an older PC, it’s often possible to identify from the noise made that a fan is not working well, as it sounds slow, erratic, or too loud.
If the fan is not working properly, then you need to get in there and clean it up. Open up the PC, and you may find that dust and grime has visibly accumulated.
Get rid of all the dirt that has built up, around the fan at first, but it also makes sense to clean the whole interior of the computer. You can buy small vacuums and gadgets that make use of compressed air to help you do this.
It may be the case that the fan is not just dirty, but is actually worn out mechanically, in which case you’ll need to replace it with a new one.
This can be a good thing to do early, before it totally breaks down, as the cost of replacing a fan is far lower than that of replacing a selection of components–or an entire PC–damaged by overheating.
Don’t Overwork the PC
Depending on what you’re doing, it can be tempting to overclock your PC. This can be a useful hack for short periods of time, but in the longer term, it can lead to overheating and damaged parts.
After all, there’s a reason the manufacturers didn’t set up the PC like that in the first place. In general, overclocking is to be avoided, and if you begin to experience overheating problems, consider that a sign to stop overclocking.
By contrast, you can actually do the opposite and underclock your PC. Not only will this prevent overheating, but it will save energy and extend the life of the computer. This can be done from the BIOS, through third party options, and through a PC’s advanced power settings.
Another easy way to ensure that your PC works optimally is to use it only within its known capacity. In other words, don’t expect your PC to be a supercomputer and handle work that it wasn’t designed and built for. You can overclock a computer for a while, but ultimately, if you’re going to be working on intensive tasks that require top-end hardware, then you’ll have to invest accordingly.