technology and zen of life

“A heisenbug (named after the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle) is a computer bug that disappears or alters its characteristics when an attempt is made to study it.”

Run your laptop a little cooler

Disclaimer – The solutions mentioned in this post can harm your PC/Laptop hardware if proper care is not taken. You’ve been warned.

We all have to face that issue with laptops at some point or another. They heat up! Most of the times it’s the issue with old laptops. Here are few tweaks I use with my laptop to make it run at lower temperatures. I’ve been using few tricks myself and I’ve gotten my laptop from 90°C to 65°C.

It’s to be noted that this guide touches only the directions you can look at. The specifics would depend on your particular hardware and operating system you are working with. So hopefully I’ve given you enough information to start with.

Before trying any or all of these methods you should download a temperature monitor. I use HWMonitor.

1. Laptop Cooler/Laptop Stand/Flat Surfaces (Cooling – 2 to 5°C) – This is what most searches on Google will tell you when you search “laptop too hot” or similar search terms. Pretty standard solution but not the most effective one. Buying a Laptop cooler is useful in a way that if you carry it along with your laptop then your lap ( not laptop) will be quite cooler!

2. Clean that laptop (Cooling – 10 to 12°C) – The results of this method are highly variable depending on how much dust was clogging the vents. The steps are pretty straightforward.

  1. Open up the laptop as much as you can. Usually just removing the back panels covering the vents should do the trick.
  2. Get a vacuum cleaner, set it to blowing (or something similar) mode.
  3. Secure the fans, so they don’t rotate when you are blowing the air.
  4. Blow air from every possible angle.

Repeating it once a year should suffice for most users, unless you live in a very dusty environment.

3. Undervoltling (Cooling – 8 to 10°C) – Read the guide here Undervolting guide. It takes the most time, but the rewards are quite good. Be sure to read and understand it thoroughly before attempting it.

4. Limiting maximum clock speeds(Cooling depends on how much you limit) – In all operating systems there is a way to limit the max scaling or max processor usage. Limiting that would degrade performance of your laptop so it’s a tradeoff between usability and heat emitted by the machine. Start with 5% reduction and keep reducing till you either reach the temperatures you want to run the laptop at or the maximum performance degradation you can live with.

These techniques have helped me immensely over the years to keep my 2007 Sony VIAO laptop alive and kicking!

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