I’ve had a few laptops recently, which have had varying degrees of overheating problems.
The most severe I had seen, was a CPU failure… The PC just wouldn’t switch on, despite my cleaning the CPU heat sink.
Other laptops had varying problems, like shutting down after just 20 minutes.
In some cases, it very easy to prevent the problem: while the laptop is off, blow some compressed air into the CPU exhaust vent.
The heat sink is the set of cooling fins on the right.
The problem is that as the fan blows air across the fins, dust builds up at the “entrance” to each small “tunnel” created by the cooling fins.
As more dust accumulates, less air flows through.
Eventually no air flows through, and both the CPU and the heat sink, get hotter, until the CPU shuts down.
So blowing air in the reverse direction, means that the dust can get pushed out past the fan itself.
But in some cases, its actually better to take the casing apart, in order to clean the fins properly.
And here is where some laptops are better than others: some will have a flap under the laptop, which allows you to easily access the fan and heat sink.
But others (often Toshiba) force you to dismantle the entire laptop, in order to clean the cooling fins.
The next article will be along similar lines: cleaning overheating laptops that have a separate Video card (eg Nvidia and ATI cards).