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HP Desktop PCs - Reducing Heat Inside the PC to Prevent Overheating
Heat buildup can cause problems for any computer. Generally, when temperatures inside the computer case rise above 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit), the risk of damaging important internal components increases greatly. The most common cause of overheating is the accumulation of dust inside the computer. This document describes how to prevent heat-related issues from occurring.
View a video on Reducing Heat Inside the PC
Symptoms of heat issues and causes of excessive heat
The following list describes some of the issues caused by too much heat in the computer:
The following list describes some causes of excessive heat:
Before you begin
WARNING: Keep children and pets away from the area because of the hazard of electrical shock.
WARNING: The edges of metal panels can cut skin. Be careful not to slide skin along any interior metal edge of the computer.
CAUTION: This product contains components that can be damaged by electrostatic discharge (ESD). To reduce the chance of ESD damage, work over a noncarpeted floor, use a static dissipative work surface (such as a conductive foam pad), and wear an ESD wrist strap connected to a grounded surface.
Make sure you have the following items:
Step 1: Test the computer with the cover removed
Remove the side panel from the computer to see if the heat related issues go away. Doing so also prepares the computer for other procedures used in this article.
Step 2: Verify fans are operational
With the power on, look inside the computer and find the cooling fans. Look for the fans near vents, around the processor, and around the video card. You can use a flashlight to help find the fans, but do not put anything inside the computer.
Figure 2: Fan locations
If a fan is not moving or is making a loud growling noise, turn off the computer and replace the fan. Do not use the computer when a fan is not working correctly because the high heat can damage other important components.
Go to the next step after all fans are found to be working correctly.
Step 3: Clean the computer
Dust might have built up around some of the internal components. Dust clogs the small air passages between metal surfaces, acting as a blanket to keep in heat. Use the following steps to remove dust:
WARNING: Wear safety goggles and a dust mask to protect eyes and nasal passages when using canned air to remove dust.
Step 4: Ensure proper space for ventilation
Proper ventilation for the system is important for workstation operation. Follow these guidelines to ensure adequate ventilation:
Step 5: Place the computer in a cooler room
A small difference in temperature might be all that is needed to prevent a component from failing. Move the computer to a cooler room in the house or office. If this is not an option, continue with the next step.
Step 6: Install an extra fan
Case fans are available to buy from most local computer supply stores. One type of fan that works well in home computers is a slot fan. These fans can be installed into a slot next to the video card. The hot air that surrounds the video card is drawn out through the slot fan, lowering the air temperature inside the case.
Installation of the fan depends on the type of fan. After installing the fan according to its instructions, replace the case cover, plug in the power cord, and turn on the computer. Use the computer normally to see if the heat related issues go away.
Figure 6: Heat removed through a slot fan
1 - Video card
2 - Slot fan
Step 7: Test for hardware failure
If issues persist after replacing the side panel, a hardware component might be damaged. Test the computer to see if any hardware, such as memory, the processor, or the graphics hardware, have failed. Most HP desktop computers come with diagnostic software to verify hardware failures. For more information, see one of the following topics:
If hardware has failed, either replace the bad component or Contact HP (in English) for further assistance.