Symptoms of a Computer Overheating

Written by kay ireland
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Symptoms of a Computer Overheating
Unexplained errors alert you to a problem. (Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Your computer has an internal fan that helps to keep the motherboard, processor and other components cool while in use. Typically the fan is sufficient to keep your computer cool, but using your computer on an unlevel or soft surface, using it in the sun or having a malfunctioning fan can all cause your computer to overheat. Since overheating can cause serious computer problems, your system will automatically react to the temperature, letting you know it's overheated.

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Fan Noise

In a well-functioning computer in good repair, the fan should be nearly silent. While the computer may make a soft humming sound, grinding noises or loud buzzing is often the sign of a malfunctioning fan. Fans malfunction from loose screws, dust and debris and simply age. If your fan is running slowly or not running at all, it's a clear precursor to an overheated computer. Luckily, fans are fairly quick and easy to replace by someone who's experienced.

Shutting Down

Since overheating can cause severe damage to your computer, your system has a fail-safe in place to ensure your files, programs and hardware aren't ruined by high temperatures. Should your computer overheat, your system will automatically power down and may not power up again until the system has cooled. This is a natural reaction to a computer that's too hot and in danger of being affected by the heat.

Unexplained Errors and Freezing

Your computer functions best when at optimal temperature. If your computer isn't shutting down when reaching a high temperature, you'll easily experience the effects when using your computer. Constant freezing, unexplained error messages and reduced functionality are all signs of an overheated computer. Unfortunately, they're also signs of computer viruses and reduced memory, so it can be difficult to diagnose overheating with functionality alone, unless combined with other issues.

Hot to the Touch

The most common sense way to see if your computer is too hot is to touch the outside of the case. While you won't be able to tell the exact temperature inside the machine, the actual outside casing will feel cool to the touch. Depending on the model of computer you own, the internal temperature should range between 15.6 and 37.8 degrees Celsius. If you can feel the heat on the outside of the computer, there's a good chance it's over 37.8 degrees C inside and prone to overheating.

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