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Troubleshoot Dell Laptop Overheating Issues

Summary: This article provides basic troubleshooting steps to identify and resolve heat issues with your Dell laptop.

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Article Content


Table of Contents

  1. What is Normal Computer Heat?
  2. Tips for Proper Usage

What is Normal Computer Heat?

Computers can become warm to the touch during usage when;

  • Using for longer than 10-15 minutes.
  • Watching a DVD/Blu-ray.
  • Streaming online video.
  • Watching or Interacting with Flash Content.
  • Playing Video Games or Online Games.
  • Vents blocked by fabric or paper (setting a portable computer on a bed or desk with papers on it, etc.).
  • Using near a heat source or in a hot environment (including direct sunlight).
    Note: Fan speed and noise may increase or decrease dynamically in response to changes in the temperature of the computer. 

What symptoms am I experiencing if my computer is overheating?

  • Random shutdowns.
  • Computer locks up.
  • Computer stops responding.
  • Random reboots.

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Tips for Proper Usage

  • Dell does not recommend placing portable computers directly on your lap. Due to reductions in the thickness of modern portable computers and increases in performance, heat transfer to your person can become an issue. 
    Caution: During normal operation, the temperature of the bottom of a portable computer may exceed comfortable levels for sustained contact. It is possible that skin irritation could result from prolonged contact to the computer chassis.
  • Using a portable computer (aka Laptop) on a hard, flat, non-cloth surface increases airflow and reduce heat from underneath and inside the system. 
    Warning: Using the portable computer on a blanket, pillow, or other type of cloth or paper covers up the fan air intake and disrupt airflow. This causes the computer to overheat and can cause permanent damage that is not covered under any defect warranty. 
  • Recommended room temperature for reliable computer operation is 0°C to 35°C (32°F to 95°F) and humidity no greater than 90%. For specific environmental usage temperatures for your computer, refer to your User's Guide or Setup Guide.
  • Use canned compressed air to clean the vents regularly. This removes accumulated dust, hair etc. Avoid inverting the compressed air can to avoid super-cooled fluorocarbon liquid entering the computer.
  • Using a laptop cooling pad can decrease heat and increase performance. Laptop cooling pads generally utilize fans that supplement the computer fans and ensure that optimal airflow is maintained.

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Cleaning the Vents

  1. Check the vents on the computer for any accumulated dust or debris that may interfere with airflow.
  2. Turn the computer off.
  3. Unplug the AC Adapter.
  4. Remove the Battery (for instructions on how to remove the battery see the computers Service Manual).
  5. Use canned compressed air to blow the dust out of the vents. 
    Warning: Do not use your mouth to blow the dust out of a portable computer. If using a can of compressed air, use the can according to the directions on the side of the can. You can damage the computer if used incorrectly. Inverting the cannister may result in the discharge of supercooled fluorocarbon liquid that may cause damage or injury.  

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Update the BIOS

An out of date BIOS can contribute to heat issues. System fans that are controlled by thermal tables dictate the speed and rate of airflow necessary to maintain optimal temperatures. These tables are periodically updated as needed.
Visit the Dell Drivers and Downloads website and input your Service Tag to get updates specific to your computer.
If you need assistance in Downloading and Installing Drivers, or BIOS refer to the KB article: What is BIOS and How to Update the BIOS on Your Dell System.

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Hardware Diagnostics Check

How to perform Hardware Diagnostics on your computer: Dell Diagnostic Tools to Diagnose and Fix Hardware Problems on Your Dell Computer, Tablet, or Servers.

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Additional Information

Article Properties

Affected Product

G Series, Alienware, Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, XPS, Mobile Workstations

Last Published Date

21 Dec 2023



Article Type

How To