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Dell portable system heat issue or the system is overheating.

Summary: Troubleshooting steps to resolve heat issues with your Dell Laptop

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Table of Contents

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

This article provides information about overheating and system shutdowns, which may occur due to dust accumulation, out of date BIOS, or improper usage environment.

What is Normal System Heat?

Systems 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.
  • Using near a heat source or in a hot environment (including direct sunlight)
    SLN149611_en_US__1icon Fan speed and noise may increase or decrease dynamically in response to changes in the temperature of the system. 

What symptoms will I experience if my system is overheating?

  • Random Shutdowns
  • System Locking up
  • System Freezing
  • Random Reboots

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Tips for Proper Usage

  • Dell does not recommend placing portable systems directly on your lap. Due to reductions in the thickness of modern portable systems and increases in performance, heat transfer can become an issue. 
    SLN149611_en_US__1icon NOTE: During normal operation, the temperature of the bottom of a portable system may exceed comfortable levels for sustained contact. It is possible that skin irritation could result from prolonged contact to the system chassis.
  • Using a portable system (Laptop) on a hard, flat, non-cloth surface will increase airflow and reduce heat from underneath and inside the system. 
    SLN149611_en_US__3icon Using the portable system on a blanket, pillow, or other type of cloth will cover up the fan and disrupt airflow. This will cause the system to overheat and can cause permanent damage. 
  • The recommended general room temperature for reliable operation of the system is 0°C to 35°C (32°F to 95°F) with a humidity level no greater than 90%.  For specific environmental usage temperatures for your system, refer to your User's Guide or Setup Guide.
  • Use canned compressed air to clean the vents on a regular basis. This will remove accumulated dust, hair etc.
  • Using a laptop cooling pad can decrease heat and increase performance. Laptop cooling pads generally utilize fans that supplement the system fans and ensure optimal airflow is maintained.

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Cleaning the Vents

  1. Check the vents on the system for any accumulated dust or debris that may interfere with airflow.
  2. Turn the system off.
  3. Unplug the AC Adapter.
  4. Remove the Battery (for instructions on how to remove the battery see the systems Service Manual).
  5. Use canned compressed air to blow the dust out of the vents. 
    SLN149611_en_US__3icon Do not use your mouth to blow the dust out of a portable system. If using a can of compressed air, use the can according to the directions on the side of the can as you can cause damage to the computer if used incorrectly. Inverting the cannister may result in the discharge of supercooled carbon dioxide 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 are controlled by thermal tables dictating 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 system.
If you need assistance in Downloading and Installing Drivers or BIOS refer to the Installation Instructions.

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Hardware Diagnostics Check

For instructions on how to perform Hardware Diagnostics on your system, refer to Dell KB SLN114988.

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Article Properties

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Last Published Date

21 Feb 2021



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