Laptops and small form-factor computers can suffer from heat-stroke. The symptoms usually involve a sudden restart, and if left untreated, can eventually burn out the CPU or the video card. You don’t want that to happen.

If you’re not sure if you’re dealing with an overheating problem or not, you can do some simple tests that will help determine how likely of a cause this is in your situation:

Turn off the computer, and let it sit for a while to cool off.
If it takes longer for the automatic overheating shut-down to happen now that the computer’s cooler, that’s a clue for overheating. If it shuts off after the same amount of time no matter what, it could be a different problem.

Let your laptop breathe.
It’s nice to get comfy with a blanket and some pillows, and check your e-mail and Facebook before bed! But while you do this, make sure you’re not blocking the air-vent. Computers cool themselves off by circulating air over a radiator, just like a car does.  If you block the air-flow, the hot air cannot escape, and things just keep getting hotter.

Dust is a fan’s worst enemy.
Feel around the sides and the bottom of the laptop for hot air. Once you find the vent, check it for dust and debris. The fan must be able to expel the air without interference. The more dust is inside the fan, the slower it will turn and the less efficient it will be at maintaining a cool CPU.

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