Laptop computers naturally run hot (or at least very warm), and if they stay hot for prolonged periods of time they may overheat and cause serious damage. Whether or not you're experiencing the warning signs and dangers of your laptop overheating, the simple and inexpensive protective measures below will help keep your laptop cooler and make it work more reliably.
5 easy tips to cool a hot laptop
1. Adjust your power settings from "high performance" to a more "balanced" or "power saver" plan. This will tell the system to only use the power required to run your applications, rather than always using the maximum processor speed; if you need to play games or other intensive work, you can switch back to the high performance plan as necessary.
2. Use dust remover spray to clean out of the laptop's vents. Dust can accumulate in and block the laptop's fan vents -- a problem easily solved with a can of compressed gas (~$10). Turn off your laptop and spray the vent to remove the dust.
3. Use a laptop cooling pad that has a fan or two. Laptop pads that have vents but no fans can also increase the air flow around your laptop and they're very portable, but for stronger cooling needs, a fan is the best way to go. For this test, I used a Belkin F5L055 (under $30), but there are also several others selected by this site's previous guide that you can explore or you could even custom build a laptop cooling system if you're so inclined.
4. Keep your working environment or computer room as comfortably cool as possible. Computers, like most people, work much better in air conditioned environments. Most server rooms or data centers operate at 70 degrees or below, according to Server Fault, and that seems like an ideal temperature recommendation for home offices as well.
5. Shut down your computer when not in use, and especially when you are not at home. The last thing you need when you get home is to find out your laptop was a fire hazard (one of the dangers of overheating laptops).
Taking the steps above brought down the internal temperature of an old and dangerously hot laptop from 181° Fahrenheit (83° Celsius) to 106° F (41° C) -- a difference of 41% after one hour of using the active laptop cooling pad and bringing the room temperature down to 68 degrees.
If you continue to experience laptop heat problems, contact your laptop vendor -- it may be a sign that the fan needs replacing, the BIOS program needs to be updated, or there is something else faulty with the system.