Tips on Keeping Your Laptop Cool

by Lindsay Champion

If you use your laptop computer for long periods at a time, especially with it sitting on the couch, bed or your lap, its base can get very hot. Although most laptops have a built-in fan, it may not be enough to keep your computer and sensitive components cool. You may need to find ways to keep your laptop cool to prevent the development of heat-related problems, such as unexpected shutdowns. Using computer accessories, like PC stands, and following a few simple tips can help get air flowing underneath your laptop.

Laptop Cooling Tips:

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  • Lift your laptop:

    Lift your laptop in the air by placing it on a specially designed PC stand or propping up on the edge of a book. This will allow air to circulate through the vents, as long as the books are small enough and do not block the vents. Remove any plastic book jackets before placing the books under the laptop to avoid melting or damaging them.

  • Add an external fan:

    Most laptops come with cooling fans built into the back of the computer, but they may not work well enough to completely cool the machine. To prevent your computer from overheating, add an external fan underneath your laptop to keep everything running smoothly. Laptop cooling fans are placed directly underneath the computer or on a lap desk or stand. A few fans can be plugged into and powered through a USB port on the laptop itself.

  • Ice your laptop:

    Cool down your laptop by placing an ice pack at the bottom of your computer. You can purchase special laptop cooling packs that you place in the freezer, but in a pinch, the laptop can be cooled the same way by taking a standard gel ice pack and wrapping it in a towel. Place the towel-wrapped ice pack on your worktable or your lap; then place the computer over it. Keep the ice pack under the laptop until the base of the computer feels cool to the touch. Remove the ice pack immediately if you feel any condensation wetting the towel.

  • Don't block the vents:

    Your laptop generates heat as it operates, and the vents on the bottom and sides are designed to pull in cool air and expel hot air. Avoid placing it on your lap or on top of a blanket for extended periods of time, as this blocks the vents at the back of the computer that help draw warm air away. Using a lap desk, or otherwise propping the laptop up, can open the vents.