What to do if a processor is getting very hot

Updated: February 17, 2023
6 min read
What to do if a processor is getting very hot
by Mykola Hezhoian
Tech Expert & Writer
Checked by
Quality Control team

Quite often, computer users face the problem when processors are getting overheated. The case is most common in summer when processors and other computer components can reach high temperatures if they lack sufficient cooling. In addition, multiple other reasons trigger this problem. In this article, you can find the reasons and solutions for this problem. They will help you have a more stable processor that runs at normal temperatures.

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Reasons for processor overheating

  • lack or insufficient air circulation inside the case;
  • a small number of fans or no fan operation;
  • failure to use or improper usage of thermal paste;
  • the ambient temperature is too high;
  • overclocking;
  • processor and motherboard failures;
  • using programs that exceed the processor capacity.

Symptoms of processor overheating

  • high fan noise;
  • increased computer freezes and sputters;
  • the computer turns off and on;
  • errors such as blue screen etc.

What should you do if the processor is getting very hot

What to do if a processor is getting very hot

Now that we've learned the causes and symptoms of the processor overheating problem, let's move on to some effective solutions.

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Make sure the fans are working correctly

First, check the direction and condition of the fans. The processor temperature can increase significantly if the fans are installed in the wrong direction or are not working. Since there will be no airflow inside the case, no hot air is discharged, and no cold air enters, the components will heat up even if they are not under load.

Clean the case

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Dust is one of the main factors that reduce airflow inside the case. Computers that are not cleaned from dust are more prone to overheating. Those who say that the processor is getting very hot should clean the case's inside. If you're using a desktop, you can do the cleaning yourself. However, if you are using a laptop, it won't be easy to clean. Therefore, it would be good to get help from an expert.

Leave the computer/laptop surroundings empty

What to do if a processor is getting very hot

The airflow inside the case is important, but so is the airflow outside of it. Thus, the more objects placed around the case, the hotter it will get. So, position your device in a spacious environment.

If you have a laptop, try to use it on the table with a cooling fan. Because the laptop will heat up with your body temperature, the processor heating problem may increase even more.

Refresh thermal paste

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The thermal paste helps the cool air from the processor's cooling fan to conduct better. If the thermal paste has expired, the processor's temperature will increase. There is no need to describe the condition of processors without thermal paste.

Thermal paste replacement is easy for experienced users. However, a novice can damage the processor or other components. If you're a novice, seek the help of an expert and replace your thermal paste once a year.

Stop overclocking

Overclocking is one of the most important reasons why hardware heats up. It’s so damaging because when the hardware is used at or near full capacity, it consumes more energy. Increased energy consumption leads to increased heat. If you avoid overclocking, you can naturally avoid the problem of the processor getting too hot.

Abandon ultimate/high-performance mode

What to do if a processor is getting very hot

Although not as damaging as overclocking, Windows performance options can also increase energy consumption. You may reduce the temperature of the processor and other hardware by switching the performance option to a balanced mode.

Follow the steps below to set the Power option:

  1. Click on the Start icon and type "Choose power plan," and click on the result.
  2. Among the plans, select the one labeled "Balanced".
  3. If you are using a laptop and performance is not so important to you, you can select "Power saving" mode to save battery power.
  4. Restart your computer after the procedure.

Disable background services and programs

Background programs and services use system resources just like active programs and can cause increased component temperature. You should consider turning off background programs and services. You can search for "background applications" and see the applications running in the background. You can also see the background programs from the system tray in the taskbar.

Open the Run application with the Windows + R key combination to turn off background services. Then type "services.msc" and enter. Then turn off the services you find unnecessary, such as Xbox. If you wonder which services are unnecessary, you can discover them by conducting a short search on the internet.

Turn off antivirus and real-time virus protection

Antivirus programs can consume a lot of system resources compared to other programs. The older your computer is, the more you will feel the negative impact of antiviruses. Using antiviruses in real-time protection mode doubles this effect. Alternatively, you can run regular full antivirus scans to protect yourself from viruses.

Hard format your computer

If the above solutions do not fix the processor heating problem, format your computer to solve the software problems. However, formatting may not be your solution if you face operating system errors. For this reason, it would be good to investigate whether the version of Windows you are downloading causes this kind of problem. If so, you may need to install an older version instead.

The same applies to the programs you use. If you encounter these problems after downloading a new program version, you should install an older version.

Get support from an expert or technical service

As you can see, your computer or processor can heat up for more than one reason. You need help from the service or experts to identify and solve the so-called factory defects or chronic errors. Also, if you are a novice user and the processor is getting very hot, it makes more sense to get support instead of dealing with this problem for long hours.

What should be the processor temperature?

The normal processor temperature is about 30-35 degrees when idle, that is when you're not using any software. Under load, it is considered normal to go up to 85 degrees.

Measuring processor temperature

There are many desktop programs for measuring processor temperature. If you search for "processor temperature measurement program," you will find dozens of options. You can also check the processor temperature in the BIOS if you don't have access to the desktop environment.

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