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How to Find Laptop Temperature

written by: Dianna Monda Dill•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 5/2/2009

This article will show you how to find out your laptop’s temperature so that you can easily track and control it so as to optimize its operational performance and prevent damage.

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    The temperature of your laptop, once it rises above an optimum level, will significantly affect its operational performance. High laptop CPU temperatures result in sluggish response, and can cause your PC to reboot at random. In the extreme, it may even cause permanent physical damage to the laptop.

    Any computer generates a great deal of heat from its normal operation, primarily from its hard drive and processors. For this reason, they are equipped with fans and vents to maximize airflow and get rid of the heat. When it comes to laptops, CPU temperature is a major concern because, unlike a desktop PC, the airflow on a laptop is highly restricted. Most notebooks are designed with small air vents located at the side or the bottom of the machine. However, if these vents are obstructed, your laptop may still overheat.

    It is, therefore, a good habit to get into the habit of regularly monitoring the temperature of your laptop on a regular basis, even if it is in perfect working condition or brand new. The safest maximum temperature that any given laptop can bear will differ based on the particular design and specifications of the laptop. Find out your laptop’s safest operating temperature from your laptop manufacturer’s instruction manual, and maintain it at or below that temperature.

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    Pre-Installed Programs

    Today, most laptops come bundled with software that is designed to serve as a temperature monitor or sensor that tracks and monitors your laptop’s temperature. Before you purchase a third party application or hardware, check to see whether your laptop’s manufacturer has such an application pre-installed for monitoring CPU temperature. Follow the program’s instructions to track your laptop’s temperature.

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    Third Party Applications

    If you laptop does not come with a pre-installed application for monitoring its temperature, you can download a third party application. One such program is MobileMeter, a system monitoring application developed specifically for laptops. Free to download and use, it will track and monitor your CPU and hard drive’s temperature. One downside to using this application is that it does strain system resources.

    1. Download the MobileMeter from Softpedia, and unzip the compressed file.
    2. Open and run the executable file
    3. MobileMeter will display your laptop’s current CPU and hard drive temperature as well as its processor frequency and battery power.
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    Feel The Laptop’s Body

    Place your hand on the body of the laptop, ideally over the hard drive. If it is uncomfortably hot, then it is likely that your laptop is overheating. Similarly, if the laptop feels hot in your lap or leaves the surface it is placed on uncomfortably hot, then it is likely to be overheating.

    If a laptop begins to run sluggishly and under-perform or if its hard drive begins thrashing, the problem may also be as a result of overheating.

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    What to Do if Your Laptop Gets Overheated

    • Check its vents to ensure they are not clogged with dirt and lint, in which case you need to clean them.
    • Make sure that the laptop’s placement is not resulting in its vents being obstructed by any dirt or foreign objects.
    • Run fewer programs at the same time, particularly graphics-heavy video games or playing a DVD.
    • Power down for a period of time to allow the laptop to cool down.
    • A laptop cooling mat is an easy-to-install solution for overheating.