In part one of this article, we looked at the problems an overheating processor can cause on your computer. If you’re experiencing sudden shutdowns or slowdowns, heat can be to blame. In this article, we’ll explore how to diagnose what’s causing the overheating.


The steps to take to fix an overheated processor depends on what  exactly is wrong with the current cooling system. If you suspect your processor might be overheating, there are some steps you can take to see what’s causing the problem.

  • First of all, check to see if your current heat sink is actually working. If the fan is not spinning whatsoever, then it’s doing a poor job trying to cool your processor! You may need to invest in a new heat sink if the fan is unfixable – thankfully, they’re not very expensive.
  • If the fan seems to be spinning, make sure that dust has not gotten into the heat sink. Dust is terrific at jamming up heat flow, and a very dusty heat sink will be like wrapping a hot water bottle in a blanket. Clean out some of that dust, preferably with a can of compressed air, and see if that helps.
  • Make sure the heat sink is attached properly, and isn’t wobbling. You want to make the conneciton between the heat sink and the processor as tight as possible, without letting any air come between them.
  • If there’s still a problem, you could try replacing the thermal paste on the heat sink. Usually, between the heat sink and the processor, is a very thin layer of insulating paste. Its job is to make sure the contact between the processor and the heat sink is airtight. Getting a decent paste (don’t worry – they come cheap!) and reapplying the paste using an online guide may take your temperatures down by a few degrees.

One of the sure-fire ways to tell your processor is overheating is to check its running temperature. So, how do you do that? The free software RealTemp will inform you of your current temperatures, and let you know if you’re going over the limit. Keep your eyes out for a RealTemp tutorial on WorldStart next week!

~ Simon