Keeping your computer running within safe temperatures is important, especially as the temperature rises outside. Here’s how to make sure your computer’s not overheating—and how to fix it if it is.
The cooling system of your computer is one of the most important features of the device.
Without the cooling system, the electrical components of your computer wouldn’t be able to function; overheating would damage the integral parts of what makes your computer work.
The heat has to be dissipated in order to keep everything working within safe operating temperatures.
Why an Overheated Computer Is Dangerous
Simply put, if your computer becomes too hot, it is possible to destroy and shorten the lifespan of the hardware inside your computer, leading to irreparable damage and potential data loss.
Besides losing your data, heat pecks away at your computer’s internal organs—the motherboard, CPU, and more—significantly shortening its lifespan.
Besides the most obvious reason to keep your computer cool, a hot computer will also run slower than a cooler computer.
So to prevent your computer from slowing down, make sure that it is running at a moderate or low temperature.
What Temperature Should My Computer Be Running At?
Because of the different types of computer makes and models out there, the safe temperature range your computer should run at varies.
The safe operating range depends on things like processor type, manufacturer, and other factors that make it impossible to give an answer that applies to all CPUs.
How to Check the Temperature of Your PC
Sticking your hand over your computer’s ventilation system or case isn’t an accurate way to judge how hot your computer is running.
So how do you determine how hot your system’s running? You’ve got a few options.
To check the computer’s temperature without additional software, you can check your system BIOS. Restart your computer, and on the boot screen, you should have an option to press a key (often Delete) to enter the BIOS.
Once you enter Setup, navigate the BIOS menu using the on-screen instructions. You should be able to find a menu that deals with the computer’s hardware monitors and CPU.
There should be a field that lists your CPU temperature. Rather not restart your computer to check the temp?
We don’t blame you. Plenty of system monitoring tools can give you a temperature read-out, like free Windows program HWMonitor, which displays the temperature of the CPU, each of the computer’s cores, video card, hard drives, along with the minimum and maximum values of each temperature.
Unfortunately, you’ll need to make sure that your hardware is supported because the program can only read certain sensors.
We’ve featured several system monitoring options in the past that can also handle these duties, like the cross-platform, previously mentioned GKrellM (Windows/Mac/Linux), system-tray friendly app Real Temp, Core Temp, and SpeedFan.
SpeedFan has the added bonus of being able to show how fast each fan is spinning, complete with RPM readings.
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