What happens when you use your laptop on a bed

What happens when you use your laptop on a bed

A new customer asked for help with his laptop which was giving the following warning: A problem with the cooling system has been detected. Please turn off the computer immediately, and return it for service. I suspected a blocked or failed cooling fan and gave an estimate of the cost of repair, and the customer agreed to go ahead.



The inside of the cooling fan intake vent

Laptops usually rely on a fan for essential cooling. The fan usually sucks in air from a vent on the bottom of the laptop (as shown) and blows it through a cooling ‘radiator’ and out the lap top, in the case through a vent on the side.




Must have been bought refurbish from another company - I would not use masking tapeThis picture shows the inside of the laptop after removing the keyboard and palmrest. In the centre is the blue motherboard (main circuit board). On the other side of the motherboard, under the H-shape part, is the CPU/Processor. As the processor heats up, the heat is dissipated into the flat copper rod on the left which in turn is connected to the ‘radiator’ next to the fan. 


Dust bunnies living in the fanThis picture shows the fan. To the left of it is the radiator-type device which is connected to the copper pipe. As the processor and rod heat up, the fan sucks air in from the bottom of the laptop (you can see the vents through the fan), blows it through the radiator (cooling it) and out the black plastic vents in the side of the laptop. This takes the heat from the processor and out of the laptop.


Dust bunny in the fan housing, and the radiator ventsIn this case, the laptop had sucked in dust over the years which had entered the fan and prevented the fan from turning. Every time the laptop starts it tests the fan, and if it isn’t turning it gives the warning shown. Without solving the problem, the laptop CPU overheats.

Usually the laptop will shut down power if temperatures get dangerously hot, but often the heat can damage the processor and lead it (or other components) to fail. On most laptops, a failed CPU would cost more to properly replace than is cost effective.

Fan removed for cleaningThe solution is to disassemble the laptop and carefully remove the dust, clean it, and reassemble it. This is a big job and should only be undertaken by an experienced and competent professional.




Keyboard afterHaving carefully dusted out and cleaned the internals, I also cleaned the case and keyboard and put the laptop back together again. Running a full-screen YouTube video for over an hour was enough to fully test the cooling system.

It’s easier to complete the type of work on desktop PCs because there’s more room inside to get to the fans. It’s a quick and simple job with the correct experience and specialist dust blowers.

If your laptop or desktop fan is sounds like it’s on full blast all the time it could be that your vents are becoming blocked. Do not blow into suck out of the laptop to clear it. Blowing might force the dust further in and risk damaging the laptop. Any forced airflow could spin the internal fans and induce a voltage which could damage the laptop (or desktop) components. In other words, if you spin the fan it acts like a tiny generator and generates electricity that can flow into your laptop and damage it. Call in a professional!

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Thanks for reading!


Recent Jobs

Just a random selection of recent jobs I’ve completed for customers.

  • New HP Laptop and printer set-up
  • Windows not booting after using system restore to attempt a fix, and printer problems – fixed. Set up email on Android phone, and set mobile broadband data use warning and limit
  • Same-day-service for business customer to fix “no internet” problem. Also installed and set up Dropbox, and set up and run their first backup
  • Windows Login problem solved, Windows Updates completed, Antivirus installation
  • Non-starting Windows PC problem solved, advice on Windows Updates, and advice and tuition on Kindle Fire Tablet
  • Failing hard disk on a laptop. Backed up data, replaced hard disk with SSD (Solid State Disk), installed Windows 10, restored data
  • Windows XP won’t shutdown. I know, Windows XP! Retro! Also, fixed line, wired phone sometimes can’t dial out.
  • New printer installed and set up so customer can print from PC, iPad, iPod and Android phones. General PC tune-up highlighted Windows Updates were failing (now fixed), and a security checkup (Norton auto renewal).
  • Lenovo Ideapad set-up, Norton installation and activation, Gmail account creation.
  • iPad locked during update and couldn’t access iTunes server on Windows Vista, solved by using another computer and resetting the iPad and installing updates.
  • Computer infected with viruses and malware due to Norton not working – disinfected and fixed Norton, updated Windows, tested emails. Installed ad blocker on another PC. Advice on tablets and phones.

If there’s anything I can help you with please contact me on the numbers top-right of this page or by using the Contact form by clicking here.

Thanks for reading.

Recent Jobs

This topic only gets occasional updates. Not every job I do is included here, but here are some of the recent things I’ve been working on.

Windows Updates. Lots of Windows Update problems. Lots! Windows 7 takes ages to search for updates, and often fails. Windows 8 and 8.1, and Windows 10 often have problems too. There doesn’t seem to be one fix that fixes all problems. If you need your Windows Updates looked at then please let me know. I have a way of doing Updates without having to use the “Check for Updates” feature that can often resolve the issue.

I recently did remote support to help a customer set up a YouTube account, a YouTube Chanel, and upload her first video.

Phone support for a “laptop won’t turn on”.

Phone support for a browser locked by a fake virus warning.

Telephone support for another browser locked with a fake warning, and the screen was turned sideways.


Miscellaneous problems solved and advice given

Another regular client asked me to visit to sort out the following:

  • Desktop icons were stretched out – solved
  • Laptop running slowly – stopped some programs from running in the background, and advised on a RAM upgrade
  • Hotmail permanently logged in – set it to log out each time so visitors can’t get to email easily
  • Favourites missing – reinstated the favourites and the favourites bar
  • Throw out old cables – advised on what should be kept and what should be recycled following old desktop PC decommissioning.

I could have done all of this via remote support (over the internet) except for sorting out her cables.