smoking hot in a bad waySo that scorching hot laptop is frustrating you to no end and you're not sure what to do about it. Fear not. With a little luck, you may be able to remedy the problem yourself. In a best case scenario the solution may be inexpensive or even free. The important thing is to take care of the problem now before the CPU or video card has a meltdown in the future.

Listed below are troubleshooting tips that will get you out of an overheating jam.

Things You Will Need

-Can of compressed air
-Internet connection
-Laptop stand or chill pad

Step 1

Free up airflow
Internal components are packed extremely tightly in a laptop case. It gives users the advantage of highly portability, but also is prone to overheating to heating issues by design. There are probably only one or two tiny fans and a few small vents to push air out of. It is imperative that these vents are not obstructed. Be sure that a pillow, the bed or the surface of the sofa isn't suffocating your notebook.

Step 2

Mount it on a hard flat surface
Ironically laptops shouldn't be placed on the lap for long periods of time. The human body is just too hot. If you absolutely must have a computer right next to you while lying down on the bed or chilling in a La-Z-Boy, use a Laptop Laidback or LapDawg to prop it up. If you need a solution on the cheap for your bed, try a slab of countertop material. It's unwieldy and not particularly attractive but it works like a dream.

Step 3

Check your battery's health
Major brands such as Sony, Dell, Lenovo, HP, Toshiba and Apple have issued recalls due to overheating batteries. Signing up for the newsletter might usually just get you an inbox full of "spam" but in this case it might make you aware of potential battery recalls. Even if the manufacturer claims no wrong doing, it may be the battery that is at fault. Remove it and run the machine on AC power to see if it is causing the overheating issues.

Step 4

Change power settings
An idle laptop isn't safe from overheating, especially when power-saving features haven't been explored. Try setting up your computer to go into sleep mode or power down after less time has passed. This may give it the "breather" it needs so when you initiate processor intensive tasks lava won't seep out of your USB ports.

Step 5

Increase fan speed with software
Slim tools for Windows will give you complete control of fan speeds in your computer. One recommended application is called Speed Fan. It sits in your system tray and has the ability to perfectly calibrate the velocity of the fan according to the temperature of the machine. Be warned that it might not always be an improvement from the proprietary firmware already on your notebook. Regardless, it's worth trying.

Step 6

Remove dust and debris from vents
Besides blatant obstruction the biggest threat to good air flow is dust. If you don't clean it out every six months or so the fans will have a tougher time spinning and as a result, pushing out hot air. The best way to clean vents by far is with a can of compressed air. Merely point the nozzle at the spot in question and blast away. You can get a can at just about any computer shop for around five bucks.

Step 7

Consider getting a chill pad
You may have tried everything but are still left with a laptop that gets hot. It's enough to make anyone uncomfortable: gamers and power-users especially. Accessory makers Targus are well-known for making a good laptop chill pad. These multi-function stands will prop up your machine to ensure good airflow. Now you will have a smooth, cool surface to work on, and in some cases provide extra cooling via fans. USB power from your notebook is required by some models. That wraps it up. If none of these solutions work out, pick up the phone and summon the nearest tech geek. Hopefully repairs won't be necessary.

Tips & Warnings

Spray compressed air about five to six inches away from vents for best results.