Desperate Measure to Cool Laptop

This is not recommended!

I love my huge HP Pavilion DV7 and it has paid well a hundredth fold in completing projects and in non-productive tasks for the past four years. But as with most other laptops, overheating has become a major problem. As time passes, build up of dust and other gunk (including cigarette ash) slow the fan and block the vent.   This heating issue is the cause of breakdown for all my past laptops (mostly Compaqs which are durable despite this problem).

The symptom is obvious even if you don’t use a tool like Core Temp ; your laptop will automatically shut down or restart. Windows 7 will tell you exactly that the cause for shut down when you next restart is high temperature.

So the common solutions are to clean the vent and fans  with:

  • Canned Pressurized Air (which is hard to find here. I don’t suggest any liquid spray even contact cleaner)
  • Vacuum the vents (not so effective since the gunk is sticky)
  • Open up your laptop and manually clean (very tedious and dangerous since most fans that cool the processor and video card is in the most inner parts)

All of the above didn’t work much, so desperate and impatient as I am, I followed a crazy idea I found online to cut out a larger vent at the right spot. I know crazy, but my work schedule was at stake and I didn’t see it practical to add USB fans (which did help a lot but consumed too much space on my desk).

So I cut and cut. The plastic is very very tough so it took long and the result is obviously ugly and now it is more prone to additional dust build up (but as is the fans have become  reachable to clean with cotton buds). But all in all  temperature is now at a comfortable 55 to 60 degrees, far from the 75 to 80s where it shuts down.

Again, I do not recommend this. Notice I am using generic speedball to elevate my laptop as well for even better ventilation.