How to Test a Computer for Overheating

by Gwendolen Akard

Computers can overheat for a variety of reasons, but it happens frequently when you are running too many programs or when the central processing unit becomes overloaded. Gaming, which taxes the computer, is often a cause of overheating. When a computer seriously overheats, it will shut itself down to avoid damage to the system, though such damage to important components may occur anyway. If you think your computer is overheating, it is important to test and monitor it so the problem doesn't get worse.

Check for an excessive amount of heat coming from your computer or laptop, near the processor. Your computer normally gets warm during use, but it should never feel hot. If it is hot, something is wrong.

Listen for fan noises. The fans should not be running constantly or running at high speeds. When they are loud and/or coming on constantly, your computer may be overheating.

Pay attention to any error messages you see. If you are frequently getting the "blue screen of death" or the computer shuts itself down, you are probably overheating.

Download a program like SpeedFan, Fresh Diagnose or Real Temp (see Resources). Choose to scan the system. SpeedFan and Fresh Diagnose will give you a readout of both temperatures and fan speeds, while Real Temp will only give you temperature information. If your CPU temperature is above 150 degrees Fahrenheit (65.5 degrees Celsius), it is the source of the problem.

Check other parts of the computer. Remove the back if you can and touch the video card, which could overheat if you are using it constantly. Also check the power supply for extra heat or burning.

About the Author

Gwendolen Akard started writing professionally in 2004 for her high-school newspaper and hasn't stopped since. She began writing for various websites in 2008, focusing on fitness and music. Akard is pursuing bachelor's degrees in philosophy and music at Tufts University.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera cpu image by Aussiebloke from