One thing that will quickly cripple even the most powerful computer is heat. During performance-intensive tasks (like gaming, photo processing, or video editing), the components in your PC generate a lot of heat. While most computers have a way to dissipate this heat, like through fans and heat-sinks, these components can degrade over time, causing your PC to overheat.
If that happens, you’re in big trouble. Parts of your PC could melt and, if there is a lot of dust inside your case, you may even be at risk for a fire. For all of these reasons, it’s very important that you know how to fix an overheating PC.

Clean it out

Over time, every PC collects dust. With fans constantly sucking air through the case of your PC, a film of dust will eventually coat everything inside your case. Fortunately, this is very easy to clean. Simply buy a can of compressed air (which can be found at most electronics shops and at stores like Wal-Mart) and take your case to a well-ventilated area (like a deck or backyard).
Unscrew the side of your case and remove it to reveal the parts inside. Spray the can everywhere that you see, and make sure that you eliminate as much dust as possible. To hit every spot, you may have to flip your PC case on its side, or upside down. Provided all your components are attached correctly, this is completely safe to do.
However, be careful not to flip the can itself upside down, as that will release a spray of moisture that could damage the parts inside, and can even cause minor burns and rashes on your skin.

Check all of your fans

One of the major causes of an overheating PC is a broken fan. When your PC is running, be sure to check if all of the fans are running. Sometimes, this may require you to run the computer while the case is off, which shouldn’t be a problem. If one of the fans is broken, you can either take it to a computer repair shop or reattach the wire to the motherboard yourself.
If the fan and its wires are still attached, then the fan itself may have simply broken down, in which case you can order a replacement fan. These are fairly easy to install, but an installation should only be attempted by somebody who has some experience in PC repair.

Run a computer maintenance program

If you don’t perform regular maintenance on your PC, then it’s probably working way harder than it has to – even with the simplest tasks. Perform a scan with a program like PC Cleaner All-In-One in order to free up your hard drive, eliminate malware, and fix all sorts of common PC problems. If you can reduce the strain on your computer, you can easily reduce the amount of heat it generates during normal operation.

Remove the heat-sink from your CPU and clean it

The CPU, or central processing unit, is one of the most important parts of your computer. It’s so important, in fact, that most PCs have a special fan that sits directly on top of your CPU in order to dissipate heat.
This step is a little more complicated, and should only be attempted by experienced PC users. Gently remove the fan or heat-sink from atop the CPU and wipe away any dust or excess thermal paste that may have collected underneath. Then, buy a tube of good thermal paste and reattach the heat-sink and the fan. Or, if the problem persists, then you may want to replace your CPU heat-sink with a more effective solution.

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