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A friend came to me today asking for some computer help. I agreed to make an attempt to fix it. I haven't seen the system so I don't have any experience with what the problem is, but she gave me some scarce details so I thought I'd throw them out here and start getting ideas about what to look at.


From what she tells me, during startup she sees an error that says something is overheating. She didn't say where she sees it, but I'm guessing in the BIOS startup. She also says the computer completely locks up on logon and she can't do anything at all. That's all I know until I get a chance to actually tinker with it to see what's up.


I know it's not much for now, but any thoughts? If it's an overheating issue, would the system just click off instead of lock up? (Although I don't know what exactly is overheating.)


It's minimal info, but when I know more I'll post. I just want to get some ideas on where to start beyond just checking the physical system for signs of overheating.

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V.T. Eric Layton

Two things I check right off when I hear complaints like this...

  • open the case and clean out ALL the dust and animal fur stuck in the cooling fins of the heatsinks and on the blades of the case, processor, and other fans.
  • check that processor heatsink and fan are securely mounted.
  • power up and observe that all fans, including power supply fans, are running.

That would be a good start for you.

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Thank, when I get the chance I'll definitely be sure to do a cleaning and a check. I have some thermal paste in case a heat sync needs to be touched up. In the case I don't find any hardware overheating issues, what might I want to check next?


(Again, I know very little right now, not even what OS she runs. I will hopefully know within the next day or two a bit more.)

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Guest LilBambi

NOTE: Your friend may have also allowed it to overheat too many times and cooked something as well. Would not be welcome news but be aware that could be the case.


A client did this and lost their CPU over it. Computer was in a hazardous area with massive dust inside that choked up the CPU fan, which was still working believe it or not, but was doing a very poor job and heat built up in there and cooked the CPU. Even after cleaning out the dust, the damage had already been done. The computer continued to overheat in intense times on the computer like scans, gaming, etc. and shut down until they replaced it.

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