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Strange Fault In An Overheating Computer

By on July 9, 2015
overheating computer









We all like to repair other people’s electronic appliances. It can be enjoyable, frustrating and satisfactory. However, when it comes to our own items, they can be left in the ‘to do’ pile for quite some time (or is this just me?).

My personal computer is a Pryon brand, with an 8-core Vishera processor, 16 gig of RAM and originally with a 2 terabyte hard drive. I have managed to squeeze 9 terabyte hard drives into this hard working computer, either internally or externally. So as you can see, it gets a bit of a work out.

The issue I had was that I would be working for quite some time and then it would randomly shut down and being a part time technical writer, would find this frustrating as I would often loose unsaved work. I thought it might be an overheating/protection system, so I decided to investigate within the BIOS. As you can see in the photo below, it was getting quite warm (75°C in the photo)! This was not the highest temperature that it was reading and I realised that I should do something about it fairly soon. Overheating Computer

Or in the near future……

I was pretty busy and didn’t have time to sort out the issue right away, so I did the next best thing – ignore the issue. When this didn’t work, I took immediate action, as you can see in the photo below.

 overheating computer2

As you can expect this was not a permanent fix and the shutting down continued, even if at a slower rate. I guess I would have to do something about it! I pulled the side of the tower and discovered what the cause of the problem was. Dust! It was everywhere!

overheating computer

Upon further inspection, I realized that the foreign matter was not just dust, but hair – but from where? I didn’t have to look far for the culprit. It was from my dog! He is a fur carrying machine, waiting to damage sensitive, electronic components!

Generally he does not come into my office, but his fur seems to float through the air and find all delicate electrical items. So now that I had found the fault and the reason, I took action. After removing the fan and the CPU heat sink, I could see the lack of cooling my poor computer was experiencing.  It was only a matter of cleaning all the components with a brush and vacuum cleaner to remove all the dust and hair. After applying new thermal paste, I reassembled all the components. overheating computer5

After checking the BIOS again, I was pleased with the results (35°). That’s a drop of 40°!

overheating computer repair

I have since installed 2 programs that make it easier to both access the computer information quickly and also keep an eye on the CPU temperature.



So as they say, preventive maintenance is key to a successfully operating unit. I now regularly check the core temperature so that I am prepared for the next big clean out!

P.S. No animals were harmed in the making of this article…..








This article was prepared for you by Mark Rabone from Australia.


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  1. skwong

    July 9, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    Good work done.Intermittent shutdown can be very frustrating. Dust built up over the years in the cpu heat-sink is a very common problem causing overheating. I find it easier to clean the heat sink is by flushing it under tap with running water.

  2. Chris

    July 9, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    Thanks for sharing.
    dust is in most case the problem...
    Well done job.

  3. Anthony

    July 9, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    Good work Mark, I like your style !

    Kind Regards

  4. Albert

    July 9, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    Hi Mark, Glad that you fixed your 8-Core, Super computer from its overheating problem. 40 Degrees Celsius less is quite a temperature drop!
    In these circumstances I grab my 8 Bar Air Compressor and clean the inside in the outside. I am glad that you didn't kill the Dog in the process! (Haha).
    And thanks for the Software tips. Most Asus Mainboard pc users have the Software Tools that came with the Board for this but in case they have not it is good to know. There are also Burn-in-proof Stress Test programs that take the pc to its outer limits while testing the maximum graphical FPS capabilities and in the meanwhile keeping record of the CPU and GPU temperatures. We used those to test Laptops and PC's at night in our Service and Repair Centre. Because a computer that doesn't Calculate produces less heat. So we also had a test to open the Calculator twice in Windows and let it Calculate a difficult result so that the CPU would operate at 100% and generated maximum temperature rise. If it passed that test we could be almost be sure that the pc under test would function correctly under normal use.

    • Mark

      July 10, 2015 at 6:12 am

      Thanks Albert for the tips. What are the Burn-in-proof Stress Test programs you are referring to?
      I have cleaned out dust from computers and laptops, but had not seen this level of hair before. My dog is very placid and is not usually near the office, but his hair has a mind of it's own!

      • Albert

        July 11, 2015 at 4:02 am

        Good question Mark. Unlike You I have to work through a big pile of CDs/DVDs and BluRays with Datasheets, Software, and several USB sticks on a 4 Core E3400 Intel PC. (It has also 5 external USB connected older HDDs but I am almost certain that the information you asked for is not on them). That's why I looked but haven't found what you wanted to know at this moment. But Programs like Burn In Test (Pro), Qwikmark or Probably any program with Benchmark, Burn In, Stress, or Test in its name, could be the right Pick. I know that I saved such software but it has to be at least 4 to 5 years old already. And the double Calculator Test we only did on Pre-Windows 7 systems. I believe that we took the Faculty of a very large number number(9999 filled to max display possible in Scientific Calculator Mode). Because Windows 7 somehow prohibited that possibility if I remember it correctly.
        I hope you find a good stress test program.

        • Albert

          July 11, 2015 at 4:07 am

          Oops my Intel E3400 is just old Dual Core.

  5. Robert Calk

    July 9, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    Good job, Mark. That animal hair gets packed in there tight. I have had to do the same thing to a friends laptop.
    The animal disclaimer was a nice touch. lol!

  6. Humberto

    July 9, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    Good job Mark. Remember that the electronic appliances need at least one Preventive Maintenance in a period of one year, and the lack of this procedure can send the equipment to the dump.

    • Mark

      July 10, 2015 at 6:13 am

      Hey Humberto,

      Yes, I have put a clean out each year on my 'to do' list - if I get to it. If not, there is always the desk fan!!

  7. Merlin Marquardt

    July 9, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    Yes, dust! Good job.

  8. Yogesh Panchal

    July 10, 2015 at 12:29 am

    Congratulations! for quick fix.

  9. Andre Gopee

    July 10, 2015 at 3:08 am

    Good Job Mark, I myself fix other people stuff and neglect my own, so I know how that feels. Thanks for the article.

  10. Gregory Brettell

    July 10, 2015 at 3:10 am

    Thanks for your post! I've also seen where the part where the fan blade hub connects to the motor is cracked .. so the fan motor is turning but the fan blade is slipping; therefore, not enough RPMs to turn the fan blade to properly cool the system.

    • Mark

      July 10, 2015 at 9:19 am

      Thanks for the extra details. I will keep that in mind next time I have to clean my computer out.

  11. Albert Hoekman

    July 11, 2015 at 4:34 am

    Hello Mark. Most problems with overheating desktop computers is, as you described, dust.
    Also the wires for the hardware in the case is often a problem, they are disturbing the airflow as you can see on picture 4, the red SATA cables are to close to the CPU-fan.

    Another problem is the dust as you discovered. The cause is mostly that the computer is placed in the floor. Walking around or moving your feet nearby the computer swirls the dust from the floor into de sucking air-inlets from the computer. To avoid this, place the computer at least 30 centimeter from the floor on a carton of wooden box or so. This will reduce the dust with at least 40-60procent. After done this: no worries mate!

    Thanks for sharing the article.

  12. venkatesh

    July 12, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    Really cleaning a comuter solves many display related problems . cleaning ram contects will solve display related problems as the ram referishing operating voltages & frequency is increasing in recent years.


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