Cracked open my 4 year old lap top today to see if I could fix an overheating problem.

That’s a nervewracking time – wondering how delicate it all is in there. (I’ve done stuff in towers before, but that was easy things, drives, and they are designed to be like Lego, and easier to get into).

Its been shutting down suddenly – bit of reading made me start looking at CPU temp.

Downloaded a temperature reader – spent 30 minutes tracking down all the adware bundled into into it by the hosting site – and found it was running hot – especially during ‘Idle Evolution’ (aside – if you are a chemist this is a fun little idle game).

Hoovered the fan inlets, and turned the processors down a bit to about 70% capacity. This helped – but still not good.

Spoke to a guy in the local Maplins – turned out he did this often (I think as a side line, and too help mates). He said I’d probably need to open it up to get at the fan proper, and I’d need some thermal paste when putting it back. He didn’t try and sell me loads of stuff – just a small tube of paste for about £4 GBP, and told me what to look for on YouTube.
Crack 1 – You have to pry the keyboard off, then take out a couple of ribbon connectors to allow you to pry open the case. Couldn’t get the keyboard ribbon out, so I was constrained by the case just being loose. Also couldnt move the connector (not sure if power or signal) to the fan. Hoovered what I could reach.

A bit better – but was still getting to 80-82c – TjMax of 90.

Crack 2. Got the keyboard ribbon off, and after some effort the fan wire. Gave the fan a good strong hoover now it was away from the pcbs, and from all angles (phnaar phnaar). Taking the fan out means taking the heatsink out – this is a lump of metal connected via copper rod to the fan that sits on top of the cpu. It’s job is to absorb the heat the chips generate, and the copper rod transfers it to the fan.

The old paste was like old chewing gum. Scrapped it off, cleaned the surfaces (didn’t have recommended 99% alcohol so used q-tip and vodka CAREFULLY). The pad for the GPU still soft and squishy, so that’s good (especially as you can’t use the same paste!) New paste on the chips, and screw the heat sink back over it.

Reassembled, but keyboard ribbon loose. Started fine but keyboard didn’t work – tricky for my password!

Off with the keyboard again. FINALLY worked out how to do the ribbon – realising now I may have been too rough before, so may have dodged a bullet!

Started and worked – but sluggish at first, jumpy, possibly because I started running stuff, including the temperature prog too soon, and it was still loading stuff in Windows. Then realised two screws not put back in – turned it off, off with the keyboard CAREFULLY not pulling at the ribbon in case it popped out – put the screws in. Took the opportunity to put the screws in the bottom of the case back at the same time.

Booted and left it once logged on to give the loading a chance.

Oh Huzzah! As I type this core are at 37-45’c, the Idle game has caused no more than 71’C, and that’s with both processors at full. Think I’ve kept a couple of other things at the power saver level – ie as if on battery, but that stops them responding quite so quickly/sleep more readily, not a turn down like the CPUs had.

Very relieved- lots of panicking as I did all of that- was I damaging something, was that ribbon connector ok, have I pushed that small ribbon connector back right? Only damage is cosmetic – marks around the edge of the keyboard, and the inlay between the keys was prised off by mistake at first so won’t sit back all the way down, so I’ve left it off (some of the press studs broke off)