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Troubleshooting Thermal Issues

Common cause of blue screens, sudden resets, shutdowns and slowdowns

Often when a computer crashes it is because of a thermal issue. A temperature sensor of the CPU or motherboard component has detected that a thermal trip point has been reached and informs the operating system through the ACPI driver that action should be taken. Depending on hardware, operating system version, power policies and other factors, thermal issues can manifest in various ways. Windows might sleep or hibernate the system gracefully, a blue screen may occur or the system may suddenly reset or shutdown without notice. Also a blue screen may occor only because of a side-effect of a thermal issue.

Monitoring temperatures

Many BIOS setup programs offer a CPU temperature monitoring utility but we suggest using the HWMonitor utility from CPUID for measuring your temperatures of your processors and various system components.

About clock speeds and processor throttling

If your system is equipped with a CPU with a dynamic processor clock speed feature such as Intel Speedstep or AMD Cool N Quiet, the operating clock speed of the processor might be reduced to unacceptable levels and eventually crash the system. We suggest using the CPUZ Utility from CPUID for measuring your clock speed to check if this is the case.

Notebooks and other portable computers

If you are using a notebook or other portable system you should always make sure it is placed on a solid surface so that heat can dissipate. A notebook placed on a blanket or cloth is very likely to create thermal issues very soon and cause problems to your computer. Also it is very common for notebooks to collect a lot of dust in the fans so check the information below.

Check the fans

If a system is getting too hot, you should check the fans. For notebooks it is very common to collect a lot of dust in a short time which blocks the airflow so that heat may build up quickly. You might be able to just blow out the dust from the fans without opening the case.

Also a desktop system collects dust over time, if your system gets too hot you should open op the system and remove dust from the fans.
Problems caused by dust can manifest in various ways including blue screens, sudden resets, shutdowns and slowdowns.

WhoCrashed documentation and articles

 · Introduction
 · Supported Operating Systems
 · Professional Edition
 · What's new in v 5.50 ?
 · Upgrade Policy
 · FAQ
 · Using WhoCrashed
 · Troubleshooting tips and general recommendations
 · Unexpected resets and shut dows
 · Enabling Crash Dumps
 · If crash dumps are not written out
 · Thermal Issues
 · Symbol Resolution
 · Using Driver Verifier
 · Remote System Configuration
 · Crash Dump Test
 · Advanced Options

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