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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 appear or the system may suddenly reset or shutdown without notice. Memory corruption may occur which can produce all sorts of weirdness. Also a blue screen may occor only because of a side-effect of a thermal issue.

Monitoring CPU temperatures

We offer a utility named WhySoSlow which allows you to measure your CPU temperature. Also your BIOS setup program may have a utility built in which allows you to measure the temperature of your processor(s).

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 your processor might be reduced to an unacceptable level and eventually crash the system. We suggest using the WhySoSlow utility for checking both your clock speed and temperature.

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 up 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 v6 ?
 · 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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