Over-heated shutdown

If your computer is shutting itself down often, and possibly telling you it did it to protect the computer, it is quite possible the problem is caused by the thermal paste between your computer’s processor and the heat synch (dissipater) on top of it.

If your computer is a desktop type, the following could be the solution to your problem, particularly if it is in excess of 5 years old.  If it is a notebook computer, you will likely need the services of a competent technician to do this task.

My suspicion is that the thermal paste between the CPU and the heat synch was not applied correctly or has dried out.  CPUs produce a huge amount of heat.  That is why that heat synch is there with the fan on top.  I can tell you how to fix this.  It is not actually very difficult.  First, open the cover and check to see the fan on the case and the one over the CPU are working.

  1. Buy a small tube of thermal paste at the computer store.  Should  not be more than about $10
  2. While you are at the computer store, buy yourself a can of compressed air.
  3. Unplug the power cord.  Hold the on button in for at least 7 seconds. Remove the cover of the PC
  4. Use that can of compressed air to blow out all the dust bunnies that have accumulated.  Pay particular attention to the heat synch fins over top of the CPU.  Also the case fans.  Remove the front panel and blow the dust out of there too.
  5. Using a long Phillips screw driver slowly loosen the 4 screws on the corners holding down the heat synch to the main board.  They are spring loaded.  Loosen the screws a few turns at a time on each corner and keep rotating till you remove them or at least you can tell they are loose.
  6. Remove the small plug from the fan to the main board — note where and how it fits
  7. Pick up the heat synch/fan assembly.  Examine the surfaces between the bottom of the synch and the top of the CPU.
  8. Using rubbing alcohol very, very sparingly and a small soft cloth patiently remove the paste that is on both surfaces.  Make sure the surfaces are now clean and dry.
  9. Place small dots of the paste on the 4 corners (not at the edge) of the underside of the heat synch.
  10. Press the heat synch in place (do not attach yet), pull it back off.  You should see an even coating of paste on both surfaces.  NO paste over flow.  If you see blank spots, apply more paste there.
  11. Test again
  12. Re-attach the heat synch and plug.

Power up, boot up.