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I've been trying for several months now to install Windows XP on a laptop that over heats. I've tried things like putting a fan under it and putting it in a freezer but it only got ~5 min farther. I've installed it before. Like a month after I got the computer. Anyways. If you guys know of a faster way to install XP or a way to prevent over heating that would be wonderful. The computer is an Acer Extensa 5420-5687 upgraded 4GB ram.


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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Grab a can of compressed air and blow it in the fan vent (I suggest you go outside since it will likely be pretty clogged) to clear some of the gunk.


MarkM suggests blowing might cause dust obstruction. If you decide to open the laptop anyway, I wouldn't blow air and just clean the fan when it's out. However, I've never had issues with blowing air in the fans of numerous laptop and desktop system. Use common sense and follow the instructions on the can, which generally suggest you keep some distance from the target (that is, don't stick the spray can nozzle in the fan)

From an exact experience (with two different laptop models) it's also likely that the thermal paste at the CPU has thinned out. You should re-apply it (more isn't better, so follow instructions) and give it another shot.

I'd do both, and you should be in the clear if it's indeed an over-heating issue. But the compressed air might be enough, so if you're not comfortable re-applying paste, try installing after you clean up the fan.

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I wouldn't blow into the vent as others have suggested, that can cause clumps of dust to obstruct the fan blades. The proper way to clear a blocked vent, if this really is your problem, is to take the heatsink out that the dust is stuck in. Depending on your model of laptop, this could be removing 4 screws and taking a panel out, or it could mean disassembling half of the laptop.

It seems this is a fairly common problem with this model.

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Thanks for the clarification on air-blowing the vent. I've never had issues doing this, but I assumed, in my response, that the OP would keep some distance from the actual vent, as per the instructions on spray cans meant for computer use. – roguesys Jul 10 '10 at 19:17
@alexandru - Regardless of distance from the vent, if you are blowing the air from the outside of the vent into the laptop to dislodge the dust there is a chance it will obstruct a fan blade in the fan that is directly behind the metal heatsink that you are blowing at. Some notebooks are more prone to this, but at a previous job, I dealt with dozens of notebooks a week with similar problems from all makes and models. It is a real concern. – MDMarra Jul 10 '10 at 19:20
  1. take off back panel
  2. take off 5 screws holding on heatsink / copper heat removal bar
  3. take off 2 screws holding on fan
  4. clean dust out of heatsink / fan / carefully shopvac visible dust off mobo
  5. carefully scrape bad thermal paste off top of cpu and chipset w/ thumbnail / cloth
  6. carefully apply new thermal paste to cpu / chipset to completely cover the top
  7. carefully reattach heatsink
  8. reattach back panel
  9. enjoy new reliability of laptop (if chip is not burned up or there are not other problems)
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Does the fan run at all? If the fan works but doesn't run at the right time i.e. when the laptop gets hot, it could be a bios issue, is there an update?

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The fan is always running. No updates that I could find. – clone1018 Jul 10 '10 at 18:55
Also might I add. This is the only time the laptop overheats. – clone1018 Jul 10 '10 at 18:57
Does the bios offer an option to run the processor at lower speed, perhaps under power management? You could run it slower just for the installation. – Chris Jul 10 '10 at 19:05

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