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I noticed that if I raise the laptop off the surface of the table a bit (and hence cool it more aggressively), the problem I have becomes non existent or very rare: a temporary freeze of input (cannot click on programs and the 'busy' cursor appears) which also manifests itself with a freeze of videos and games. It goes back to normal after the 4-5 seconds it occurs. There is high disk activity at the time (or at least the disk led is on).

I had ruled out sleeping of disk since I had disabled power management on it and it is 1 disk that is the system disk anyway. Of course, I couldn't know if there is a bug with the hardware or firmware.

And now that aggressive cooling appears to solve it or alleviate it it points to overheating anyway.

It can not be by chance since I notice the more stable behavior for days now.

Is there a way for overheating to make the disk 'spin down' for a while? Or what else could it be. I'd find it hard to be merely the CPU heating since those don't usually freeze systems, unless I guess it brings up a switch and conflicts with something. Something switching on the motherboard perhaps. Any ideas?

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More than likely it is an overheated processor or graphics chip, since these run the hottest in any PC.

I suggest you clean out your vents and heatsink of dust bunnies. May require partial disassembly of the notebook it accumulation is severe.

In some cases the rubber feet on the bottom of the notebook are missing and no longer elevate the notebook and cause the vents to be partially blocked. These can be replaced with similar rubber feet found at most hardware stores, they may have to be modified slightly and glued in place.

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Those dust bunnies often create an almost felt-like material, which makes a very good insulator. I regularly go dust bunny hunting. It's amazing how much quieter your laptop gets once you get rid of them - the fan has to work a fraction as hard to achieve the same amount of cooling. –  Majenko Jun 4 '11 at 17:16

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