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I have got HP notebook, specifically HP pavilion dv7-3190ec, for about a year or so and I am at the moment having some (serious I think) problems with overheating. Both CPU and GPU temperature is reported about 73°C when browsing the Internet and listening to the BBC Radio 1 at the same time. Nothing really hard I'd imagine. When it comes down to doing a task more resource consuming (like playing a game, or running a virtual machine) it goes up to approximately 92°C.

I'd imagine the problem is with fan being stuffed with dust, but unfortunately I cannot access it like at all 'cos of faulty screw. Tried vacuuming it out from the outside tho that did not seem to be really effective.

Do you think such a temperature is dangerous for components inside the notebook when being exposed to it for a longer period of time (like few hours @ 90°C and then virtually all day long @ 70°C)?

Do you see any other way other than violently opening the notebook of dealing with this prob?

EDIT: The notebook is located on a table. I even tried having it 'hangin up' in air with external fan cooling the air beneath. Sounds bizarre, but I suppose not bizarre enough, since it didn't work.

Thank you, Chester

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I'd advise against opening it "violently". How is the screw faulty? Can you get a pice of card underneath the thread an try to rotate it or has the head been "rounded"? (By rounded I mean that the "cross" of the screw is now effectively a circle and a screw driver does not grip) –  Mokubai Aug 24 '11 at 17:34
Yes, I imagined that opening it "violently" would be a bad idea. That is why I chose to abort my attempts every time. As for the card, no. The screw itself is located in a hole of sort, which is hardly larger in diameter than the screw itself, and it is pretty deep too, relatively speaking. –  Chester Aug 24 '11 at 17:47
So it's a matter of the proper tool to access it rather than the screw itself being broken or faulty/failed? –  music2myear Aug 24 '11 at 17:57
If the screw rotates freely but is held in the hole then there are other options, it could be that it is actually meant to be a captive screw and so is not actually removable. It is also possible that it is not actually holding your case together or what it was holding on to is no longer actually being held any more. –  Mokubai Aug 24 '11 at 18:01
It is a regular Phillips head kind of screw, but I can only suppose that it got cammed out so much somehow, that I can't get it opened now ... Normally it should be no problem to extract it by a normal screwdriver, tho sadly not in this case. The screwdriver has nothing to hold on. –  Chester Aug 24 '11 at 18:04

3 Answers 3

Vacuuming is a very bad idea, generally. Vacuums create high levels of static electricity that can seriously damage electronic devices. Also, the wind speed can be quite high, and may over-spool the fan, causing bearing and motor damage.

Canned air is better for computers because it does not have the static discharge problem. However, with laptop fans, canned air can still over spool the fan, so caution must be used.

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Yes, your temperatures are quite high and you have good reason to be concerned.

If you cannot access the fans yourself, you should probably take the system to a computer repair store. Laptop cleaning is usually relatively inexpensive and can be completed rather quickly. They may also be able to remove and replace the damaged screw.

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Did you mean "relatively inexpensive"? –  CarlF Aug 24 '11 at 17:37
Yes I did. Thanks for the catch. Edited to correct. –  music2myear Aug 24 '11 at 17:41

Aside from opening the unit, there's absolutely nothing you can do. While it's possible that there is a lot of dust build-up in the laptop, there is another possibility - your thermal paste.

Over time, the thermal paste can lose it's efficiency, especially if it dries out, or the heatsink has been separated from the CPU/GPU. This is very likely in a laptop, especially if it is moved around a lot, bent/twisted, or dropped.

Do your best to open the laptop and remove all dust blocking the fan. If the overheating issue persists, re-seat the heatsink on the CPU and GPU.

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IIRC, a number of the HP models run hot, and the heat-producing components are right under the wrist rests of the keyboard.

As for dealing with the faulty screw, a number of techniques exist for removing balky screws.

First you need to verify which type it is. Even though it may look like a Phillips at first glance it may actually turn out to be, on closer examination, a square drive or even a Torx. Simply getting the right driver (in EXACTLY the right size) may be sufficient. (Note that the cause of stripped Phillips screws is usually the use of the wrong size screwdriver.)

Otherwise either a miniature impact driver or a (similarly miniature) screw extractor would be the way to go.

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