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So I had a bad experience with my laptop when cleaning out the vent. I had to remove the heatsink to clean it out, but then the computer turned off constantly. I opened it up again and I applied thermal paste to where I saw old thermal paste (on the CPU) but, now the computer stays on but it turns off more often then before I cleaned out the vent. should I apply thermal paste to the "gpu" area? It doesn't have paste (from what I can tell) It just has some kind of thermal "sticky tack" "gum" looking thing.

Note: The thermal paste I applied to the CPU was like 4+ years old. Would that be a problem?

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Did you clean off the old thermal paste and get both surfaces clean and shiny before applying new paste? And did you use a modern paste designed for CPU applications? (For example, paste designed for power transistors will not work.) Typical thermal pastes are rated for 10 years or more. They will dry out, but continue to work just fine. However, when you remove the CPU, the dry paste will 'crack' and have air gaps if you try to put it back. So never leave stale paste on. –  David Schwartz Jul 22 '12 at 23:15

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The sticky tack looking thing is probably a thermal pad. Use either a thermal paste or a thermal pad. Not both.

As for it shutting down: Does it stay up long enough for you to monitor the temperature? If it does not, does your BIOS report temperatures? If neither, clean the CPU and reseat the heat sink with a small drop of thermal paste and make sure the heat sink it properly attached.

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I would recommend removing the thermal pad, cleaning both sides completely with alcohol, and replacing with paste. However, paste won't fill a gap, so this will only work if there's pressure where the GPU mates with the heat sink. –  David Schwartz Jul 22 '12 at 23:14

In my laptop cleaning did help a bit but consider to buy a laptop cooler. Usually the cpu and the gpu shares the same heatpipe so it's better also cool the gpu fast.

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