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I have a Dell Inspiron 15R with a 2.5Ghz 2450 M processor and 4 GB RAM.

When it's left idle (no programs running at all) it'll always heat up and it's cooling fan spins at full speed. Any idea why this happens? The moment I start using it, it'll cool down and the fan speed gets back to normal. I only have Firefox, Ms Office, a text editor and WinAmp Installed.

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is your screen saver disabled? does the screen go blank? –  Ben West Oct 18 '12 at 3:15
    
It says screen saver: None. The screen does not go blank. –  Norman Oct 18 '12 at 3:17
    
Do you have an antivirus or a background search indexer that you know of? –  user3463 Oct 18 '12 at 3:44
    
I have McAfee Security Center running. Background Intelligent file transfer is disabled. –  Norman Oct 18 '12 at 3:47
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I'm guessing that something like the Windows file indexer is starting up when the system is idle. –  Daniel R Hicks Sep 29 '13 at 12:33

2 Answers 2

Leave the task manager on the screen and let the system go idle. See if you can spot a process eating CPU time.

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In my particular case my Windows 7 laptop was running very hot while the screensaver was on or system was locked. I would sometimes have to unlock it just to let it cool down.

By leaving task manager running and checking after unlocking system, I was able to isolate the issue to the SetPoint.exe process, which is Logitech's SetPoint utility for their mouse and pointing devices. The process was spiking the CPU usage and causing it to stay high indefinitely. I don't know what SetPoint is trying to when the system is locked, but I am using the latest version as of this answer - v6.61.15.

Once I stopped this program, my laptop is no longer overheating after going into screensaver/lock mode.

For more info see http://forums.logitech.com/t5/Mice-and-Pointing-Devices/high-cpu-dwm-exe-due-to-setpoint-in-win-8/td-p/923142/page/9.

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