I have a Lenovo y500 laptop bought in 2007. It came with vista basic and core 2 duo processor. For the past one year, I have had heat issues. I used the laptop for browsing and if I watch a movie or some performance intensive application, It will shutdown. Then I installed ubuntu and I could use it for sometime and can watch movies too but with little shutdowns compared to vista..

Now I tried to do something with my laptop, I removed all the OS and I am trying to install only one OS - ubuntu . But the problem is I cannot install the new Linux becos the laptop is shutting down while the setup is in progress.

I tried removing the cover and clean the fan and I am using an external cooling pad too.. I don't know whether I can change the fan?

Can someone tell me what are the possible ways I can make use of my laptop at least for basic usage like browsing, audio and video...

  • What happened when you tried cleaning the fan? Did you remove the heatsink from the CPU or not? Were you able to clean out the dust or not? – David Schwartz Aug 27 '12 at 3:08
  • I cleaned dust out of the fan inside the laptop..but i did not clean all the other parts... – user1539 Aug 27 '12 at 5:05

I had similar issues with my IBM T60 bought in 2006. In addition to what ewanm89 suggest (cleaning and changing the CPU governor) I had some luck with putting the back side on something like a book to improve air flow.

Another thing you want to check is if your temperature sensor is working correctly. Shortly after boot it should report a lower temperature. If you use the ibm acpi kernel module, the information should be somewhere in /proc/acpi/ibm/thermal. But that all depends on you getting into the system before it shuts down.


Here's some possible things for you to try

  1. Get a fan for the laptop to sit on
  2. Install a lightweight OS like Arch or Gentoo if that's not too advanced for you. Or install XP, Linux Mint, or Xubuntu if you can't figure out Arch and Gentoo.
  3. Take apart the laptop, remove the fans and blow out any dust using a can of compressed air
  4. Buy some quality thermal paste and thermal paste remover. Remove the old thermal paste using the remover and apply a new layer. Remover plus paste costs about $10

Ubuntu is the heaviest Linux in my opinion. I tried Ubuntu 2 days ago (Not my first time. I try it out about once every year, and I get tired every year. But it was actually pretty fast a few years ago in 2008) on my 10,000 RPM WD Raptor.

Windows XP boots up in about half a minute max, while Ubuntu takes more than a minute what with the purple screen with the 5 orange dots blinking... and blinking... etc... Then Unity and Gnome takes about half a minute to load up.

Both OSes were on the same drive, and XP had JDK7, JDK6, JRE6, JRE7, Eclipse, VS2008, Windows Updates, Nvidia drivers, Foxit reader, and some other programs installed while Ubuntu didn't even update 'cause the installer started hanging after I checked "Download updates during install"

  • Changing the thermal paste is a very good idea, it has lost it's effect after all these years. – user2765654 Jun 21 '16 at 10:37
  1. Open it up and clean it out.
  2. Use an external cooling fan.
  3. Change the CPU governor in the power options to be conservative or power save mode. This clocks the cpu down to save power, this also means it generates less heat. Conservative still scales it up when needed but tends to be more conservative about it than the default on demand governor.

Yes you can probably still order a new fan unit and heat sink from Lenovo and replace it, you'll want the exact order number out of the tech manual for that particular laptop model.

Finally you could leave the bottom panel open over the fan to improve airflow of course you have to be more careful of laptop use then.

  • ..Thanks. the thing is I have no OS and I cannot install one. – user1539 Aug 27 '12 at 1:01

Did you check also if any of heat sinks or cpu heat sink w/fan are sitting tight?Try to look for cracks on heat pipes.If you have chance to remove heat sink from cpu and put new layer of thermal paste then do it( thermal paste loses it's heat conducting properties over time).I had similar problem before.I completely oped up my laptop and cleaned it well.Tiny layer of dust makes a big difference.After cleaning my laptop it didn't even spin fan on most of applications.Before cleaning my laptop fan was permanently on.Installing new system my help bit, but you have to solve overheating problem first.It will behave same on any OS if heat can't disperse out.


If cleaning your fans won't help, you may try to purchase vacuum air extracting fan which will suck all the heat from your laptop as oppose to air blowing fans. They're much more efficient and Lenovo should be great for it, since it has fans at the side.

See also: External fan for over-heating laptop

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