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I've noticed this is a more common problem nowadays and IMO in many cases its down to the fact that as the types of media on the net changes, the more CPU intensive it becomes to browse/watch vids/listen to music/play games etc. I've done a moderate amount of research into this after experiencing problems myself and have come up with a few solutions that have been helpful (to me anyway) I realise that not everyone is computer savvy and that some of my advice may be beyond some peoples level but I'll try to at least provide a point of reference whereby you can seek help if required.
Following is a recommendation for a course of action if you realise you have heat problems or, more specifically, if you find your CPU useage is too high and therefore makes applications unstable. I posted it previously on a gaming site and it proved quite helpful for some so hopefully it has the same effect here. Its broken down into two parts, Hardware and Software. Sorry if its too wordy but I hope it can help someone.
From what I have been able to ascertain there should be a method to follow to pinpoint your actual problem. I can only tell you what worked for me.These steps will not harm your system and in many cases will improve your performance unless your system is unrepairable:
Find a monitoring program that will read your motherboard, cpu, fans and bios settings. This will alert you to any changes in your machine and will give a good indication of progress. Basically it will show you if youre going in the right direction. There are many excellent freeware programs for this purpose (Everest being the one I chose) http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/System-Info/Everest-Home-Edition.shtml
. When you have found one that suits your needs, monitor it closely each step of the way after carrying out the following procedures. The most important readings to observe are CPU heat, Fan speed, Memory useage and running processes.
Update your software. This includes running a full check on your OS software and ensure it is up to date. Other things to consider is to ensure you are using the latest flash player, clearing your browser of all temp files, clearing your browsers cache and checking for any add ons or plug ins that could be causing problems (disable them one by one to see if they make a difference)
Check the running processes on your machine. I would not rely on the standard way to do this. Instead I would look for a free third party software which will list ALL processes as normal OS normally dont have this function. Check on the processes to determine which if any are using a large amount of memory/cpu capability. If you are having problems and are able to determine which program or process is hogging your system then you may well be on your way to finding a solution. I would also check each process that is running by pasting its 'name' in a search engine and checking if it is legitimate. Many viruses or malware content cause processes to run on your machine and you should be stopped and removed, which leads me to the next step. UPDATE and run your antivirus program, UPDATE and run an anti-malware/spyware program. Check that your drivers are up to date. Again, there are third party programs that can carry this task out automatically.
Flash is a very cpu intensive platform, it may not seem so on high end new machines but on older set ups it can become extremely invasive. Often many problems can be addressed by correctly installing the latest version. This involves completely removing any old installations from your system and reinstalling the latest one. There is a tool specifically for carrying out this procedure and can be found by a quick search on your search engine of choice. I have seen many replies in these forums stating that 'flash is not the problem' when what they really mean is it shouldnt be the problem if your software is configured properly and you do not have hardware issues that may exacerbate the situation further. This illustrates the need to understand the potential complexity of the problem before offering any advice for a remedy. The fact remains that (and I have noticed recently that the problem has become more prevalent) in order to run flash expediantly and without hassle, a LOT of your computers resources are used.
The second part concerns hardware issues that may cause your cpu to become strained. I should stress that if any software issues are not resolved you may mis-diagnose hardware problems and as a result make wrong decisions or needless changes. As such you should follow the first post as far as is possible before progressing to investigating your hardware.
If you feel uncomfortable about opening your rig and have little experience in doing so I would recommend that you seek assistance for the next steps:
Clean your machine. Dust can gather very quickly inside your machine, even with newer models. When this happens it can clog vents/fans and heatsinks which can cause a build up of heat inside. My own particular problem was that I had neglected to clean the fan/ heatsink assembly on my cpu. With the high demand of flash working the cpu, the chip would become progressively hotter, sometimes to the point of shutting the system down. This would cause a loop effect whereby the heat would cause the cpu to work even harder to cope with the demands of flash which subsequently heated the cpu even more and so on. If you are confident that you can remove ,clean and replace any components as required then do so. If you are dubious about the process find someone who has done it before. Also regarding heat in your machine, make sure the airflow is unrestricted inside the case. Are there cables blocking airflow? Would you benefit from an extra fan? A good way to judge this is to run your machine with the top cover off and monitor the heat via the software I've already recommended.
Is all of your hardware correctly seated? If for example, a fan has been accidentally unplugged or your graphics card has become slightly dislodged this can cause many problems and can have damaging knock on effects to other hardware within your machine. My advice would be to remove, check the connecting parts and then replace each of your components one by one.
Can you afford to upgrade? This would be my absolute last resort. It always amuses me that retailers are rubbing their hands with glee when they realise just how many people have not followed all the preceding steps first. If you go ahead and buy a high end graphics card to fix a problem then a lot of the times you will have thrown good money after bad. If, after completing the previous tasks there is still no change in your problem there is a chance that your cpu has become damaged by overuse. Try running your computer without any cpu intensive tasks for a few hours ie. no video, flash progs or music. If you still experience problems there is a chance the chip itself is damaged. You can check this by swapping the cpu with a known working one...not the most practical solution but its an option.
Im sure there are many other things I havent included in my posts that may remedy specific problems. Just remember this is merely an attempt to give a bigger picture of what can go wrong and suggest some solutions. Good luck!