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Solutions: Check air vents to keep computer from overheating

My HP notebook with Windows 7 is 3 years old and runs fine. My concern is that when I watch TV shows or movies, I can feel the computer getting hot. Is this normal?

Let's start by saying that the worst thing you can do to a laptop, aside from throwing it into a tub of water, is to rest it on a bed, a blanket or a soft cushion. This cuts off much of the air intake and will lead to the components inside starting to over-heat. Most modern laptop vents are on the side, but even those can easily get covered when resting on a soft surface. You'll notice the heat, the high fan activity noise and then the gradual slowing of the CPU. Left for too long in this condition, it will shut down to prevent further damage. By that time, it can be too late. It is literally cooked. Check to see where you laptops air vents are located, and make sure they are getting plenty of air circulation when you're in your TV watching position.

My Gateway laptop gives me this response when I try to connect to the Internet: "Proxy server isn't responding." I follow the instructions to "fix the connection," and it finally will log on after three or four tries. Nothing I can find on the Internet solves my problem.

Go to Control Panel, Network and Internet, Internet Options. Click on the Connections tab, then the Lan settings button. Make sure that the "Use a proxy sever for your LAN" option is unchecked. If it is checked, it could be the result of a virus running your connection through a proxy, since this is not a setting you would normally have set unless you knew the reason. Uncheck it and then click OK. I would then recommend using Windows Defender Offline. It will help you create a boot CD allowing you to boot into Windows without activating any resident virus and perform a full scan of your hard drive. You can find it at Once this is completed, you'll need to download and reinstall any antivirus program you had been using, since the resident version may have been compromised.

Send questions to or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.

Solutions: Check air vents to keep computer from overheating 03/28/14 [Last modified: Friday, March 28, 2014 7:34pm]
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