Our Dell Inspiron 1100 Notebook Computer Kept Overheating


For the past month (or so), our Dell Inspiron 1100 has been overheating. After 30 minutes to an hour of use it'd just turn off from getting too hot. A little aggravating, as you might imagine.

Yesterday I decided to take the notebook apart and clean it in hopes of remedying the problem. My guess was that the heatsink/fan was full of dust, limiting airflow and causing the overheating. I took the keyboard out and removed some little metal panel, allowing me to see the heatsink and fan. After removing the four screws holding the heatsink/fan assembly in place and the fan's power connector I could lift the heatsink/fan right out. I took the vacuum to it, but it really wasn't too dirty.

The part that surprised me--and I suspect the cause of the overheating--was that there was only a tiny dot of thermal grease sitting on the CPU, to aid in transferring the heat from the CPU to the heatsink. The dot wasn't more than about 1/4 the size of the CPU die. So I cleaned all the old thermal grease off the CPU and heatsink and put some new stuff on--and this time, enough to cover the full CPU die when the heatsink was put back into place! I reassembled everything, powered the computer up, and ran it for quite a few hours yesterday with no problem.

Sherree's successfully used the computer for a while today, too, so I suspect that solved the problem!

7/26/04 Update: Our Inspiron 1100 has been working well this past week and hasn't shutdown on us at all. New/more thermal grease solved it!

2005/04/02 Update: Photos and brief details of a relapse can be read in Our Dell Inspiron 1100 Has Overheating Problems Again.

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Hey dude, I've got the same problem with my Inspiron 1100. What kind of grease did you use and where did you buy it ?

Thermal grease can be bought at RadioShack, CompUSA or similar store. Online, at Newegg.com.

Friends are having same problem. Any tips for the disassembly of the notebook? Do you have to remove the two LCD screws to get at the screws under the LCD? The connector end will not come apart.

Thanks for the website info...very helpful!!

In the Inspiron user manual are details to replace the keyboard. Follow those directions. Then remove the right-hand side metal plate--by means of a screw near the center. Lift the plate off and you can see the heatsink with its four screws. Remove those four screws and the fan power connector and you can lift the heatsink/fan assembly right out.
I'll try to take some photos later for better info.

Applied the heat sink goo, but the laptop still powers off with high CPU activity. Maybe the little fan in there is going bad. Once I carefully read your instructions, then it was clear how to do it.


Used some compressed air and that did the trick, Inspiron 1100 working great! I also downloaded the fan monitor and noticed the RPMs have decreased.

I am hoping to upgrade my CPU on my Inspiron 1100 notebook. Anyone here know of a place to buy a chip for it? I do not want to deal with Dell directly because they inflate prices so much.

4 months later, heatsink area is clogged with dustballs again! I just went ahead and added new thermal paste and blew out all the dust... once again the laptop is 100%.

I recommend to everyone to check your laptop every month or so to make sure the fan is blowing 100%. Dust seems to be attracted to the fan!

I was having the same problem with my Inspiron. A new firmware version was available from dell, and after installing, I have had no overheating issues whatsoever and I have yet to hear the fan run. This is definitely something that anyone with an Inspiron should look into....

First I must say thanks for this web site. Although I have had my Inspiron 1100 apart and have gone so far as to replace the CPU and Motherboard, I would not have had the guts to try fixing my overheating problem. Thanks to this site I was able to dive right in.

After reading most of the posts I decided to install the fan control program. Since it is designed for two-fan units I had to disable the second fan options. This was easy. Thsn I did some testing. Nothing fancy - just some temperature readings at vrious fan speeds and CPU loads. Without siting all the results my CPU

Fist - Thank you for this site and those of you who shared thier incites and experiences on overheating.
Second - To be brief. Clean the heat sink and fan and replace the thermal grease. But here is the important part of the procedure. After removing the heat sink-fan assembly remove the fan from the heat sink. Look into the fan cavity toward the cooling fins. If you do not see the copper fins there is a layer of accumulated lint/dust. It looks like a "felt pad". Remove this material by gently blowing into the output end of the copper cooling fins. The "felt pad" should lift away from the fins and be removable with common tweezers. Clean the fan blades gently with small cotton swabs. Replace the thermal greese and put the machine back together. I used the Radio Shack Silicon grease. The results: My Inspiron 1100 went from a CPU temperature of 161 deg F at 100% CPU load at high fan speed with cooling pad turned on to about 131 deg F without the cooling pad. The rate at which the temperature drops when the fan turns on is now so fast that the full temperature drop occures in about a tenth of the time that it took before.
While new thermal grease is a good idea and may help reduce CPU temperature as most have already reported, I am convinced that the buildup of dust/lint in the heat sink fan cavity is the major culprit.
You must remove the fan from the heat sink and get that layer of "felt pad" looking junk off the cooling fins.
I hope this works as well for your readers as it did for me.
Wishing you well.
Stan Kaszupski

First off, I am very glad to find this site...it is great. When the HSF comes out are you guys pulling the cpu out with it or leaving it in the socket?

Hi,i think your website is great.
i have a dell inspiron 5100 that i think is having the same over heating problem because it shuts off by itself all the time, but what i wanted to know was could this overheating problem also affect my internet. what i mean is (im not very computer savvy) every time i try to open it a website it will open but then it just freezes, not the whole notebook just the webpage. in addition, when im on aol all i can do is chat and try to open websites. sometimes websites open and i can use it with no problems. is this another problem, because when i called dell they said i might have to replace the hard drive and i am not on warranty anymore.

Janet- New Jersey

I was having the same problem with my dell inspiron 5100, until I found this website! I didn't have any thermal grease lying around (first time I heard of it lol), so I took Stan Kaszupski's advice in the post above about taking out the fan and cleaning the dust off the copper.

The dust was so thick it looked like a part of the metal. But I took the dust off, then cleaned every nook and cranny of the fan with a q-tip dipped in alcohol. The result? It's like I've got a new computer! Before, my fan would run on full blast and the CPU temp was 70 degrees celcius at idle, which is extremely high. Now, the CPU temp doesn't get above 50 degrees celcius, even under a big load. Once it reaches 50, the fan turns on and cools it down to 40 in about 30 seconds.

I think this is going to have to be a routine maintaince thing, so i'm going to clean out the dust in the fan once every 3 months.

I am having this prob too. And I followed the steps,but my system still gets very hot after an hour or two then shuts off! Also the green battery light flickers all the time. I don't know what to do.

I see that a few people have mentioned that they were able to monitor the CPU temperature of their Inspiron 5100. I am looking for a utility to do just that, but haven't found one, yet. Can someone give me a hint?

In urgent need of help. My fiance has a dell inspiron 1100 that was oerheating. I openned it up and cleaned the fan and put the comp back together. Now when I go to turn it on, nothing happens, well the fan spins and the hard-drie light breifly turns on but that's it. Really need tips quick... is it the motherboard?

I am thankful to Dan , Sherree and all others for sharing the valuable information. You all helped to bring back a sinking.. almost dead laptop to a brand new one in 3 hrs and less than FIVE dollars.. I am so glad I found this..I had to spend little more time as I had bent a CPU pin. .my suggestion is read the entire reviews posted here..have patience and do it carefully..even a non pro can do it..but please consider the risk..I was so nervous when one of my cpu pin was bent...but now I just can't stop smiling.. great stuff... all FIVE STARS

Great site. Great post. I would with servers; not laptops. When my Dell Inspiron 5100 started overheating, the cpu maxed out at 100%, and eventually the system would shutdown. The video on my DVD became choppy as a result of the overheating CPU. All is well now. I cleaned everything up and greased her down. Runs like a dream. That GNU thermal software is a dream. Dell needs to hire you guys on their team. Thanks again.

This site rocks like a huge dog!
I have a Inspiron 5150 and replaced the original heatsink/fan assembly with a heatsink assy out of the I5160. It has a bigger fan and heat pipes. I also applied Artic Silver thermal compound. It's like turbocharging the cooling system. Dude, it's like getting a new Dell!

I love you! Thank you very much!

Thank you so much! I got given an Inspiron 1100 because it would just turn off at some indeterminate time (on cold boot it lasted about an hour...on warm boot only 5 minutes).

Went through your instructions, aired out the coils, thermal greased the heat sink (P4 processor), and threw it back together. It took about 1 hour. Afterwards the difference was IMMENSE! It was hot to the touch before; now it does not even feel warm. It has been up for 3 hours so far with no problems.

Thank you again!

If you see a black screen after cleaning and reassembling your laptop (as in Phil Smith post above), open it again and look at the CPU base: if you see the screw positioned on "Locked", then the processor is not making contact with the motherboard. Remove the heatsink/cpu assembly, unlock the base (you'll see the pin holes opening up), and replace back the heatsink/cpu--always carefully to avoid bending pins. Good luck.

Thanks, after the Dell service here replaced the hard drive I did get a temp program and noticed the machine was runnind at 75 C, pretty hot. After I got the dust rug out it is not running at 48 -50 C.
The processor came out with the fan. It seemed to be glued on. Also, there is a screw that locks the processer in the socket. I had to unlock this to get the fan out. Also, I did bend one pin.

Thanks, it works now

I am pretty handy with a screwdriver. Our Inspiron 1100 recently started making a noise like a runaway fan. I haven't opened the machine before - but it sounds like something I could handle. I found some fans on ebay and they were not too expensive. I would like to see some pictures or get a more detailed explanation on the fan removal. Thanks in advance. John

Hi everyone
Just want to add a comment here. Just had a strange problem recently with my DELL C840
I was losing everything with an error telling me I was running a 70 watts AC adapter and power was too low for laptop press any key to go on battery mode which I was doing but never did go in battery mode. I had to shut it off and reboot. Very frustrating because you could loose everything running. Also have to say that error was wrong because I have a 90 watts adapter working OK.
After several test , I found that if the battery was out it would happen more often. Than after more investigation I found I could cause it to die on me by moving my Adapter plug a bit.
Now by than I was really curious and opened my machine and searched for some loose connection. Finally found a loose welding at one of the AC plug connector. Got brave with prayer and did a major operation on the poor machine. Had to take it all apart to have access to mother board. Reweld the loose contact and reassamble the patient. The Lord blessed again and everything work fine and battery charging normal. Something for you to investigate on some of your problems. God bless.

My Hard Drive went bad on my Inpiron 1100 so, I opened the Base up and replaced it. I also cleaned out the dust from the fan and put it back. I reattached all connections to the PC and now my Screen comes up as black. What would the problem be, and how could I fix it. Where do I get the thermal grease for the CPU ?

Hello I have a 5100 I have had for some 3 years. It just recently started shutting down by itself. I downloaded Speed Fan. Can someone let me know if I have interpreted these 2 temperatures correctly. It does not give me any voltage or fan speeds just these 2 temps.

Temp1 which says ACPI by it, I assume this is the CPU temp.

HD0 which I assume is the Hard Drive temp.

I notice that my HD temp runs in the mid to upper 40s while my CPU, if that is it, only runs around 29 C. I thought the CPU would run hotter than the HD thus I am wondering if I am interpreting the 2 temps correctly.


Well I just got off the phone with Dell support. They had me run the fan test and by the time I was threw my CPU temp was 73C and HD was still around 48C. So a box is on the way and it is going back. My 3 year warranty ends 22Jan07 so I was taking no chances while I still had 5 weeks of warranty left.

To Dylan Andrew for the above tip on the CPU "Lock" screw - thank you,thank you,thank you!

Hi all. This site is great, btw. I inherited what I think is a dead Inspirion 1100. However, I figured I'd do some Googling to see if there was anything that could be done. The person I got it from says that one day it just would not power on. That was several months ago. I get no sign of life at all when trying to power it on... no noise, no lights, nothing. Is there any way to find out if it's totally dead or do you guys think it can be resuscitated? Any help will be appreciated.

I also am working on a 1100 that is completely dead. I have cleaned out the fan and cooling fins, removed the CPU and checked for bent pins (none). The battery is ok and the AC adapter is ok. When plugged into AC have the green power LED and a green HD LED lit but won't boot up or anything. Trying to fix for a young college student.

From reading this post I am thinnking that originally she had the over temp problem but I'm thinking that after overheating so many times a fuseable link or thermal fuse has opened but I can not find it.


Jeff Lovell

Email me directly is you have any suggestions;

Hi Dan and Sherree,

Great website!
I have a similar problem. I read your detailed explanation and all the comments, but for some reason I cant find the pics you mentioned. Could you please help???


Wow, what a great web site. I've had problems with my 1100 for a long time. I replaced the heat sink once underwarrty but still had the issues come back.

I just cleaned the heat sink fins, fan, and replaced the grease on the CPU. Hopefully that will help. I've read about updating the BIOS and a fan monitor program but have not been able to find a link to where I can download them? If any one can help with that it would be much appreciated?


My Inspiron was shutting down after a couple of hours so i tried following the advice on this website; although, if truth be told, I did not remove the battery from the unit until I had already begun to dismantle it.
When I tried to restart I get the error:

No bootable devices -- strike F1 to retry....etc




I had problems with my battery. Would make the system shut off for no reason. Googled it, and found
simplemicro.com. Got an original Dell
Inspiron 1100 battery
for $99. The new battery solved the problem.

on my inspiron 1100, the light on the screen stays on for about ten seconds, then cuts off. recently its been staying on shorter and shorter. have any suggestions?

I've got an Inspiron 5100- I've had it for about 4 years now. Over the last few months, it kept overheating and shutting off. I stumbled upon this website, and I was very pleased to read that I might have a chance at fixing the problem. I took everything apart as described above, cleaned out the fan and added thermal grease to the CPU. I've gone back in and made sure the CPU is "unlocked," however, my screen is still blank. When I try to power it on, the power lights come on and I can tell the computer is running from the noise it makes, but all I see is a black screen.
PLEASE :( Can anyone help me?

Thanks so much- Betsy

I have a Dell Inspiron 5100 with me, it is 4+ years old. From the past year or so, it started getting overheated if it is turned on continuously for more than a few hours. With time, "few hours" became 2 hours, and finally an hour. I started attributing the whole thing to OS level problems. I even started researching for new laptops and stuff. Finally I came across this website! Boy, it worked like a miracle! And I haven't even done the thermal grease thing. All I did was remove the dust (it was like this lint strip from the clothes dryer!) and clean a bit. Looks like the problem has gone away. Thanks a ton!!

Sounds to me (those that are having video problems) is that you have either broken or forgoten to replug the flex video cable. If the computer comes on and all, that sounds like the problem. Being a Computer Repair Tech I have done this a few times before. Reopen the laptop and check the cable that comes from the LCD screen. Hope that helps.

There seems to be a class action lawsuit against dell pertaining to overheating and several other issues.Hope this is useful to anyone having problems with their systems.Good luck.


Hi everyone.
I was wondering if anyone would be able to help me; I have a Inpiron 8600 1.7Gig processor 640 megs of ram (2 Dims) 80 gig hard drive, XP pro. The second fan has stopped working and I would like to find a replacement and hopefully install it myself. Would anyone be able to explain how to go about removing this fan and I'm wondering if it is attached to my NVidia GForce 5200Go. If you're using the notebook, the vent for the fan would be above your right hand. the fan on the left works but it is not enough to keep the temp. down. Any help what-so-ever would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
PS: Great site! Keep up the good work guys and gals!

i bought the dell 1100 used, i just found this page and im having same problem, where can i find the downloads for checking the temperature?

I have to use compressed air the blow the fan out on my inspiron 1000 every couple of months. Doesnt look like much in there but sure does have a huge cloud blow out of it every time. After that my unexpected shutdowns and leg burning temps dissappear. :)

is there a way to blow the dust out of the fan for the inspiron 1100 without having to take the thing apart?

Minimizing the illumination level of the integrated LCD can significantly reduce the heat generated by the charger/battery combination.

In the past my Inspiron has had over heating issues.
However, now the screen fades to black when I'm using the power cord. It doesn't happen using battery mode.

Thanks to those responsible for this site and all of the great posts. I thought I was going to have to shop for a new lap when mine started to power off intermitently. A little thermal grease and cleaning has done wonders for this machine. 6 years old and as good as new.

My DELL inspiron 1000 was overheating to the point where everyting was failing (hard disk, cpu crashing, tsc clock etc..). I took it apart and put thermal grease on the cpu and graphics chip and cleaned out an unbelievable amount of dust where the fan couples the heat sink and the difference was like night and day as it works perfect now. I hope I did not damage anything waiting so long to clean it. The problem appear to be that these are some of the first generation of laptops that have modern cooling systems with huge copper heat sinks etc... In the old days a laptop did not even have a fan and even if it had one it worked without it mostly. So once the cooling system fails the computer will hardly run for a few minutes. They really should consider putting some kind of a cleanable or replaceable filter so that you don't have to take it appart everytime. I consider it an easy-medium level difficulty repair as far as laptops go however it is not mindless to do and I have read reports of people screwing up their laptop. You will know your cooling is working OK if you can play a long wmv with good animation on media player, repeat for an hour or so, the fan should hardly come on at all.

I had the same problem... My dell inspiron turned off, I had to keep it elevated all the time and hated it.
Fixed it today: you just hoover the fan. Works like a charm.

This site saved my F.U.B.A.R Dell 1100, I used a shop vac to suck it out, now it runs like NEW !!!!!!!!!!!!

had two dell inspiron 1100's that was overheating but cleaning was not the answer. They had shutdown so many times that the os was having problem. I tried virus scan, but it would shut down before the scan completed, same thing when I used chkdsk. I noticed the battery was getting hot too so I removed the battery and tried windows repair. went off without a hitch. and when it was done it did not over heat anymore. not sure why os problem would cause over heating I'm just glad to get them working again. :>) hope this helps someone else.

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