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Fixing an overheating Inspiron 1300 laptop

We love the Dell Inspiron 1300 laptops here in our office - we have 3 of them.

Until recently they were Dell's lowest end laptop, and as I always preach - buy the cheapest laptop you can. They only last a year or two at most, and even the lowest end machines these days are more than powerful enough for what most people need.

Lately the oldest of our 3 laptops has been overheating. Having scalded my partners legs one too many times, it was finally clear that something was seriously wrong with his machine. This was confirmed with a M1004 error code (a Dell overheating code) that tells you to call their service centre.

My partner followed the instructions but was given poor advice. Dell told him it probably needed a new motherboard, but that it was out of warranty. Ka ching.

Dell Inspiron 1300 laptops are usually very easy to fix if they are overheating. I may add photos later but basically you remove the plate that is in the back left position of the laptop (on the underside), assuming you are looking at the laptop as if you were using it normally.

With the plate removed (one screw only), you will see a gold metal heatsink held down by 4 screws on springs. Undo the screws and use the plastic gripper to pull the heatsink straight up and off. Now remove any rectangular blocks of fluff that have built up in the space between where the heatsink was, and the fan that is next to it. Look at the heatsink and see if there's fluff stuck to it too.

Get rid of all the fluff and check there's no fluff on the fan itself. Blowing into the fan a few times should be sufficient to do this.

Replace everything and you're done. 5 mins, no motherboard replacement needed.

**UPDATED June 2009** - Due to the many thankful comments for this and my other popular posts - with people offering me their first born, a dozen cookies, among others (!), I've now added a donation page. If this article has helped you, help me!

Bonus tip.... If the battery on your Dell Inspiron 1300 laptop is not working well anymore, you can get a replacement battery from Dell that is reasonably priced. Make sure to get a 6 cell as the 4 cell are useless. Also, be aware of the improvements you can make to battery life by how you use it. It is generally better to let the battery discharge to around 40% capacity before recharging it, rather than frequent small discharges to say 90% capacity and then back again. Do a full discharge/recharge cycle every so often, to re-calibrate the battery meter in your computer. Also. Leaving a fully charged battery in your laptop while working off the mains supply for extended periods is bad. Consider removing the battery in this case - easy in the case of the Dell Inspiron. Basically fully charged laptop batteries degrade quickly when they are hot, Lithium Ion batteries like to be kept cool. If you need to store a Lithium Ion battery for an extended period of time, store it in the fridge at 40% capacity. For more info than you would probably want to know about batteries, visit the battery university.

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Blowing out the fan is a good tip, so was the battery one. However, I've had my Inspiron for about a year and the 6-cell battery life is about zero now. Do you know of any batteries that have come out in the last year that are superior to Dell's original 6-cell battery?

ALX - No I don't unfortunately - although Dell's replacement batteries are generally pretty reasonably priced. All batteries fade eventually.

You are amazing, i have had my Dell Inspiron for around a year now, it was overheating every 15 mins, and it wouldn't take charge. I decided to do what you said, and found A LOT of fluff in it. Took it out, and it is now as good as new

I cant thank you enough!


Thanks so much! I was having this exact same problem.

DAMN! Thanks a lot! I was having problems with my laptop overheating frequently, and when I gave it to a friend, who is a computer technician, he told me I needed a new harddrive! That caused a lot of drama. This is really helpful!

Thank you so much. My laptop was getting so loud and hot I was considering not taking it to classes it was so embarassing. This fixed it completely.

Thanks a million!! I was actually considering a new laptop. You have breathed at least another year out of this cranky overheating machine!!!

worked like a charm !!! thanks...
my fan was so, so , so noisy (like 60 db)..
now ... almost 0 .
A1 :)

Amazing!!! thank you! I was thinking about a new laptop!!!


Great! Thanks for excellent tip. I'll pass this on to those I've recommended this laptop to.
Now I know where the CPU is I might see if I can upgrade it! A little Arctic Silver won't go amiss between the heatsink and the CPU either.

Cheers man. My laptop has been driving me crazy, overheating every half hour or so. Much appreciated

thanks a lot for the tip its helped a lot but fan still making a fair bit of noise? sumdays its okayish n other very loud, sum1 told me the fan needs replacing? but seems to me like there sum sorta of obsturction, ne idea how i get to the fan? or newher i can get cheap replacement fan?

I had an Inspiron 1300 overheating and turning off every 30 minutes. I tried putting books under it, using it near the window and even hoovering it.
It took me 1 minute to remove the bits and a further 3 to get all of the fluff out of there. Computer now running like new.
Thankyou lots - saved me a big bill.
Any tips for a cheap solution to my Engine mount problem?

Fantastic!!! I have to admit to not knowing the first thing about computers so when my Dell started to cook my thighs i was expecting a large bill/new laptop scenario, thankyou.

Uhmmm, You rock! Thank you! I did it about 30 min ago but it seems to be working! You may want to note that this will probably work on all all inspiron models (certainly the B130, which is what I have and I know is VERY similar to the 1300).

Thanks man, my laptop started overheating. Googled the error code, found this post and now things are back working again. :)

AWESOME! Took me 5 minutes just like you said! Found a lot of dust bunnies, removed it and now I actually hear my fan running.THANKS SO MUCH.

Mine was burning my leg, I did what you advised and wham cool as a cucumber Thanks!

i was also having the same fucki.... problem i din`t know where to go or what to do, until i found this forum. thanks to all the good peolpe who help us

Worked as a charm! Thank you so much! Starting to get worried without any backups!

I have a burn mark on my leg from my laptop that won't go away. Thank you so much for posting this. I was about ready to get rid of my laptop and get another one. Now I won't have to until I go to college next year.

Thank you so much for the tip!!

I should have looked for it before removing 30 or so screws from the bottom and still not being able to remove it :mrgreen:

heaps of dust removed from the fan and the sink and now running up for two hours without getting hot or making noise anymore!

Question: Is cooling 'gel' between processor and heatsink not necessary?

Warning to others: be careful with vacuum cleaner around te fan: it may speed up the fan too much and eventually destroy it (did that on another PC once)

Thanks again!

Dirk, Netherlands

Good point buddy. Add cooling gel/silver compound over the small block in the center (the chip) too.. That would make things better. if you have noticed, the existing compound would have dried off over time. make sure that you wipe it off before you put in the new one. replenishing that would add extra life and work power to your processor.

"As with all rechargeable batteries, try to run the battery right down before plugging it in again to charge it up wherever possible. This helps extend its life."

From the Windows Vista help and support center on batteries ( http://windowshelp.microsoft.com/Windows/en-US/Help/cb5c85e7-7cf5-4596-ac7a-a72f8b6238f81033.mspx ):

If you frequently drain and then recharge a lithium-ion battery, it can quickly lose its ability to hold a charge. The practice of completely draining and then fully charging a battery is advice that applied to nickel cadmium (NiCd) batteries and, to a lesser extent, nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries. Lithium-ion batteries last longer if you charge them often, a little at a time, to maintain a minimum charge of about 40 percent capacity.

you might want to rephrase that last bit about laptop batteries, as it may lead to reducing their batteries life, not prolonging it ;)

ED - Thanks for this. Your advice is good and I have adjusted the article a little accordingly.

Thank you so much for this info. I had actually taken apart the back plate & didn't find anything after I started having overheating on my 1300. I vacuumed the fan & the problem only got worse. I had resorted to putting an ice pad under it to get 45 minutes of use out of it at a time. I was about to pay $25 for a cooling tray/stand for it when I saw your post.

I pulled out the Dust Bunny from Hell© from the cooling fins and it is now running like new!

Thanks again.

hiya last night i been rooting through google and found your post my laptop has burned my cousin leg and i have found ALOT of dust around the heatsink and took out the heatsink so it appears they was more! so now the computer is now running smoothly and the fan is alot better so thank you sooo much ur a genious (Y)

kane naylor

if i could bake you a dozen cookies, i would totally do so.

my lap top has been such a piece of crap lately, i've bought a new battery that wouldn't charge, and suddenly it was overheating and shutting down. every help site said "buy a new battery" or "buy a new laptop".

you just saved me hundreds of bucks. this was easy and holy blankity blank, was there a lot of fluff in there.

a bazillion thank yous!

This solution did the trick straight away, my duaghters laptop was competing with our toaster. We got a new charger, a new battery and it was still hot and cutting out. Cleaned out the heatsink and its perfectly ok.

Thanks a bundle

Thank you!!! I thought my computer was really messed up it was getting so hot! I found your post, followed your instructions and found a dust ball inside with dog hair in it too, ewww! You have saved me some cash and I really appreciate it!

Thanks for saving my money on a new laptop!

Thanks great advice worked perfect! Was looking at new laptops and then decided to to just google inspiron 1300 hot and there was your page.

My Inspiron 1300 is just coming up to 3 yrs old and the fan was more or less continuosly on and getting very hot. Well I've just cleaned mine out, OMG it's a wonder the pc hadn't caught fire with all the crap that I got out. How easy was that to fix, thanks so much for the tips, easy peasy and now sorted. Have noted the comments about the battery too.

This is like magic,it works and my latop is fully back on operation

Thanks so much.

I have Dell Inspiron 1300, issue: the laptop frequently changes from AC power (charging mode) to battery mode even when the ac adapter is plugged-in, and it hibernates afterwards. I contacted dell, they said probably the motherboard/MB has to be replaced as the DC power pin (at the back of laptop) where the ac adapter plugs into has gone loose. So, i'm not sure if it's the case but it looks like they might be right? so, if that's the case then dell is charging a lot for replacement as my laptop is out of warranty, so m looking for something cost-effective MB repair/replacement. BUT can there be a problem with the battery also? any suggestions about it? thanks

ED - Dell's diagnosis sounds reasonable but to be sure you would want to fiddle around with the power plug at the back while watching the power source indicator to see if indeed there is a loose connection. If so, it should be relatively easy for a laptop repair person to resolder a new connector for less than a full motherboard repair.

I am having the same M1004 problem removed heatsink and added Artic Silver. I noticed the fan stops. Do
I need to do something to reset the fan issue? I saw something about a removal download from Dell. Any help?

I can 't believe my laptop is finally cool and quiet!!!!! Thanks a million!!!

Thanks I have just carried out your advice and it took about 2 mins, can't believe the amount of fluff in there, it was nearly completely blocked up, no wonder the poor thing was overheating. Thanks once again

great easy to do in couple minutes,thanks alot

Remove the fluff, quiet fan, no scorched thighs. Obviously, the Dell techs are full of hot air while your suggestion is all substance no fluff.

You have made a lot of Dell owners happy. Thank you.


Thanks for that much appreciated, seems to have sorted the heat issue. At present I have 512mb of ram would I be wise upgrading to 2gb and if so would it make that much of a difference?

Thanks again!!

Thanks so much. Worked like a charm on my 3 year old Inspiron 1300. Lots of lint buildup between the heatsink and the fan.

Brilliant!! Has worked like a dream. Even useless old battery seems to be functioning better now. Has saved me a ton of money. Thanks!

Thank's This post it's excellent. Good Job. Muchas gracias, excelente trabajo.

AMAZING...simply put

You're great, thank you so much!!!!!!! It worked perfectly :)

For several months now I've been sticking my computer up on cooling racks, pencils, spraying it out with compressed air, doing my work hastily to avoid getting ruined by shutdowns, swearing a lot, and considering buying a new computer.

Now it appears I have no problems.

This article is a gem. Just genius.

To echo the comments above... Pure Dead Brilliant, works a treat... and only took the 5 minutes stated by ALX.

Don't get the M1004 error code now, but the +3 year old Inspiron 1300 still shuts down unexpectedly from some other problem yet to be tracked down and rectified.

hope this works thanks 4 tha help

Genius - fixed my wife's crank 1300, combined with a reinstall of XP.

This advice is Pure Gold!!!
As per the instructions I cleaned out the heat sink and the fan with a can of compressed air...
No more overheating...No more cooling fan sound...Infact 1 more additional benefit...The CPU usage % has also gone down in the task manager...

OMG - just think if all of the consumers in the world help each other as this person has helped all of us with our overheating problem, we would not be lining the pockets of the CEO's of the major businesses. You are amazing for posting the fix. We had so much dust in there at first we thought it was some kind of insulation. Then we kept looking at it and realized wholly cow it was appx. 1/4" inch of dust. YUCK. No wonder it was getting too hot and shutting down. Thank you so much.

Great tip !

My daughter laptop is now running like a new one !

Thank you very much Alx Klive !

Hi, we followed your good info on removing the fluff and found a lot. We thought it was the answer but then in about 30 minutes it shut down again and came up in safe mode. Any other ideas? Thank you.

Hi Pam, it sounds to me like you have two separate issues.

Hi Alx, I have an Inspiron 1150 will your advise work for mine as well as the Inspiron 1300?

WOW! I've suffered with a mal-performing Inspiron 1300 for a couple of years. I tried a memory upgrade (probably helpful anyway), different security software & recently a complete operating system reload & still I couldn't play a DVD through (CPU at 100% & struggling, without any other main applications running). Wife was thinking to buy a new laptop.....

Opened it up, found a solid layer of fluff between fan & heatsink, quick puff of compressed air (probably could have managed without this, but had it anyway), back to together & VOILA! WORKS LIKE A DREAM! IF I'D NOT DONE THIS MYSELF, I MIGHT NOT HAVE BELIEVED IT. Just shows how temperature-sensitive CPUs are.

Massive thanks to Alx - a real public service. If only Dell could be pursuaded to inform their customers about this!

I have that problem but I am having a different problem too my sound is very jumpy or choppey at times I am setting,here watching a movie or listening to music and it jumps. Do you have any ideas of what it can be, because yes when you call dell it is always you need a motherboard. Everyone has told me these are better computers than that. What is your opinion

You are a star, this ickle fix worked like a charm. I'm tempted to pull down my leotard and run round the block naked!!! Thank you.

You da man,
Thanks very much for posting that info. I had just replaced a monitor board, which I believe was damanaged by my laptop overheating so much? I mentioned the heating problem to the computer tech. who recommended a cooling pad, which I bought and has helped alot. However, I noticed that after spending several hours on the computer, it was still getting kinda on the hot side. My brain finally kicked in and I did a google search on the problem and walla found the answer in your post. Like other's have wondered, why aren't the egg headed, high-tech, computer geek mechanics (lol) in the repair shops aware of this simple problem/soultion. Thanks again Alx.


Mike B.

I'm very excited about this tip, as I'm desperate to get my laptop to stop overheating! However I tried to unscrew the 4 screws around the heatsink and I just can't get them off!! Is there a special screw driver that you need to use? Any tips please

from a technical ignoramous

heating problem fix u mentioned was great until i saw that the fan was toast. do i have to take the entire bottom off the b130 to replace the fan? if so, can it be done be me, a medium skilled screw turner?



Thank you very much for the tip. I am having other battery issues (aftermarket replacements... just say NO!!)

I did find fluff mostly in the channel between the heatsink and the fan. Clean now and its running fine.

I did add a dab of heatsink compiund to the heatsink before returning to its position. Better heat transfer, clean airway and running fan ... Sweet !!

Thanks for the advice. I have just done this fix to my laptop and hope it works. There was a fair bit of dust in the heat sink.

Would you recommend a heat sink compound too?

just fixed my dell inspiron 1300 as well - thanks

thank u so much, there was so much dust in my heat sink im not suprised it was overheating

Hey, just wanted to say thanks for the info. It's come in handy even in 2011. My new laptop broke but I still had my old 1300 so have started using that again for a while. I cleaned it out according to your guide and also reapplied some fresh thermal paste. Long live the 1300!!

just to say ive had my 1300 about 5 years and even after numerous drunken drops on the floor, viruses and other general abuse it still runs like a dream!! can be a bit slow at times and the battery is completely broken but does everything i need it to do and therefore see no point in a new one as of yet!!

I have the B130 that I purchased in April 2006. Within the last 6-7 months I also noticed it getting very hot, and it would shutdown. After doing the procedure above it is running 30-40 degrees cooler and the fan is not on constantly. The "lint" had completely covered the opening between the fan and heatsink.

WOW! Thank you so much. It's been driving me nuts. I have a Inspiron 1420 - The dust/lint was so thick, you could mistake it for a filter. Cheers!

top tip, my computer is now running a lot cooler and with a lot less noise, you should seen the muck that came out, thanks

Hello, I have bought my first new battery for the Inspiron 1300 laptop but don't know how to charge it!!! The online manual just refers to how to replace the battery, which is easy, but I think there must be a prcedure as to how to actively charge it?
Any hints would be gratefully received!
Thank you!

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