How to check CPU temperature - CPU temperature Software, Reasons for Overheating CPU

Checking CPU Temperature and Motherboard Temperature

So there are two basic ways to check the temperature of your system and this is either through the BIOS or using a software application that comes with your motherboard.

Not all motherboards are able to monitor CPU and motherboard temperature's but nowadays most motherboards should be able to.

You are also able to monitor fan speeds in rpm (revolution per minute) and sometimes alter them in order to keep your CPU running at a lower temperature and some motherboards even have a feature that allows you to specify in what temperature range you wish your CPU to run at.

Checking CPU temperature through BIOS

So the first way to check your cpu temperature and motherboard temperature (often referred to as system temperature) you have to enter your systems bios / setup.

Sometimes it can be hard to enter the bios especially when you have a very fast loading computer, so here are the basic steps

1. Upon Startup press DEL to enter SETUP (another name for BIOS) it may differ from motherboard it may be F1 or sometimes F2, if you having trouble seeing what key to press it should tell you at the very bottom of the screen press the PAUSE BREAK key on your keyboard so you pause your screen to take a closer look.

2. Once in BIOS , navigate to your motherboards Power or PC health Menu

3. Here you will see CPU TEMP, SYSTEM TEMP

example of bios screen, yours may be setup differently
example of bios screen, yours may be setup differently

Checking CPU temperature while in Windows/Linux

So for this method you can check the CD that came with your Motherboard for any software that allows you to check your CPU temperature. For this example I am using an ASUS motherboard which uses the ASUS AI Suite program to monitor CPU temperature, System temp and Clock speeds.

So you can simply install the program from your Motherboard CD, and open the program up which looks like below using the cpu temperature monitoring software

Shows CPU temp, System Temp , clock speeds and fan RPM's , here I only have a CPU fan running
Shows CPU temp, System Temp , clock speeds and fan RPM's , here I only have a CPU fan running

CPU temperature software

So it is common to find your motherboard does not come with a cpu temperature software application but there are a few free ones out there, below is a list of some free cpu temperature software.

Remember it will only work if your motherboard supports cpu temperature monitoring not all motherboards do so you may need to try out a few cpu temperature software programs to see which one works for you.


Everest - Monitor for PC and MAC (worked for my intel cpu temperature monitoring)


Thermal Paste with a Brush
Thermal Paste with a Brush

Safe Temperature Ranges

So safe temperature ranges can vary a lot depending on the type of CPU you have and the temperature is greatly affected by

- Type of Cooling you are Using

- Whether or not you've overclocked your CPU

- General Air flow in Case and Room

AMD and Intel CPU temperature

From my experience Intel CPU temperature can run much hotter than AMD Cpu's especially the Pentium Prescott range, and I had problem with an old cpu that used to run at around 100 degree's celsius , If you find your intel cpu temperature running extremely hot don't totally freak out as the chances of your burning out the chip are very low as Intel have an inbuilt thermal protection system allowing the CPU to reach temp's above 100 and still be fine. But this does not mean you should allow this to go on for a long time.

Intel CPU temperature

Idle: 40 - 55 Load : 55 - 85 (intels are known for running hot so don't stress too much unless your close to 100 or so, you can setup alerts for when your CPU hits a certain temp)

AMD CPU temperature

Idle: 30 - 45 Load: 50 - 70

Exact footpump I use to de-dust my computer it works a treat:) give it ago
Exact footpump I use to de-dust my computer it works a treat:) give it ago

Keeping your CPU running cool

AIRHEAD AHP-F1 Bellow Foot Pump
AIRHEAD AHP-F1 Bellow Foot Pump

Cheap way to get dust out of your CPU and computer parts

Zalman LED Aluminum/Copper CPU Cooling Fan CNPS9700
Zalman LED Aluminum/Copper CPU Cooling Fan CNPS9700

Nice , quiet fan that keeps your CPU running cool, Zalman have a good range of CPU fans


Reasons CPU is overheating

It is not uncommon for a CPU to run hot and usually it is quite an easy fix the following are the most common reasons

1. Thermal Paste underneath your CPU has been applied poorly and not in a nice thing layer, if this is the case you can simply go out and buy some more , its very cheap and look for a thermal paste that comes with a brush to make applying it easier.

2. Your CPU needs a desperate clean and is clogged with dust , this is very common in old houses that get dusty easily, simply clean it out with a brush or can of compressed air. My secret method , cheap method is too use a simple manual foot pump for a swisse ball:P works great and cheaper than buying cans of compressed air.

3. You CPU cooling system has not been fitted properly or is generally poor, this being said the stock fan's that come with CPU's are usually adequate aslong as you aren't overclocking or doing anything extreme.

Signs of High Temperature on CPU

Running your CPU constantly at a high temperature can be very damaging and may have the following implications

- Reduce the Life of your CPU

- Randomly Freezes or Resets your computer

- CPU totally burns out (this would take some time, at very high temps to occur, remember intel cpu temperature can get very hot especially prescott series)

Another great way to monitor your cpu temperature is to include desktop widgets to monitor your CPU temp at all times.

Let me know if you have any questions as I've played around with CPU temperatures a lot overclocked a few CPU's and have setup some watercooling too cool some of the hotter CPU's. goodluck :)

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Comments 52 comments profile image 7 years ago

My Compaq can get very hot. I live in a warm climate but I've heard the heatsinks in them are really good.

Thanks for the article. Interesting to see software that lets you check temp while running...I suppose checking from start-up/bios would be limited unless the computer has had time to warm - restarted?

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Yeaa its tough for computers in hot weather, heat and computers just dont go well at all. Watercoolings worth a try if your up for it:)

and yea you would have to restart your comp just to get into the bios to check, whenever my pc resets for no reason i usually check the temp's in bios to make sure everything's running ok. thanks for the comment:)

Ping.Lacson 7 years ago

nice article you got here.. well i have a question hmm i check my temp @ speed fan and the temp for my cpu is about 47-50 idle and when im playing games or watching video thru net it became 66-70c is it still be ok??i check the thermal paste and i think it became dust or hmm its still have some.. i cant buy thermal paste around here well im planning to buy but not today or tomorrow im too busy to processor is intel p4..

and i cant seem to find my temp at bios..well i hope you understand me and tell some tips. im scared of playing games when the heat up to 70c >.<

jayb23 profile image

jayb23 7 years ago from India

Hey thanks for sharing this info. Iam going to try it out. Cheers

Ping.Lacson 7 years ago

i hope you reply ASAP need help badly

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

thanks for the comments PIng.Lacson and jayb23

for your question Ping.Lacson running at 70 degrees celcius when playing a game is totally fine for a pentium 4,

I've had had mine running well above 80 before and even had trouble with one a while ago ran at over 100 degrees:P not good for it but it didn't die and you will find that 70 is not considered to be getting too hot. No need to worry

If you have a stock fan it should still be fine, if its getting too bad or the fans are spinning like mad try taking the side off the case or dedusting your cpu fan, that should help a lot. Or add an extra case fan , let me know how it goes

Ping.Lacson 7 years ago

well about adding extra fan i don't have that extra.. well if i reach about 60-70c the cpu fan start to spin like it don't wanna stop.. thanks for info i really appreciate it.. im really nervous coz last time i got problem of always auto restarting i clean the cpu fan but not using vacuum or anything that pop out the dust. dont know where to buy can of compress air here.. but today its running good doesn't restart at all but yeah about the 70c.. well if you say so about 70c is still safe..thank you

but others say that running at 55-70c for cpu is not good >.<

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

yeaa some people say 55 - 70c is not good but that's probably for AMD cpu as they run much cooler for an intel that is totally fine believe me mine gets hotter than yours when playing games and its working fine :)

don't use a regular vacuum on your cpu as it creates static electricity and can destroy your cpu, you can just use a brush or blow air with a straw if you have nothing else:)

strange that your cpu sometimes restarts as that's a sign that its probably getting too hot or just some other kind of error its hard to tell. just try and keep good air flow in your case

Ping.Lacson 7 years ago

well about the restarting that just about 1week ago but for now its running ok.. don't have any errors when restarting its just i heard my cpu fan start to run and stop and it will trigger restart..

i lol'ed about the straw thing that is one of my weirdiest method i use last time im really desperate cos i don't have any air blowing item here so i used it haha..

for more info i have intel p4 prescott...

it is good if i don't put yet a new thermal grease??

and how can i sure i have a good air flow??

sorry for a lot of question i just want to someone enlighten me about im tired of searching thousand of thousand of comments that will just spin my head off.. thanks to this really

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

thats alright happy to help you out, funny you say its a pentium 4 prescott cause they run hotter than most other cpu's I used to have one got so annoyed with it put in watercooling:P

so does your cpu fan stop , then it restarts or is it just stopping when it restarts? if it stops after it restarts that ok, just power going off and back on again if its before i would be a little concerned

usually you don't need to reapply thermal paste/grease at all, and should be fine unless u have taken the fan off and on a lot it might have ruined the layer of grease.

for good air flow just make sure you have minimal dust inside your case, all unused wires are tied together with cable tie if possible, and generally a case designed for good airflow is a plus , other than that open up the side of ur case.

Ping.Lacson 7 years ago

well about the restarting hmm if i remmember well its usually spin and stop to trigger the restart its like switching the light on and off..

and i supposed i ruin the layer of grease i don't see much grease on the heatsink and i think some of the grease stick to the fan hmm what you called it errr the metal part of the fan that usually bump in the heatsink..

its been 4yrs when i buy this computer ^_^

and can i left my pc open around 8hrs??cos im playing online game and i usually left my pc on when im sleeping

i hope its still ok when im wake up lol

thank you

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

hmm that sounds strange your cpu fan stopping and starting not sure if its getting old or the plug is just a bit loose,

and with thermal grease you shouldn't be able to see it all , cause it will underneath the heatsink/fan that makes contact with the cpu,

so its hard to tell if you need to reapply unless u take off the fan and look, and from just looking its probably good to redo the thermal grease, its best not to mess with it if its giving you no trouble though

yea u can leave it open, i leave my open all the time i guess its better to put it on when you are sleeping so its quieter, goodluck

Ping.Lacson 7 years ago

thank's for the tips maybe i need to reapply some of thermal grease i hope i found one selling here in our place

krayzienix 7 years ago

nice topic you got here sir. but are you sure about running the cpu heat to 55 - 85 at full load without burning the processor??

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

well for an intel its acceptable but not ideal ofcourse around 70 -75 would be better, but intel chips have inbuilt measures put inplace to stop them from burning out.

I've seen this tested and chips running over 100 degree's where fine:) but still keeping your CPU as cool as possible is always best

krayzienix 7 years ago

oh i see.. is there a possible way that the cpu will auto shut down if it reach it heat level limit so that it can prevent further major problem??

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

yeaa there should be some options in your bios to set that up if your motherboard allows it,

or you can specify a temperature you don't want your cpu to go above and then the fan will try and keep it at that temp for your or alert you when it cant keep it cool enough

prasannasutrave profile image

prasannasutrave 7 years ago from mumbai( india )

Nice information CPU heating but i have a different problem with my PC.

My monitor is not starting, the green light on monitor is remain blinking and no screen.

What will be the problem and how to solve it.

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

thanks for the comment, regarding your monitor problem I had this problem once and it can either be something wrong with your video card.

Try unplugging everything connected to your computer case and leave it off for 5 minutes and connect everything back up. Test another graphics card if possible if your motherboard has an internal graphics card.

I'm not sure if this is a new problem or the monitor is not getting enough power or ur using an adapter from vga to dvi or anything like that, give me some more info and i try and help you out:)

Ping.Lacson 7 years ago

hey sir need help again T_T well my cpu fan does not spin when my cpu temp reach 60-70 i don't know why but if it spin again its going to auto restart again.. like i said before its autorestarting when its start spin noisy and it will stop and go but this past few days i can use my computer perfectly but today its illness comes back again

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

hi again, that's very strange first thing you should do is check the connection from your cpu fan to your motherboard, so its just the cpu fan that restarts not your case fan aswell?

also what size power supply are you running, you may be running out of power. So when your computer reaches 60-70 does your fan just stop, or is your computer restarting?

you said before the fan stops and triggers a reset this is weird cause if the cpu fan stops you will get a beeping alert noise so i think its more likely it resets the fan stop and starts but i cant be sure. let me know

Ping.Lacson 7 years ago

hmm i guess the problem is in the power supply itself i don't know cos i think the cpu fan and motherboard are quite fix.. now the only cost i think is the power supply and what with the size power supply?? god damn even in the booting process i get restarted.. even in idle or even it didn't reach 60-70c it will just restart... i cant use it well hohoho damn damn

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

yea sounds like you desperately need to take out the old power supply and install a new one, Its pretty simple to do just a lot of wires going around and making sure everything is plugged back in with the new one.

try the power supply calculator when choosing one

Ping.Lacson 7 years ago

if it is the problem and the only solution is to buy new one T_T i guess i cant use my computer.. i don't have enough money to buy a new one so.. i guess this is it good bye good old days using computer

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

hmm well you could just unplug a few things and see if that helps at all, maybe disconnect power for your cd-rom dvd-drive, any PCI cards you don't really need plugged in, then you may be able to continue using your comp:)

twinkle88 profile image

twinkle88 7 years ago

Wow, this is a good article. Whenever I see the cpu heat temperature in my motherboard software, I used to just ignore it. I really din't bother about it anytime. After reading this article, I came to find out that, cpu temp should be under control.

Ping.Lacson 7 years ago

hey there wow its been a while since the last time i used my computer and i don't even know "how" on earth happen that i can use my computer now >.< is this some kind of miracle??last time i ask about here is was my pc cant even turn on..well it can but the psu didnt cooperate with me so today wow believe me it works like a magic that i didnt even buy or fix things really what the hell happen to my computer it happen 2x already -.-"

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

yea sounds like a really strange problem, if it doesn't turn on at all you have loose connections or still could be power supply question , very strange :S The only thing you could do is to upgrade your power supply and cooling that should solve whatever is happening. Goodluck Ping.Lacson

sidsan2k 7 years ago

CPU heat up and shut down reason for me was bad external power supply . My CPU shutting off at merely 50-57 celcius

solution i tried : I came to know that my Ac input power supply was fluctuating .I checked the and repaired the Fuse on the AC circuit and my problem solved. You all can also check this.

vinz12 7 years ago

Hello, i've read the previous posts and i've found it

really interesting and helpful. i have a problem on my pc, when i turn on my pc it displays a message that "cpu fan failed" then after 5 sec it turn off. i've replaced and cleaned my cpu fan several times, yet it's still the same.. any idea what could be the cause? thanks

Skydweller profile image

Skydweller 7 years ago from Kathmandu

is everest home edition the best software for checking these things?

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

Hi vinz12 , the cpu fan failed message simply means your cpu fan is not getting power and has stopped spinning. Check that you have enough power going through your motherboard , what size power supply do you have? and double check the connection from the cpu fan to the motherboard should be a small plug with a couple wires make sure that's secure.

everest home edition is a very good package unfortunately its not free, the best option is just to use the software that comes with your mobo

vinz12 7 years ago

and also when the message shows it says press F2 to boot. and that's what i've been doing every time i power on my pc. i can boot up my pc with no problem. but i've noticed something unusual, when i'm not running any applications my cpu fan stops running, but if i run an application it begins to turn again. i think when my pc is idle it stops turnin. by the way my pc is a desktop compact presario 061.

Nisha shan 7 years ago

I have always wondered about this question. You have clearly mentioned how to measure the temperature of the CPU. It is highly informative too. Thanks for sharing this valuable information.

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

thanks for the comment nisha shan, and vinz

go into your bios and look at your power and fan settings, and if possible give the fan a temperature you want the cpu to stay at and hopefully the cpu fan will stay on to keep it in that range, otherwise check power options to find any clue's on what might be causing it,

bengriston profile image

bengriston 7 years ago

I did not realize that you could do this. I have a laptop that the fan was not coming on and the cpu was getting hot enough it would shut down. Thanks for the software tip.

vinz12 7 years ago

thanks for the advice, i'll check my bios setup.

wenjiun88 7 years ago

Hi, i have problem with the overheated problem... i'm not sure whether my computer is overheat.. But from what i see in HWMonitor it shown that my CPU temperature are 50c when not doing anything, but when i started to play games or doing any transfer file, it reached to 85c is that consider too hot?

I have no encounter any often restart or auto shut down, but like what you said that i should keep my cpu cool down, right? Should i buy a casing and Heatsink to prevent of over heat?

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

I have heard of intel's running at this temperature and had one of my old prescotts run this hot before without any problem. It may just be a case of a dusty cpu fan , give it a clean out and see if that helps at all.

if you are concerned you could try replacing the stock fan, reapplying thermal paste/grease and putting on a better heatsink/fan. Zalman make very good ones that are very quiet as well

Alan  7 years ago

Hi, thanks for the useful tips. I tried to buy a new thermal Paste from computer shop. When i open up my cpu heatsink i saw my Cpu thermal paste actually dried up! and so i apply a new layer of Thermal paste on my Heatsink and guess what? it worked! suppose my temperature was 50C-60C and now i only got 30C-40C degree! but of course the heat will rise when play games but only 45C. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

expectus profile image

expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder Author

that's great Alan :) glad I could help its nice when your CPU doesn't overheat one less thing to worry about

rahul 6 years ago

my cpu temperature is above 77 degree and it restarts automatically

expectus profile image

expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

77 degree's is not that high , some cpu's run a lot hotter than that, does a blue screen pop up when it restarts , what where you doing at the time of the restart?

Neeraj Shende 6 years ago

Really knowledgeable article u have written thanks for it....I have a lenovo laptop 3000 N 100 which shuts down repeatedly after a bit of googling i came to the conclusion that wenever my cpu temp. is 185 deg.F(85 deg C)it shuts down and the cpu reaches this threshold more often.Please tell me how can i change the auto shutdown temp or wat else can i do to solve the prob.Thanking u in anticipation

expectus profile image

expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

laptop's usually overheat due to dust and dirt stuck in the fan open up the back and clean it out with compressed air or replace the small fan in the back.

to change the threshold go into your bios and go to pc health options to change it, if your fan allows you can set it to keep your laptop running at a specified temperature

Bill 6 years ago

Thanks for the info on this site. I downloaded Speedfan and am curious, which do you go by Temp1 or Core? Core is always about 4C higher. I just installed a new fan/heatsink and its about 20C cooler on average. Thanks a lot.

B.H.J.M 6 years ago

So, My computer keeps rebooting (I know same as every one) well not completely, it only shuts off but not on. The problem occurs 10 minutes after I've started playing a game.

I checked my cpu heat right after the system crashed and it we're on ca 95C so there's obviously a problem there. But the computer is brand new and almost top notch. It's an intel core 2 quad q9400.

Every part of this computer is brand new and in a package so it should work fine together. Any idea what's wrong? My thought is that it is the grease, about how much can it differ? Like if u have it poorly inserted to if u have it on the right spot? Thanks in advance.

expectus profile image

expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

I would go by core temperature,

BHJM - thermal grease definitely makes a difference I can tell you, if you think that's your issue its best to start from scratch by removing the current paste (I use vodka or rubbing alcohol) and then apply a thing layer with a brush or the side of my credit card

Sana 6 years ago

Heating up even above 102C is not a big deal for Intel. But this should not long for months. Proper fan(s) should be installed to solve the problem 6 years ago from bear, de, 19701

Thanks for info. Although I never get this problem. I check computer temperature and fan regularly. no problem at all.

Fary 6 years ago

Where and how can we apply thermal grease?Why it is necessary?

expectus profile image

expectus 6 years ago from Land Downunder Author

it is necessary to obtain contact between the fan/heat sink and cpu, without if the heat wont dissipate properly and you will have an overheating cpu which means unexpected shutdowns and reduced life.

thermal grease is very important, if you apply it incorrectly you will notice how inefficient the fan and heat sink will be at cooling your cpu.

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