Antivirus Programs Overheating Your Laptop? (7 Solutions)

Are you getting fed up with your antivirus program making your computer get overheated? I know how you feel.

Here’s exactly what you need to know to avoid the problem.  Or at least make sure you’ve done what you can to prevent it from happening.

Let’s get started right on by digging into how you stop your antivirus program from taking up too much processor power.

Is Your Computer (really) Overheating from Antivirus Programs?

This typically happens because the antivirus program is trying to do a full scan of your system while you’re using your computer for something else at the same time.

If you don’t feel like your computer should be pushed to the limit from an antivirus program scan you might check what’s taking up all your computer power.

On a Mac you can do this by opening:

  • Applications
  • Utilities
  • Open the “Activity Monitor”
  • Sort the list by “% CPU”

Here, you can see exactly which program is taking up your CPU power at the moment.

It will show as a percentage and you will quickly see which programs that are taking up the most CPU power at the moment. These will be the ones that are causing your computer to overheat.

If you’re seeing the antivirus program on that list you are certain that the antivirus program is in fact causing your system to overheat.

Not, why does this happen?

Let’s dig into the solutions in the next section!

How to Stop Antivirus Programs from Overheating a Computer

Let’s list the most common reasons why an antivirus program might push your computer to hard.

Some of the settings and presets can be changed and here’s what we recommend you do about it.

1) Avoid Running Scans While You Use the Computer

If your computer is heating up every time the antivirus program is running a full system scan you should change the presets so this doesn’t happen on a fixed schedule.

Make sure YOU decide when to scan the system and just stop it if it automatically starts to scan your files while you need to do something else on the machine.

So, this should a pretty basic setting.

How to stop Windows Defender from running scheduled scans:

  1. Open the Task Scheduler
  2. Locate “Windows Defender”
  3. Right-click on the task to disable

You will find similar options for any other (proper) antivirus program out there.

2) Your Computer Might Be Infected

Even though you have an antivirus program running on your machine you might have malicious code or viruses on your system if it suddenly starts to choke on simple tasks like a system scan.

That’s not uncommon.

The best thing to do is to run a full system scan and make sure you don’t have anything detected by the antivirus program. If that program cannot find the problem you need to hand in the computer to a repair shop and have them take a look at it.

Or you could always take a 30-day trial with another antivirus program to test your system from other threads.

The most typical attacks to overheat your computer are:

  • Viruses
  • Worms
  • Other malware

3) The Fan Might Be Broken

Another reason your system is running too fast could be that your fan is broken.

This obviously hasn’t got anything to do with the performance or tasks from your antivirus provider but it could be very well the root of the problem. In fact, that’s often what’s happening when you cannot get your computer to chill.

The solution here is to clean your computer from dust and lint.

Try to open the chassis or take the back off it if we’re dealing with a laptop. That should let you see what’s going on and let you clean the fan and make sure it can run. Typically, it will just have hairs or other stuff tangled up in the system to prevent it from cooling off your computer as it’s supposed to.

You should also ensure that the system has good open airflow.

If there’s something stuck in the vent it might prevent the coolers from getting good airflow and as a result, your system will heat up constantly. This can be fixed with a gentle vacuuming of the system.

Make sure not to point a strong vacuumer into the system as it may do more damage than good!

4) You Have too Many Programs Running (in the background)

Make sure you have enough available CPU power to run the scan from the antivirus program.

If you have a ton of programs and things running in the background it might not leave enough available power for the antivirus program to run properly. And as a result, your system might overheat when the antivirus program starts to scan and check your computer.

This should also be checked inside the Windows Task Manager (or the Activity monitor on Macbook).

You can close some programs and make sure they don’t start every time you start up the machine. Programs like Skype and especially old programs that haven’t been updated in years will typically cause your system over overheat when they are run simultaneously with your antivirus program scan.

5) Clean the Heatsink

Locate the heatsink that’s located with the processor.

It’s the metal part that looks like a big metal piece with a fan attached to it. It serves the purpose of cooling off the CPU unit and it is usually fitted with a fan but it might not have a fan.

Clean out any dust and dirt around it and make sure the fan runs well (if there’s one). If there’s not a fan you should still make sure it’s free from dirt.

You can dust it off and you can also blow out the dust with your mouth. Be careful not to vacuum the fine parts inside the computer. It can often go wrong, especially if it’s an older machine.

A vacuumer might also cause some static electricity that may damage your system by shorting out your motherboard.

So, keep the vacuumer in the closet and use your mouth.

When it’s cleaned it might take a little while before it has cooled off your system properly. You can turn the computer off and wait for it to cool off and then run the antivirus software again.

Check if the heatsink is heating up again.

Contact The Support (or use the online forums!)

I hope we have solved your problem by now.

The antivirus program shouldn’t cause you too much trouble with overheating. So, if the problem persists you should contact the support or post the problem on the support forum for the software.

All the major antivirus programs have a good online forum attached to them.

That includes:

  1. McAfee
  2. Norton
  3. Bitdefender
  4. Avast
  5. AVG
  6. Panda

Other Typical Reasons Your Computer Will Overheat

Now, there are also other reasons why a computer might suddenly start to overheat when you run even simple programs. We have looked at the most commons reasons and solutions to each problem.

If you haven’t got the problem fixed by now, read on!

6) Is Your System Overclocked?

If your system is overclocked that might be the reason why it’s maxed out on the CPU when the antivirus is trying to do its thing.

That will probably be the first thing to tell the support if that’s the case.

Make sure there’s enough cooling going on and maybe add some additional water cooling system to the thing.

7) Your Battery is About to Die

Old batteries that are not running at a sufficient capacity will heat up more than they should.

You should check that your battery isn’t too hot when you open the computer.

This can be tough to do in a MacBook but on most PC’s you can do that and make sure that the battery is not overheating.

When you do check this you should also check how many cycles the battery has run. This will let you know if it’s overdue and needs replacing.

A dying battery can totally overheat and cause you to think that the system is overheating. Check that if you feel like you have checked off everything else.

Remember, some batteries will have faulty systems even though they are new. They should be functioning properly but they might not. It’s worth checking at this point!

Getting a new battery isn’t too bad.


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