Remedy for the overheated Compaq CQ61

I have made some posts about the Compaq CQ61 with Nvidia G103M graphics card and how to speed things up and get the screen working. On Ubuntu 10.04 another problem have been bugging me for a long time – overheating! Time to post a solution.

Yes, this summer was hot. Too hot. Actually, I fried my harddrive due to overheating my computer. I quickly realized that the graphics card was the root cause, as the Nvidia server settings application showed an alarming high temperature. I dont know how high in Farenheit it was, but on the Celcius scale it went up to about 80 degrees. The harddrive is in danger at about 55. If you dont like any of these scales, let me put it like this – red colors on the temp scale is not good.

I realized that some digital photos would just not be written to disk, and the built-in HP harddisk monitoring software in the BIOS wasn't too many seconds behind.."Houston, we have a problem..". And off to the store to buy a new drive.


Care to fry another drive?

Now this is not at all like me. I solved the symptom, but not the root cause. Perhaps I just wanted to blame the hot summer. Now I understand that something under the hood is not right (the hood of the laptop, not me). So, here it goes..


Update the Linux kernel

Yes. On ubuntu 10.04 with my hardware, this gives great improvement. I upgraded from 2.6.32-24-generic to 2.6.34-020634-generic. This resulted in:

  • A huge drop in temperature on the graphics card
  • The fan is more alert and efficient, accelerating only when needed
  • Applications run just a little snappier



How to upgrade

Ten years ago, upgrading the kernel was probably a milestone in every Linux users geek evolution. Now, you just have to follow these steps:

  1. Download the header and image files at I guess you run i386, so that would be
  2. Open up a terminal and move to the directory where you downloaded the files. If you put the in "Downloads" that would be cd Downloads in the terminal.
  3. Run the following command sudo dpkg -i *.deb
  4. When installation is complete, restart your computer.
  5. Verify the new kernel version by looking at the System monitor (the System tab). It's located in the menu at System -> Administration -> System monitor.
  6. Done! Monitor the differences and post a comment. Other users might benefit from your experience. Please do include some info on hardware etc.

Bye for now!

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