Repair guides for the MacBook Air, Apple's current line of consumer laptops.

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How to identify programs causing an MBA to overheat?

Yesterday my girlfriend's MBA was overheating horribly (98 degrees celsius - enough to be worried about the chips melting the solder holding them in). Turned out the culprit was Word, which had hung.

However neither CPU was showing it as taking up any activity %age (which is the main identifier for these things on on Windows). I only found the issue by chance, which ideally isn't something I want to do.

So, question: What's the best way to identify which software is causing an MBA to misbehave, when CPU looks fine on top, but is clearly having problems?

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Chosen Solution

To check for "hung" processes, or just check CPU use Applications->Utilities->Activity Monitor:CPU tab at the bottom of the window. At the top of the window a drop-down menu allows you to check active/inactive as well as other sets of processes.

You didn't tell us anything about the age of the machine or the conditions under which it was kept/used. If its an early model (known for overheating) the thermal paste may need replacing, or, if there's a lot of dust or humidity opening the case and blowing out the dust could be in order. If the laptop (which are known for "running hot") was on a padded surface or if the exhaust port was blocked any/all of those could be a contributing factor(s).

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