Cool Tools – Notebook Hardware Control

If you hack old computers into shapes, locations and jobs that they were not intended for, you’ve probably had to deal with finicky hardware. I have an old laptop with a broken screen given to me by a friend that acts as a file server, among other duties.

To access the laptop, I’m using TightVNC, a particularly useful VNC variant that easily works with the default GNOME remote desktop application. Well worth checking out.

I’ve had some trouble with overheating in the last few days, so I’ve been looking for a way to underclock the processor. Underclocking is when you turn the speed of the processor down. Like turning a dimmer switch on a lightbulb, this puts less current through the processor, which causes less heat during normal operation.

I used to use Notebook Hardware Control on my main laptop while I was at McGill to maximize my laptop’s puny battery during long days in class. I hunted down some old install files and put it on my poor, broken-screen file server, set the pre-set to ‘Max Battery’ and watched my temperatures drop 20 degrees C in less than 5 minutes.

If you’ve got an old XP machine doing any work that’s causing it to overheat, Notebook Hardware Control is a no-brainer.