software, technology

A Quick Word About Heating Problems with Apple's Boot Camp

September 20, 2010

For a good while, I assumed my MBP‘s heating issues germane to running Windows XP SP2 via a Boot Camp partition were unique to my unibody machine.  However, this forum and that forum strongly suggest otherwise.  The plurality of this issue is rather disconcerting, considering that (at least from my purview) Apple excels in the category of power management, particularly through their mobile computing products (vis-a-vis their minimalistic design philosophy — think the unibody MBP, the Mac Mini, the MacBook Air).

Sometimes, “thin, slick and understated” is a power consumption issue just waiting to cauterize your lap.

Not surprisingly, the two aforementioned forum topics have been archived by Apple’s website admin, so replies are not allowed.  Here are some examples of customer frustration:

Yes, I have temp issues with my late 2009 15″ MacBook Pro. Fan control under Windows is totally inadequate, which you can tell because if you use Windows for a while then reboot into Mac OS, the fan spins way up to cool the laptop down.

For the fan speed you can try I saw a command-line version somewhere too but now I can’t find it.


I have a brand new MB Pro 13″ and I am now experiencing the same issues. Amazing to me to see how battery life is 1/3 that of MacOSX and then that the CPU is running a LOT more than it should be. This shouldn’t be a Windows issue b/c other laptops with similar hardware don’t run as hot or have as much CPU usage when idling. Hope Apple can fix this soon.


Yup, I’ve been getting this too. Got Windows 7 installed on a Bootcamp partition (got all the Bootcamp drivers installed and up-to-date) and it doesn’t seem to manage the heat well.

The first time I noticed this I was playing StarCraft2 and the machine just shut down after about 5 minutes. I immediately switched on again and it started booting into OS X the fan went crazy and that’s when I realised how hot my Mac had become.

Last night I was just downloading and unzipping loads of stuff (fetching a Symbian SDK). The Mac was already warmer than it typically gets when I use OS X but it didn’t seem to be too bad so I left it to run overnight. This morning I found it had switched itself off so I’m guessing it did get too hot.

Judging by everyone else’s experiences here, there’s clearly a problem with the fan management under Windows. Dunno if it’s the Bootcamp drivers, Windows or something else but I’d really like to this fixed.

Hey all. I have been having a massive overheating problem with my MBP when trying to play games under bootcamp and windows XP.

  • I have called Apple Support – they were not much help save to tell me not to place the computer on my lap.
  • I do not have the laptop on my lap instead always placing it on a desk.
  • I have tried to elevate it slightly off the desk to allow more air flow
  • Last time I actually had it elevated and placed on a cookie sheet to dissipate the heat.
  • SMCFan is certainly a help, but it doesn’t stop the problem either.

Anyone else have this problem to the same extent? Solutions? With the exception of creating a large fan assembly to force air through the machine it seems that it just won’t run for very long without shutting itself down.

For such an expensive machine, this is a rather large irritation.

Just for the record, Apple Support representatives telling their customers to avoid placing their laptops on their laps while running a game application through a Windows Boot Camp partition is an insult to their intelligence.

Here’s the bigger truth: overheating problems via Boot Camp is a serious issue and should be resolved on Apple’s behalf (not the customer’s).  A Windows partition on an MBP ought to run under the same power management standards that OSX does.  The 15-inch-and-above MacBook Pro line is a desktop replacement class of laptops that typically set you back at least two grand, especially once you’ve configured it to your liking (default configurations are usually risible, honestly).  At that price range, overheating issues that turn your MBP into a preheated stove while running a Windows partition should be nonexistent.  And if not: riddled with Boot Camp software updates.

Get on it, Apple.  It’s not always about the iPhone and the iPad.


  • Reply 2010 in review « In Harsh Light January 2, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    […] A quick word about heating problems with Apple’s Boot Camp September 2010 5 […]

  • Reply Patrick March 15, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    Seriously, you’re telling the truth. The MBP is practically unusable in Windows with the given heat issues. Battery life with idle processor is 1/4 compared to OSX. This is totally frustrating!

  • Reply Richard Sanchez March 15, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Hi Patrick, thanks for reading. Yes, I’ve totally abandoned the BootCamp thing a long time ago. For gaming on the Mac, I just use Steam for Mac; OnLive; or the Mac App Store. OnLive is probably the lightest workout on my Mac as the games are streamed from their servers. Still though, it would be nice to have access to all the top-tier PC titles that go to non-OSX PCs. It’s slim-pickings for MBP gamers.

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