Can a Computer really be made to “Explode”?

'Try rebooting.'

Just sometime back I saw Hollywood movie which showed that just the moment a guy clicked on software he just downloaded over the internet, his computer exploded and went like a bomb. This landed me to an amazing question “Can a computer ever explode? “

A virus has been messing with computers, they can literally delete every bit of data from your computer, or use up your whole memory and slow it down, can use your internet connection to spread itself and much more. But can this go to the next level of nastiness and make your computer blow up !!

Let’s find out the dangerous components in a computer

Computers are made up of all electronics stuff, like diodes, chips, capacitors etc. Out of these the only things that I have actually seeing blowing up are “capacitors” and Switched Mode Power Supply (SMPS).

I have witnessed SMPS blowing off or in other words some sparks and smoke coming out of it. In desktop computers, the SMPS is at the rear top end of the Desktop cabinet and has a fan at the end. It’s the size of a small box. The reason for the SMPS to blew up is usually voltage fluctuations in power supply caused by faulty electricity supply. And has nothing to do with the “Software” execution or any code.

And yeah there is no way the capacitors can be accessed by software. So we are left with Integrated Chips (ICs) which don’t blow up but burn out or melt up.

So a computer can never be exploded for sure, but what about a computer can get overheated and melt its chip away or might burst into flames.

You might have heard about over-clocking. Overclocking is the process of running a computer component at a higher clock rate (more clock cycles per second) than it was designed for or was specified by the manufacturer

The danger of overclocking is really drastic and can eventually lead to a system crash. Over-clocking might in rare cases heat up your computer so much that it can give rise to a fire.

Overclocking is done by changing settings in the BIOS and in most cases the BIOS is inaccessible to the operating system. But still, in some systems, it can be programmed with an OS.  So literally no program can be made to overclock a computer in most cases.

But still, we never know if someone finds a way to code the BIOS. But no instance has been seen yet.

The other way to overheat a computer is pretty easy, it’s just by creating a program that needs extensive processing. This would lead the processor to overwork and utilize the computer’s resources to the fullest.

So the computer might heat up with some intense processing, but that too it a slow process. In a real-world scenario, the program would have to be made to run for a really long time to show any effect.

At first, the PC might crash and get restarted. But still on continuous heat up the system may fail. The result can be some burned ICs, this would show no fire or smoke. And only in rare case, you might see some fire or even a bit of smoke.

So we come to the conclusion that any program or virus can never make a computer to blow up, and only in rare cases can make a computer to heat up or make it catch fire and make ICs melt away.



What do you think?

100 points

Written by Shashank Agarwal

I am an android developer, hacker, web developer, professional blogger and a complete tech freak. I love computers and everything related to computers. I love learning new things and sharing the knowledge with the world.


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  1. Reason I am wondering about computers exploding or bursting into flames is a mobilehome in my park just burned to the ground including car in carport, and the rumor circulating the park is that the person who lived there was just innocently using his computer, and it burst into flames(or “exploded”), and he got out before he was hurt. Not only did the mobile home and car burn, but homes on both sides were singed. When I heard the same story from about five people in the park, I started wondering. Actually I am skeptical. Faulty wiring more likely, but even so…thoughts?

    • Mobile homes usually have cardboard walls, so a laptop stuck with the fan to a wall can heat the wall sufficiently for the wall to catch fire, then reach a gas tank and make the whole thing go boom.

  2. Thanks for the information, I have been using computer and laptop more than 10 years. But I never heard that about PC and laptop explode. There is no doubt about little bit hit up your PC and Laptop. I only know that viruses can damage our software, not a hardware. But I appreciate your research.

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