I’m glad you asked. You didn’t mention anything about your system or what the circumstances were regarding the overheat, all of which I’d like to hear. If you could describe the system, it might help point you in the right direction.
The answer to your question is most likely going to be a program called Motherboard Monitor . This program can usually detect the onboard monitors on your motherboard and display such information as CPU/motherboard temperatures, CPU speed voltages and so on. It can audibly alert you to overheating.
I say usually because, depending on the MB it may or may not be able to detect them. If you have a newer MB that has a chipset that supports SMB (System monitoring bus) it should be fine.
Also there is often settings within the system bios that automatically shuts down a system if it detects the CPU exceeding a given temp (85C for example) to prevent damaging the system. I’m guessing yours did not have such functionality or we wouldn’t be having this conversation. It might simply not be activated though.
Different MB manufacturers also usually have programs designed specifically for their hardware to monitor the internals and you might want to check with yours. If you have a Dell or HP or one of those first tier distributors check their support for a solution.
For instance I have a Dell Optiplex GX260 here at work. A very plane jane PC. MBM doesn’t really show anything for this system because, well, I’m not sure why, but I imagine it has something to do with not having sensors that MBM recognizes. I’m not sure if this is the same for all Dell’s though.
Of course, regardless of the ability to monitor the system, make sure it stays cool. If you have a system that is getting really hot then make sure your case has good ventilation. A couple of case fans (one blowing in, one blowing out) will ensure that cooler air is getting in. Also make sure your CPU has a good heat sink/fan combo too. If you can mention more about what CPU, etc. then I’m sure I can recommend the proper fit.