Prevent Laptop Heat Death this Summer

Last Updated Jul 13, 2010 11:29 PM EDT

Based on the string of 80 degree days I've recent experienced, summer is officially here. I love the weather, but my laptop is not a fan.

Though we take our laptops for granted, they're relatively delicate machines, and can suffer catastrophic problems if allowed to bake at temperatures over about 95 degrees. And the danger isn't limited just to the toasty CPU, but the hard drive, which can expand in the heat and fail, taking your data with it.

Here are some essential tips for taking care of your laptop in the summer heat to extend the life of your computer and prevent sudden death.


Recently, Unplggd published a list of 9 tips for keeping your laptop safe in hot weather. Here's the best ones -- the top 5 things you need to know:

1. Avoid temperature extremes. The danger zone for laptops starts at 95 degrees -- some will actually shut down to prevent damage if they get too hot. But either way, don't leave it in direct sunlight.

2. Let it acclimate before powering it up. Moving a laptop from air conditioning to the hot outdoors can cause condensation, which can damage components. So shut your PC off when moving it between temperature extremes.

3. Avoid high humidity. Many laptops can experience electrical problems when the humidity is very high, such as 80 percent. Don't work outside with a laptop on days like this, or you could fry your PC.

4. Use a stand to dissipate heat. Especially in hot weather, it's important to let the laptop breathe. Don't work with it directly in your lap, on a blanket, or on a jacket -- anything that will block vents and also act as an insulator. Ideally, use a stand to elevate it and allow for airflow.

5. Beware of your car. You wouldn't lock your kid or dog in a hot car in the summer, and you shouldn't leave your laptop there either. If you must leave your laptop in the car, be absolutely certain it's completely turned off.

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