Monitor Your Laptop's Temperature to Prevent Catastrophic Failure

Last Updated Jul 29, 2010 4:49 PM EDT

You'd never know it from the way people toss them around, but laptops are somewhat fragile devices. And I'm not just talking about how easily you can damage a laptop by dropping or jarring it; it's also fairly sensitive to temperature extremes. Here in the summer, it's already cooking at a higher temperature than usual.

Last week, I told you about some tips for keeping your laptop out of dangerous temperature situations, and today I can offer you a way to keep track of your laptop's internal temperature.

You might consider a temperature monitor for your laptop to be something of a geeky tool, but the reality is that it can save your computer's bacon. Core Temp is a free, easy to install temperature monitor which works with almost any laptop. It reports the current temperature of your laptop's CPU (and separately for each core, if you have a multi-core processor) and tracks the highest temperature over time.

Even better, the program can log the history of your computer's temperatures. So Core Temp reports that it's 150 degrees this afternoon, you can see if that's out of the ordinary, or in line with what it normally does on warm afternoons. There's also a color-coded readout that lets you know when the temps hit dangerous levels.

As I've mentioned before, a busted laptop is not necessarily a big deal -- but if the hard drives suffers heat stroke and destroys your data, that can be bad. Take some reasonable precautions against summer heat damage now, before all you have is a laptop-shaped brick and a briefcase full of regrets.

(Thermometer photo courtesy of Flickr/rae_beam)