Electronic devices suffer from temperature extremes. Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) of laptops, phones, and PDAs really do freeze. Laptops have been designed to work within a safe temperature range, normally 50 to 95 degrees F (10 - 35 degrees C). This range refers both to optimal usage temperature of the outside environment and the temperature the laptop should be warmed to before using.
Never leave a laptop, or other device, even in a well-padded and insulated case, in the trunk of vehicle in cold or hot weather for long periods of time. The device could freeze and you lose all data contained in it. Heat may also damage components.
Let It Warm Up
Once you bring a laptop in from the cold (or heat), allow it to return to room temperature before booting. "Ruggedized” laptops are designed to work under extreme weather conditions. Standard issue Hampshire laptops are not “ruggedized."
Protecting Your Display
Do not boot up an LCD display device if you suspect the display is frozen. Don't use heating pads or other external sources of heat to warm up or thaw the display. Allow it to warm on its own.
Incorrect Warming/Cooling Methods
Do not use devices such as mug warmers or pocket warmers to heat or keep a laptop warm. Likewise, refrigeration of a hot laptop subjects components to too rapid cooling. Devices not designed for this purpose can create problems as they will not distribute temperature in the right way. They could heat the wrong parts or generate too much heat and melt internal components.
Do not use your laptop while it is still inside a laptop bag. There is no room for air to circulate and you will get heat build-up.
Laptops, cell phones, and other mobile devices are tools to help manage the details of life. Don’t leave your tools out in the wet and cold. Proper care and maintenance of your digital devices is as important as maintaining the brakes of a car—both keep you from crashing. For more information about care and maintenance of your computer and practical prevention strategies visit the tech tip archives, including Prevent Laptop Destruction.
© 2013 Hampshire College 893 West Street Amherst, MA 01002 . 413.549.4600