Summer. It’s prime time for baseball, beaches, picnics and vacations. But while fun in the sun is usually good for you, it’s not so good for your laptop. Heat is the enemy of today’s sophisticated electronics – it can drastically shorten component life and can cause irreparable damage to your laptop.
Here are 10 ways to protect your laptop from the dog days of summer:
- Don’t leave your laptop in a closed-up car. On a hot, sunny day, the temperatures inside your vehicle can soar as high as 130 degrees. Open the windows slightly to allow some of the hot air to escape. Cover the laptop with a shirt or place it in its bag on the floor of the car, away from direct sunlight.
- Make sure your laptop has adequate cooling. Keep all vents and fans free of obstructions. If you’re using it on an uneven surface, such as a bed, prop it up so that air can reach the cooling vents. A number of companies now sell inexpensive USB-powered laptop stands that drive precious cool air where it’s needed the most.
- It’s time for a siesta: If your laptop’s fan is running continuously, that’s a sign that it’s struggling to manage its internal temperature. Shut down any processor-intensive programs. Or shut off your laptop and take a break until it cools down.
- Back up your files: If you plan to be outside with your device for an extended period of time, be sure to do a file back-up first. The heat can potentially damage your hard drive. Don’t take any chances with your valuable data.
- Give your laptop shades: If you work outside in bright sunlight with your laptop, invest in an anti-glare screen or screen hood to protect it. Prolonged exposure to sunlight can easily damage laptop LCD screens.
- Take it easy: If your laptop is running hot, try shutting down programs that use a lot of system resources. Something that's using most of your RAM or CPU, or is always writing to the hard drive, forces those components to work extra hard, which can cause them to become hot over time.
- Slow down: Put your laptop into power save mode to reduce its power consumption. This will reduce the load on its processor, which should help it to cool down.
- Chill out: If possible, use your laptop in an air-conditioned room. If you're in a car, try pointing the air conditioning vent in its general direction.
- Ouch! Be careful if you’re balancing your laptop on your lap. Its bottom surface may become so warm that it can burn your skin.
- Avoid high-humidity areas. Too much moisture can short-circuit wiring and can cause corrosion of metal components.