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With the return of cold weather, make sure you take your laptop and other electronic devices out of your vehicles. Cold weather can cause big problems – LCD panels and hard drives can freeze, battery life is shortened and more.
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. What you might not realize is that parts of your electronics warm up at different rates. Some get very warm almost instantly. Some can take as much as 15+ minutes to warm up. When you have a temperature difference like this, you can get condensation inside of your laptop.
Protecting your laptop from cold weather is very important. Here are 5 tips to protect your devices against the deep freeze:
1) Careful Storage
Never leave a laptop, even in a well-padded and insulated laptop case in your vehicle in cold weather. The laptop could freeze and you lose all data contained in it.
2) Let It Warm Up
Once you bring a laptop in from the cold – allow it to warm up to room temperature before booting. The same is true when you go outdoors – allow the laptop to acclimatize to the outside temperature before booting up.
3) Incorrect Warming Methods
Do not use devices such as mug warmers or pocket warmers to heat or keep a laptop warm. They are not designed for this purpose and can create problems. They could heat the wrong parts of a laptop or cause it to generate too much heat and melt internal components. Don't use heating pads or other external sources of heat to warm up or thaw a laptop display. Allow the display to warm on its own and do not boot up a laptop if you suspect the display is frozen.
4) Excessive Heat Build-Up
Do not use your laptop while it is still inside a laptop bag. There is no room for air to circulate and the laptop will overheat.
5) Stay Out of the Cold
Whenever possible, stay out of direct exposure to cold weather conditions by staying in a vehicle, inside a building, or other type of shelter when using your laptop. Protecting your laptop from dampness, rain, or snow will keep your laptop from incurring electrical damage and the potential of electrical shock.
Full article: http://mobileoffice.about.com/od/laptopstabletpcs/tp/coldweathertips.htm