Will a laptop function properly in a cold environment (below freezing)?

kreiley

This weekend I have to do some work in an unheated facility and I need to use my laptop while I’m there. Unfortunately, the forecast high is 16 degrees. Will a standard laptop function in a cold weather environment like this, or am I going to have problems? Anything special I need to do?

Topic: Hardware
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becker
Vote Up (10)

You will be operating in a temperature range that is below design specs, your battery life will probably be very short and your LCD screen dark and sluggish. If there is internal condensation, which is a real possibility, it could freeze and cause issues for your HDD in particular. Still, it will probably work, even if you are operating it outside of its design parameters. I have used standard off-the-shelf laptops without any serious problems in sub-freezing environments. Try to keep it warm if you can, a messenger bag under your coat can do in a pinch. There are laptops that are specially designed for extreme environments and actually have small onboard heaters, but that’s not likely an option for you at this point.

jimlynch
Vote Up (9)

There are definitely things you can do. Unfortunately, I am not able to post article links related to your question because of the spam filter. However, if you do a google search on cold weather and laptops you will find a few different useful articles.

jimlynch
Vote Up (7)

Got the spam filter fixed, check out these tips.

Top 10 Cold Weather Tips for Laptops
http://mobileoffice.about.com/od/laptopstabletpcs/tp/coldweathertips.htm

"Regular 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. Protecting your laptop from cold weather is important and you should know how to protect your laptop from cold weather. Protect yourself and your laptop from the damage cold weather can cause."

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