Winterize Your Laptop, Save Your Computer!

by Kelly McNeil on January 25, 2018 in

There are a lot of things we do to prepare for winter: we buy snow tires for our cars, start wearing heavier coats, and make sure the outside of our houses are adequately prepared for the months of cold and snow. But do you think about your laptop? If you don't, it could cost you!

You may not be aware of what the cold winter months can do to the computer you rely on for your work and home life. Freezing and below-freezing temperatures can damage your laptop in unexpected ways! These include:

-Condensation gathering on the inside of your computer
-Reduced backlight/screen performance
-Brittleness and cracking of plastics and metals
-Shortened battery life
-Potential irreversible battery damage

As a matter of fact, this last one is why I’m writing this blog! I left my MacBook in the car overnight, and when I took it out of its bag this morning I noticed the case was bulging out in the area I knew to contain the battery. When I unscrewed the back of my laptop, this is what I found.

Thanks to my cold garage, my laptop battery had swollen and burst! If I hadn’t noticed and had tried to plug in and start my computer, who knows what might have happened. Maybe nothing, since my computer may have failed to turn on, or maybe a more catastrophic event may have occurred.

There’s only one way to avoid a fate like this, and it’s to follow the instructions of your laptop manufacturer when it comes to storing and operating your computer. It’s generally recommended that you use your laptop in temperatures between 50° and 95° F (10° to 35° C). Be extra cautious with storing and operating your laptop in temperatures outside of this range!

Freezing weather isn’t the only thing that can affect your computer during the winter. Static electricity (aka the thing you get when you shuffle your socked feet across a carpet) caused by dry, cold air can also cause damage. While it may be fun to shock your friends and family with this static electricity, it can hurt delicate circuit pathways and sensitive chips in your laptop. It’s a good idea to touch another metal object before touching your laptop during the winter, just to dissipate any static electricity charges you may be carrying.

Make sure you prepare your laptop for the winter, just like you prepare everything else you try to take care of! If you’re ever unsure of what you can and can’t do with a piece of your valuable technology, feel free to give us a call at (610) 937-0900 or email us at info@TechBldrs.com.

-Joe