The Cold and Your Computer
When is it too cold to leave your computer in the car?
This winter has proven to be a formidable one for the Midwest and we’ve started to see some issues occurring with people leaving their computers in cold cars. What happens when your computer is exposed to very cold temperatures?
How Cold Is Cold?
Most computer components are made well enough to endure freezing temperatures—but as Minnesotans know, the thermometer can go much lower than 32 degrees. Laptops that are left in below zero temps have the possibility of incurring serious damage to screens, as the LCD panels freeze. Extremely low temperatures can also cause the discs inside hard drives to become brittle and constrict. Cold temperatures pose a risk for any delicate object, as plastic and metal components can contract, shift and crack.
What To Do If Your Machine Is Left in The Cold
If circumstance conspires against you and for some reason your computer is left in below zero temperatures for a prolonged period (more than an hour) there are a few precautions you can take to attempt to mitigate the damage. First, do not turn the computer on when it is still cold—attempting to spin up a frozen hard drive could result in permanent damage. If your computer has a solid state drive, you should be somewhat safer (Generally, fewer moving part means fewer broken pieces) but it is still a good idea to let the computer sit for several hours and return to room temperature before booting it up. There may be condensation collecting on the inside of the machine as a result of the temperature change, which is all the more reason to give it time to sit.