Laptops are not as robust as desktop computers they are thinner, have weaker hardware, and are more prone to overheating. But what is the lowest temperature a laptop can handle before it breaks down?
Typically speaking, most laptops are built to operate in temperatures between 50°F and 95°F (10 – 35°C), with some models able to function in temperatures as low as 32°F (0°C). However, if the laptop falls below these temperatures, you should take measures to warm it up before turning it back on.
Otherwise, you might start seeing reduced performance. Or worse, permanent damage to some of the components. So, if you’re heading into cold weather territory, keep reading this post to learn what to look out for and what could happen if your laptop gets too cold.
What Can Happen to a Laptop if it Gets Too Cold?
One of the most common problems that could happen to a laptop if it gets too cold is that the battery may lose its charge more quickly than it usually does. You may also start to experience performance issues with the graphics card, processor, or the CPU fan might not work as before.
Here are some other things that could happen when operating your laptop in lower temperatures. You may also want to know what is the highest temperature a laptop can handle? Read this post.
The Metal Materials Can Contract
If the laptop gets too cold, the metal parts inside the laptop can be prone to contract, which can cause some damage. In extreme cases, the computer may even freeze completely and then become unusable.
Moving Parts Could Freeze
If the laptop has a hard disk drive, the moving parts inside the hard drive, like the spinning platters, could freeze up and stop working. This could lead to a loss of data or more seriously, irreparable damage.
The LCD Display Could Get Damaged
Extreme temperatures could also affect the liquid fluid inside the LCD screen (liquid crystal display). One thing that could happen is that the liquid could freeze over. This could affect response times (As explained here focuslcds.com) and therefore how the image looks and behaves on the screen.
Cold Temperatures Can Affect the Battery
Laptop batteries can also be affected by cold temperatures. If a laptop computer gets too cold. It can affect the chemical process that produces and stores electricity inside the battery. What can happen is the battery will drain much quicker. Or the battery may not be able to hold a charge.
Experience Moisture Damage
If you leave your laptop in a cold environment for too long or freezing conditions, it could be affected by moisture damage. Moisture damage can cause all sorts of issues with the internal components like the GPU or CPU. Or perhaps, your laptop won’t turn on at all, leading to a costly repair.
What to Do if your laptop is Left in Freezing Temperatures?
Understanding how cold temperatures can damage a computer can save you money in the long run. Therefore, you should keep the laptop’s temperature above 10°C (50°F) as often as possible. However, it is not always possible as it would depend on your work or living environment.
So, if you happen to leave your laptop in cold weather conditions. Here are some vitally important things you should consider before powering up your device and using it.
Warm Up the Laptop Before Use
If your laptop is left in freezing temperatures, before booting it up, allow the laptop computer to warm up to room temperature. It’s also wise to warm the internal temperature up as quickly as possible.
The longer your laptop remains at a lower temperature, the greater the chance of permanently damaging the hardware, the display or the risk of your laptop breaking down completely.
Some things you can do to warm up your laptop include:
- Place the laptop near a heat source (e.g., fireplace, radiator)
- Wrapping the laptop in a towel and blow hot air onto it using a hair dryer
- Use specifically designed laptop warmers or the right size laptop case
Cold Weather Tips for Laptops
Most laptop computers have been designed to work within a temperature range. While some laptops such as rugged laptops have been specifically designed to operate at much higher or lower temperatures.
Moreover, rugged laptops can also withstand heavy rain, freezing snow and knocks and drops much better than normal or everyday laptops. Yet, they also come with a higher price tag.
Having said that, whichever model you have, you should ensure you take extra care to protect it from different temperatures, high or low. If the temperature is too high, you can use a cooling pad. If the laptop gets too cold, here are some things to consider.
Allow Time for Your Laptop to Get Used to the Conditions
Whether inside or outside in the cold, you should always allow your laptop to acclimate to the conditions. If you are coming from the cold, let your computer reach an ambient temperature before booting it up.
The same can be said if you are venturing out into extreme cold weather conditions from a warm room. Always allow time for your computer to get used to the conditions before powering it up.
Do Not Forcefully Heat Up Your Laptop
If you feel your laptop has frozen. Do not forcefully try to heat it up. It has been reported that some users have put their laptops in the oven. Which is not wise because extreme heat will damage a computer.
The safest thing to do is allow the laptop to heat up naturally. In addition, it is also a good idea to place the computer near a heat source such as a radiator. But do not allow it to touch the heat source.
Keep the Laptop Out of Direct Sunlight
Always keep the laptop away from direct sunlight because it can damage the screen. It can also cause components to heat up and this can cause issues if you do not allow time for the laptop to cool down.
Moreover, direct exposure to the sun’s rays can also create a glare on the screen. This could affect your eyesight. So, if you are planning to use your laptop outside without protection from the sun. Only use your laptop computer for a short period of time.
Store the Laptop Safely
If you plan to go out on a cold day, ensure you store your laptop carefully. You could buy a laptop case or laptop warmer to help keep your laptop safe. If you don’t have one, you could wrap the computer in a bathroom towel or a thick blanket and pack it safely in your backpack.
Just remember most laptops are not waterproof. So, unless you have a more expensive rugged laptop, it’s best to plan ahead so as not to experience water damage which would be a nightmare.
Store Your laptop in an Insulated Bag
It is also a wise to use an insulated bag to store your laptop. This will protect it from extreme temperatures. However, an insulated bag will also reduce the chance of moisture damage. Just ensure the bag is sealed tight before leaving your computer.
But it’s not a good idea to leave the laptop inside the bag for too long. The insulation will keep the heat inside the bag. After some time, this may cause the computer or laptop to overheat, which is not helpful.
You should now know what is the lowest temperature a laptop can handle. You should also know what can happen if your computer happens to freeze. The best way is to not let it happen in the first place.
But if you’re experiencing higher temperatures, you must learn how to keep your gaming laptop cool. The same can be said, if you’re experiencing lower temperatures, you must also take precautions.
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