Summer is here, that season of hot, worn out laptops. As it gets warmer, here are some tips to keep your laptop running smoothly.
The first major problem laptop owners will likely experience in the summer is overheating. This can mean a number of different things to different computers, but it is generally a problem. Laptop overheating ranges from an annoyance, in the form of a hot disgusting computer in your lap, to something that can majorly impair the function of your computer, and in some cases even damage it. My first experience with an overheating laptop happened several years ago. It was an old Compaq Presario notebook, and on hot days, it would simply refuse to work. When it got too hot, it would simply shut itself down to prevent damage to its processor. Although my current computer, a Dell XPS Series notebook, is equipped with a dual core processor, and thus is not susceptible to overheating, it can still be uncomfortable to use in the summer months.
Fortunately, overheating need not be a major problem. Computer stores sell laptop cooling devices, which use fans to draw air across your computer’s unhappy underside. They are generally a bit less than an inch thick, and are often powered off of your computer’s USB jack. Some laptop cooling device is even have the added advantage of functioning as a USB hub, as well. Here’s a link to a review of one such product. These can typically be obtained in the general price range of $50.
For those of you who don’t want to shell out 50 bucks for such a device, or whose needs are not as dire, I would recommend using your laptop and an air conditioned room. While a simple solution, it can greatly improved performance.
Also, try cleaning the dust out of your computer. Take the exhaust event off, and vacuum out all the dust inside. Your machine will thank you.
In addition to impeding performance, hot, and specifically humid weather can be a real danger to your machine. Laptops are generally happy up to about 95 degrees, but above that things can start to go wrong. For this reason, never leave your laptop in a hot car. Although this seems obvious, a surprising number of otherwise responsible people lose their computers to hot cars. Don’t be one of them.
Sun can also be an issue. Needless to say, it is a bad idea to leave your computer lying out in the hot sun. If you do need to use your computer in the sun, (or if you really want to, because you’re working on something important while all your friends are outside) you’ll most likely be frustrated by the fact that it is difficult to see your computer’s screen. This can to some degree be compensated for by a laptop hood, which goes around the screen and keeps it out of the sun, the fact remains that it is difficult to use a computer in the sun. Go inside, get done with whatever you’re doing, leave your computer there, and go out!
Some people, who are planning to use their computer and particularly brutal situations, might consider backing up their hard disk, to prevent against humidity related damage. Some even go so far as to recommends taking out your computer’s hard drive and using a much better protected external hard drive. For most people, though, this is going too far.