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Cold Weather and Your Computer

November 26, 2018

 It's that time of year again. Winter is here and it brings with it cold temperatures, snow, ice, and the ever dreaded wind chill. We all know how sporadic Missouri weather can be, but not everyone is aware of how it can affect their computers.

 

As a general rule of thumb, you know not to get your computer wet because it can cause all sorts of problems. However, this doesn't necessarily mean just direct contact with liquids. Unseen moisture can be just as damaging. As it gets colder, the temperature difference inside and outside of your home becomes much greater. Objects that have been exposed to the lower temperatures, particularly those lower than 32° Fahrenheit, will generate a layer of moisture when they're exposed to room temperature. This happens due to the rapid heating and evaporation of frozen water molecules on the object's surface. Anyone that wears glasses experiences this every time they go outside (trust me, we do). Now imagine this happening inside your laptop.

 

 

 The effects of evaporation can wreak some serious havoc inside of your computer. The image above shows some of corrosive damage that can be caused by leaving a laptop in a cold vehicle all day, then bringing it into room temperature. Applying power to the system while it is wet can also damage the circuitry on the motherboard and peripheral electronics inside. This includes processors, memory, hard drives, solid state drives, graphics cards, and so on. In some cases, it may also result in a permanent loss of data. Evaporative damage isn't just limited to laptops, either. The same effects can be seen in cell phones, tablets, and other electronics, as well.

 

So as you're out holiday shopping or conducting your daily routines, remember not to leave your devices in your cold vehicle for extended periods of time (definitely not overnight). If you don't have a choice in the matter, I suggest giving your computer some time to get up to room temperature before turning it on. This can help minimize the risk of a short occurring and causing serious damage to your device. Your electronics cost you a lot of money and I want to help ensure that you get your money's worth out of them.

 

We here at C&M Computing hope everyone has a safe, happy, and tech problem free holiday!

 

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