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In some cases, allowing your laptop to remain cold is ideal if it’s handling heavy processes and tasks. The device will heat up if it tries to processes multiple apps at the same time, reducing its performance and lifespan. But how cold is too cold for a laptop? Also, will a laptop freeze in cold weather? We researched so we can give you the right answers to these questions.
A laptop will freeze in sub-zero temperatures, which is below 0 degrees Fahrenheit in the US or below -17.78 degrees Celsius for many other international regions. Most laptops have liquid crystal displays (LCDs), which start freezing when exposed to colder than average winter temperatures, putting these devices at high risks of permanent damage.
You might still be wondering about the specifics of that answer. Continue reading, and you'll find other relevant information on laptops in cold or freezing temperatures. We also included some tips to help keep your laptop warm in cold weather.
Will a Laptop Freeze in the Winter?
A laptop will start freezing when it gets exposed to sub-zero temperatures. The liquid components of the screen and the device’s internal cooling systems will be the first to freeze. However, multiple weather readings as of late indicate that it’s still tough for laptops to freeze in winter.
For instance, a report indicates that the average temperature of Philadelphia is 30.3 degrees Fahrenheit (-0.94 degrees Celsius) in the winter of 1969 to 1970. In 2019, the average winter temperature for that city is now 39.4 degrees Fahrenheit (4.11 degrees Celsius).
Unless you’re living in the East Antarctic Plateau Antarctica, which has winter temperatures going below -135 degrees Fahrenheit (-92.78 degrees Celsius), your laptop should still run smoothly in cold weather, particularly in the winter.
Can You Use a Laptop Outside in the Winter?
Yes, you can use a laptop outside in the winter. Furthermore, you might notice that the device is running smoother than before. It’s because the cold temperatures help stabilize the laptop’s heat, allowing it to put out more processing power than normal.
Take note that the boost in performance won’t be significant. For example, opening 20 tabs on an Internet browser would normally make the device go at a snail’s pace when using it at room temperature. However, you should be able to open about two more tabs with your laptop in cold temperatures.
How Cold Can a Laptop Get Before Damage?
Laptops subject to sub-zero temperatures will start experiencing malfunctions. Although the device can experience a slight performance boost in icy weather, the damage starts happening when you retrieve the device from the cold. At that point, moisture starts forming as the laptop thaws, which can get into its different parts, causing minor to serious damages.
How Cold is Too Cold for a Laptop?
Frost can start forming on the laptop when the device is at 35 degrees Fahrenheit (1.7 degrees Celsius). At this point, the device will begin to lose performance. You can also find that touching the laptop with your bare hands at this temperature will become challenging.
Can Cold Weather Kill a Laptop Battery?
Cold weather can permanently disable a Lithium-Ion laptop battery, and that compound is quite common in today's laptops. Subjecting a laptop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) will cause the chemical compound in the battery to slow down. Additionally, laptops discharge faster in the cold as opposed to using it at normal room temperature.
How Do You Unfreeze a Laptop?
Unfreezing or thawing a laptop after leaving it in cold weather needs careful handling. Otherwise, it’s possible to damage the device permanently through mishandling.
Start by letting the computer thaw at room temperature. Don’t put it in the oven or near places with hot temperatures like heaters or fireplaces. Also, don’t turn on the power of the device at any time while the device is unfreezing. If you set the laptop to wake up if you open the lid, leave it closed until it finishes thawing completely.
Next, take note of condensation forming on the device. The US Geological Survey (USGS) defines condensation as the process of airborne water vapor turning into liquid water. Opening the lid or turning on the power of the computer while moisture is present can short circuit electrical connections, causing malfunctions. Severe cases can make the laptop stop functioning altogether.
Wait for at least 24 hours before powering on the laptop after it froze. Leave it in a place where you can’t sneak a peek to avoid the temptation of turning on the computer.
What Happens to a Laptop When Operating it at Cold Temperatures?
Like freezing beer, you’ll see some changes to a laptop’s quality when it’s in cold temperatures. Some performance boosts are noticeable if the laptop is in the cold. However, some downgrades can also occur. For instance, the bootup process can take longer than normal to complete.
Also, the internal fans will run at maximum speed, which can cause permanent damage if it maintains that rate for extended periods. The fans can also stop functioning if the device reaches sub-zero temperatures.
The screen can also malfunction as the color gamut will be in disarray. Whites will turn a shade of pink and discoloration becomes more prominent as the computer becomes colder. Despite this issue, it’s still possible to use the device normally.
How Can I Keep My Laptop Warm in Cold Weather?
Cold weather can ruin your laptop in different ways. Thankfully, you can protect your device before cold temperatures can bring serious harm to it. These safety measures range from simple tasks like reminding yourself to keep the computer out of the cold to buying protective cases.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget about your laptop. For example, you brought your laptop downtown and forgot to take it out of the car. The freezing temperature of the cold winter night would freeze the device while it’s in the vehicle.
Therefore, one way to ensure your laptop stays warm in cold weather is to give yourself reminders. Jog your memory frequently to tell yourself about the last location of the computer. That way, you’ll stay vigilant and avoid damaging the device permanently in the cold.
Turn on the device and let it sit in a location at room temperature. The computer should acclimate to the current environment for it to function normally. Do this method if the laptop came from being cold outside.
A laptop heater or warmer is a device that heats your computer to suitable temperatures electronically. You can also use this peripheral to warm laptops in cold weather when the computer isn’t in use. Increasing the heat given by the warmer is also possible by placing this tool and the laptop in an open box.
Use a laptop case with insulation and padding to help prevent cold buildup in the computer. Take note that the device is still susceptible to condensation and moisture damage while it’s in the case. Thus, it’s still important to remove it from areas promoting high risks of cold damage.
A laptop can freeze in cold weather if the environment’s temperature falls below zero degrees. Take note that only some places in the world experience outside sub-zero temperatures. Still, it doesn’t mean you should become careless in storing and using your computer. If the device comes from a cold area, thaw it properly to avoid damage. You can also use accessories, such as laptop cases and warmers, to keep the computer warm in cold temperatures.