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The snow is falling in Vancouver which means the temperature is dipping below zero. While this type of weather is usually short lived on the West Coast, these cold spells can have a negative impact on your computer hardware. A laptop owner needs to pay especially close attention to where their computer is stored when the air becomes moist and/or cold.

Following the steps below will help reduce the likelihood of computer hardware becoming damaged due to extreme weather conditions. Please remember that these are simply guidelines. If you are concerned about the health of your computer please contact a Sea to Sky technician for assistance as soon as possible. Additionally, if you wish to further protect your investment please ask Sea to Sky to include a “drops and spills” warranty on your new computer.

The most common scenario in which a laptop becomes exposed to freezing conditions is in the trunk of a car. Firstly, a car is never a good place to store a laptop. It is best to take your laptop inside with you whenever possible. If you find yourself in a situation where the laptop has been exposed to temperatures outside of the manufacturer’s specifications, we recommend following these simple steps:

1. Make sure the laptop is completely turned off (not just in sleep mode); take the battery out if possible.

2. Bring the laptop inside with you to help it reach room temperature. Make sure you allow the computer come to room temperature naturally; do not use a hair dryer or any other heater to accelerate this process. Quick temperature changes can cause the components to loosen, crack or break. A simple way to check the temperature of the computer is by touching the outside surfaces, including the keyboard, with your bare hand. If the computer feels cold when compared to the room – the ideal temperature is 22 degrees Celsius – you must continue to wait; patience is a virtue. Warming a laptop from freezing to room temperature could take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours.

3. Finally, check for condensation. If you find condensation do not turn the laptop on until it has evaporated. You should check for condensation in the fan’s exhaust vents and the input ports (USB, monitor, audio etc…) on the laptop. Again, allow this process to occur naturally with the computer completely powered off.

If you plan on using your computer in extreme weather, or temperature, conditions on a regular basis, we recommend investing in a laptop designed for rugged use. The Dell Latitude series of computers is a great example of a product designed for less than favourable conditions. This speciality line of laptop computer offers exceptional performance and retains the business styling of the Latitude line. The Latitude ATG computers have been tested to MIL-STD 810G and IP5X levels of protection against ingress of humidity and dust. They also include special rubber seals to protect the data ports from direct exposure of unfavorable conditions. Additionally, the Dell Latitude ATG series of computer includes a reinforced metal chassis to reduce the likelihood of internal damage from a short fall of approximately 30 inches.

If you are interested in learning more about how to keep your technology investments safe, or if you wish to learn more about rugged laptop options, please contact a Sea to Sky team member for more information.

Stay Warm!
– Sea to Sky Team

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