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  Can extreme cold prevent a laptop from booting? 
 
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Nathan Daniels Feb 12, 2010, 08:57pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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It's been cold (around freezing) here lately but I always leave my laptop in my car overnight. When I try to turn my laptop on in my first class of the morning, it struggles. If it isn't plugged in, nothing happens at all. No lights (as opposed to a dead battery where it would manage to flash a red light), no sounds, nothing. When I plug it in and try to turn it on, the lights turn on and the fan starts up but it doesn't POST (at least I can't tell if it is because the screen remains black.) I's only after fiddling with it for a few minutes can I get it to start normally.

Is this because of the cold? I never had this happen before until recently and I am certain my laptop has been this cold before.


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"The more we sweat in peace, the less we bleed in war."
-Patton
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Meats_Of_Evil Feb 12, 2010, 08:58pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Can extreme cold prevent a laptop from booting?
i think only John Albrich can answer this.

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Everything I write is Sarcasm.
Nathan Daniels Feb 12, 2010, 08:59pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Can extreme cold prevent a laptop from booting?
Well that's an odd statement.

--------
"The more we sweat in peace, the less we bleed in war."
-Patton
Chad Mcaulay Feb 12, 2010, 10:33pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Can extreme cold prevent a laptop from booting?
It almost sounds as if your laptop is getting below normal operating temperatures. Definitely, I would not leave it in your car overnight anymore. If you do accidentally, I would suggest before you try to power on the laptop, allow it to reach a warmer temperature, but don't try heating up the laptop by setting it on a heating vent or something of that nature.


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Nathan Daniels Feb 12, 2010, 10:48pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Can extreme cold prevent a laptop from booting?
Well I certainly will stop leaving my laptop in my car now. But I have never heard of computers having a minimum operating temperature. Doesn't lower temperature decrease the resistance of conductive material?

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"The more we sweat in peace, the less we bleed in war."
-Patton
john albrich Feb 12, 2010, 10:53pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Feb 12, 2010, 11:02pm EST

 
>> Re: Can extreme cold prevent a laptop from booting?

There are several things that can be happening here. Given what you've told us so far, the most likely is...

When you leave computers in a cold environment for even a short period of time, and then take them into a warm environment (especially a humid one filled with humans) then condensation can form anywhere inside the computer, and even inside the hard drive.

The condensate can cause totally unpredictable electrical problems and even hard drive failures. In some cases it can cause permanent symptoms and even catastrophic failure.

A cold battery also has lower performance and capacity than when it is at operating temperatures.

User manuals usually advise about this problem for the specific device(s).

Cold temperatures will also render LCD display chemistry sluggish to respond or affect images, and reduce the efficiency and brightness of the fluorescent lamp(s) until they warm up.

When bringing an electrical device from a cold environment, it needs to acclimate to the new conditions before it is powered on. The acclimation period can vary substantially depending on both the environmental conditions, ranging from 30 minutes to quite a few hours.


edit:
added comment on battery cold temperature impact

edit to add:
And, even if a device is being stored and operated in its specified temperature range, the specs almost universally stipulate a "non-condensing" environment. For example, a disk drive might say
"operating temperature range 0C to 55C (non-condensing)"

Nathan Daniels Feb 12, 2010, 11:02pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Can extreme cold prevent a laptop from booting?
Oh wow. I didn't even think of the condensation.

--------
"The more we sweat in peace, the less we bleed in war."
-Patton
Dr. Peaceful Feb 13, 2010, 03:26am EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Can extreme cold prevent a laptop from booting?
The answer to your question is absolutely Yes. No need for scientific explanation, because the exact same thing happened to me several times before. I worked late, too damn tired, so left laptop in trunk in freezing cold (about 20F / -7C) overnight. Next day tried booting it up at work, I got the "windows did not start successfully, a recent hardware or software change might have cause this" error.

http://www.itsupportdublin.ie/res/Software-or-Windows-Problems3.jpg

After the laptop's warmed up for 1/2 hour or so, it booted up just fine normally. This only happened when the laptop's exposed to cold. I think my problem is more likely because the hdd's too cold to operate. While yours, as you described, is most likely because of the battery's too cold to power the laptop.

Dr. Peaceful Feb 13, 2010, 03:34am EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Feb 13, 2010, 04:03am EST

 
>> Re: Can extreme cold prevent a laptop from booting?
john albrich said:
...then take them into a warm environment (especially a humid one filled with humans)...

John, some humans are very cold. XD

Chad Mcaulay said:
...allow it to reach a warmer temperature, but don't try heating up the laptop by setting it on a heating vent or something of that nature.

I don't think anyone would be that stupid to heat up his/her laptop, say on a stove or... in a microwave. ;)

Chad Mcaulay Feb 13, 2010, 08:39am EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Feb 13, 2010, 08:43am EST

 
>> Re: Can extreme cold prevent a laptop from booting?
Dr. Peaceful said:
john albrich said:
...then take them into a warm environment (especially a humid one filled with humans)...

John, some humans are very cold. XD

Chad Mcaulay said:
...allow it to reach a warmer temperature, but don't try heating up the laptop by setting it on a heating vent or something of that nature.

I don't think anyone would be that stupid to heat up his/her laptop, say on a stove or... in a microwave. ;)


Lol! Hope not :D

Yeah, I really wasn't aiming at that much of an extreme of microwave or stove. I meant more like central air unit vent. Like John Albrich said, taking the laptop from extreme cold and if you were to place it on a heating vent, you'd risk a lot of condensation inside the laptop.

However, I have used laptops that are hot enough to replace a stove :)


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Nathan Daniels Feb 13, 2010, 09:19am EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Can extreme cold prevent a laptop from booting?
Chad Mcaulay said:


However, I have used laptops that are hot enough to replace a stove :)



My current laptop tops at 105 C before shutting off. It idles at around 60 or 70 C so cold was never really an issue for me :P

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"The more we sweat in peace, the less we bleed in war."
-Patton
Meats_Of_Evil Feb 13, 2010, 10:00am EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Can extreme cold prevent a laptop from booting?

Dr. Peaceful (47810) said on Feb 13, 2010 at 04:34 AST:
I don't think anyone would be that stupid to heat up his/her laptop... in a microwave.


Microwaves are to dangerous!

just put the laptop in a giant Ziplock bag and put it in boiling water for a couple of mins.



Hmm...


Make sure you use 2 double lock Ziplock bags just to be safe. :D

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Everything I write is Sarcasm.
Laptop Willie Feb 13, 2010, 02:03pm EST Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Can extreme cold prevent a laptop from booting?
Meats_Of_Evil said:

Dr. Peaceful (47810) said on Feb 13, 2010 at 04:34 AST:
I don't think anyone would be that stupid to heat up his/her laptop... in a microwave.


Microwaves are to dangerous!

just put the laptop in a giant Ziplock bag and put it in boiling water for a couple of mins.



Hmm...


Make sure you use 2 double lock Ziplock bags just to be safe. :D

Say you're joking before some one takes this as the way it should be done.:)

While everyone is correct in the laptop should not be exposed to extreme cold, I would only add one thing. The design of most laptops system boards expand and contract with changes in temperature. That is why there are limits to the extremes. When over heated, or exposed to extreme cold, BGA(Ball Grid Arrays) can pop a connection to the board. Extreme cold will also cause the HDD motor and CPU fan to bind. You have to keep our baby comfortable. :)

Laptop Willie
check out laptopwillie.com

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