This winter has already proven to be a formidable one in the Upper Midwest and we’ve started to see some issues occurring with people leaving their computers in cold cars. What happens when your computer is exposed to very cold temperatures?


How Cold Is Cold?


Most computer components are made well enough to endure freezing temperatures—but as Minnesotans know, the thermometer can go much lower than 32 degrees. Laptops that are left in below zero temps have the possibility of incurring serious damage to screens, as the LCD panels freeze. Extremely low temperatures can also cause the discs inside hard drives to become brittle and constrict. Cold temperatures pose a risk for any delicate object, as plastic and metal components can contract, shift and crack.


What To Do If Your Machine Is Left in The Cold?


If circumstance conspires against you and for some reason your computer is left in below zero temperatures for a prolonged period (more than half an hour) there are a few precautions you can take to attempt to mitigate the damage. First, do not turn the computer on when it is still cold—attempting to spin up a frozen hard drive or fans could result in permanent damage. If your laptop has a solid state drive, you should be somewhat safer (Generally, fewer moving part means fewer broken pieces) but it is still a good idea to let the computer sit for several hours and return to room temperature before booting it up. There may be condensation collecting on the inside of the machine as a result of the temperature change, which is all the more reason to give it time to sit.



While electronics have become far more durable and resilient over the years, we should still take pains to keep them from being exposed to extreme conditions: very hot environments, very cold environments, liquid, physical shock and electrical surges are all things to avoid. When temperature drops below zero, Mid-Westerners know to take extra precautions, so add your computer to your mental checklist. Of course, if your machine does turn into an expensive ice cube and doesn’t come back to life upon thawing, you can always bring it down to Mankato Computer Technology.