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Besides the obvious - needing to get yourself a good enough power cable to attach to the cigarette lighter - what other tips do you need to protect your notebook when on the road? For example,

  • Are certain types of hard drives better than others?
  • Is there anything I should do to keep it from overheating?

I agree using it while driving is a terrible idea. Using it while a passenger, say for instance in a carpool to get some reading done, there's nothing wrong with that

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closed as not constructive by Ben Richards, Diogo, DragonLord, Simon Sheehan, Tom Wijsman Apr 5 '12 at 14:49

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that should be an edit to your question, not a comment –  soandos Apr 4 '12 at 19:55
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Don't use it while driving. –  Ben Richards Apr 4 '12 at 19:55
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Yes I agree using it while driving is a terrible idea. Using it while a passenger, say for instance in a carpool to get some reading done, there's nothing wrong with that. –  leeand00 Apr 4 '12 at 20:09
    
To avoid a zombie apocalypse, make sure that you get a Toshiba with an impact smart hard drive. (youtube.com/watch?v=9JyN6Obi7eI&noredirect=1) –  kobaltz Apr 4 '12 at 20:19
    
Not an answer, but I have done this many times with several different laptops, including a very cheap netbook, over the years and have never had problem. In short, I don't think you need to do anything special or get any particular laptop. Of course it presents a hazard if tossed about in a collision (or other sudden change in acceleration), but that is true of every moderately heavy item that is not securely strapped down. –  TimothyAWiseman Apr 4 '12 at 22:02

1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

There are some laptops that will stop you hard drive from spinning (see here for what lenovo does for example). This is to prevent the hard drive from potentially colliding with anything while moving at high speed.

HP offers a similar utility.

As for how useful these features are, I have been unable to any research on the issue, but the premise is sound. When some amount of instability is detected, move the read write head to somewhere where there is no data. That way, if there is a collision, you have a lower risk of losing data. The HD may still be toast though (i.e. if the head hit the unused section of the drive, it may be totaled, but you data will be fine). This reason is in addition to what is above.

In short, I don't such a feature is necessarily by any stretch when using a laptop in the car. Hard drives spin (SSDs don't have any of these issues, and are therefore much more durable) very quickly, and already have to account for things like bumps (at least on a millisecond scale). The difference that this technology makes is when the whole laptop falls, or something of similar magnitude.

With regard to overheating, all of the regular rules apply. Make sure there is enough space after the vents to allow the hot air to dissipate (10+ inches to be safe) and don't cover the vents on the bottom.

As an aside, it is not about getting a good enough cable to connect it to the car, but rather making sure your charger does not draw too much power.

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