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I'm going to be moving to a hill station where there is a lot of snow and the temperature can get very low. Is it safe to run a laptop in such a place, or are there any dangers such as equipment freezing etc? The temperature will be around the freezing point during winters.

Specially I'm talking about a Macbook pro 15" laptop.

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4 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I don't know about Macbooks but I've ran my low grade HP something :), in outdoors up to -10 (more or less, I don't carry a thermometer around), and never had any problems with it.

Computers are not exactly feathers ...


Just so to ease your worries - antarctica (check out the picture somewhere in the middle of the page, cardboard boxes and a man on it :)

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From what I remember from some Alaska clients, be careful of static - with no humidity, static rises to very high levels. That and if your screen gets very cold, the LCD doesn't function well - it can actually freeze (LIQUID crystal display.)

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Static means..? –  Click Upvote Nov 4 '09 at 22:02
    
I'm only guessing it means static en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Static_electricity :) –  ldigas Nov 4 '09 at 22:10
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From Apple technical specs for a 15" Macbook Pro:

Operating temperature: 50° to 95° F (10° to 35° C)
Storage temperature: -13° to 113° F (-24° to 45° C)

They don't specify the consequences of working outside those ranges, but don't count on support if something goes wrong.

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The Specifications page in your laptop manual would normally tell you the acceptable operating temperatures your system is rated for. This tends to be down to about 10 degrees Celsius (50F) but can vary depending on exact make and model.

In my personal experience, using a system below rated temperature will usually work, but the display starts going slow, taking longer to display and leaving afterimages. Also, condensation starts to become an issue with near-freezing temperatures. If you notice frost building up on the system, be cautious.

Batteries don't work very good in the cold though. If you do use it below rated operating temperature, you may experience low power problems. Not so much a concern if you're plugged into mains power.

Another related issue, if you're going to be in a mountainous area, is that altitude is also an operating concern with some components (hard drives in particular). Again, this should be listed in the Specifications page, but you're probably fine if you're not going near or above 3000 m (~10000 ft).

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