I have had all kind of laptops such as Lenovo, IBM Thinkpad, Acer, Apple and many others -- with different operating systems. I have had this kind of problem with all of them: when I close the lid -- I think it closed the CPU etc and I put it to the bag -- the computer red-hot when I open it up from the bag. What kind of things can cause this and how can I be sure the computer does not start up in my bag or that it does not run when the lid is closed?

  • My friend broke the memory -chip of his Macbook in this kind of circumstance.
  • I have killed the motherboards in Lenovo Thinkpads and IBMs, getting kernel-panics and odd behaviour after this kind of circumstances

How can I avoid this behaviour? Does there exist laptops with instant-freeze so I can be sure the laptop does not get broken if I close the lid? Or is the only way to be sure the computer is not-running to shut it down?

Helper questions

  1. Is this a design -problem?

  2. Why is hardware/software not designed to be instant-kill-me-instant-relive-with-lid -ideology?

  3. I can understand some limits to transferring information and caching things -- taking time -- but why not to have or at least try to have an instant mode to kill the computer after closing the lid so that the computer won't heat up even by accident after closing the lid?

Perhaps related

  1. [OS-agnostic] Power on laptop without opening lid

  2. [OS-related] Laptop not powering down when lid is closed, but when lid is opened

  3. [OS-agnostic] Is there any way to execute something when closing the laptop's lid?

P.s. I am looking for a hardware-based/OS-independent solution to shut down or somehow freeze the computer because it looks like almost all laptops tend to have this problem, particularly when they become older.

  • I had a Legend (old Lenovo) laptop that had some sort of BIOS-powered hibernate that required the use of a separate utility to make a hibernate partition. That's as close as you can come with hardware hibernation. It seems these days the hardware just makes the sleep mode available to the OS, and each OS chooses their methods to accomplish it. – cyanic Sep 19 '12 at 23:15
  • ...I am feeling that most Laptops are just ancient pile of junk: let's take my iPad as an example that I can in a way use as a Laptop with BT -keyboard, it never heats up and you use it as you like it. Perhaps in its core, this is a responsibility -problem, it is hard to claim whose fault it is now: HW manufacturer or OS? Just my ideas, I just feel that you need to find out as minimal End-user -toy so it cannot heat up by accident or better it cannot heat up, so frustrated to killing laptops because of this bug...perhaps keeping things in cloud/my-servers is the way to go. – hhh Sep 19 '12 at 23:23
  • My friend's new iPad certain does get uncomfortably hot. – Karan Sep 20 '12 at 0:14
  • 1
    To answer your helper questions, some people don't want that behavior. It tends to be one of the first things I switch off on a new laptop. For example, I like being able to close my laptop's screen if an external display is attached. – terdon Sep 20 '12 at 0:32
  • 1
    Looking back at your question, I see "instant kill". You're comparing a laptop to a mobile device. Laptops are designed to use a lot of power, and generate a lot of heat, if you so choose to have a powerful processor and all the rest of that good stuff. Mobile devices are designed to be mobile, with enough power to get things done but still consuming little energy. <To be continued> – cyanic Sep 20 '12 at 14:22

The solution to your problem is to configure your OS to sleep/hibernate when the lid-switch is triggered. There is no OS-independent, hardware-based solution for your problem.

  • 1
    "There is no OS-independent, hardware-based solution for your problem." I feel there is: passive-cooling, low-end devices such as iPad i.e. selecting a proper device -- other? The device should not generate too much heat. Ofc I would like to find something more than just iPad or make other laptops work like that, without too much hacking. – hhh Sep 19 '12 at 23:42
  • 1
    I think you think wrong. Tablets cover different use cases than laptops. The tasks many laptops are used for require far more performance than a tablet provides. – Ansgar Wiechers Sep 19 '12 at 23:45
  • 1
    Well the iPad does not even come close to even basic laptops when it comes to processing power. So, it does not need as much cooling. – tumchaaditya Nov 15 '13 at 17:46

I had an older laptop that would heat up in my bag (It was an old HP). Sometimes the little latch wouldn't trigger the hibernate mode (I think the little piece of plastic was broken).

Unfortunately, I don't know of any non-OS way of hibernating a laptop. If you're looking for a completely OS independent solution, then shutting down is my answer.

If you're willing to compromise a little on that restriction and you've already tried configuring your OS to hibernate when the lid is closed, and it isn't hibernating, check to make sure the laptop registers a 'closed lid'. Just watch the lights on the laptop, or try to manually trigger it with a small screwdriver (it's usually a little button near the base of the screen). If it doesn't, you could just try to hibernate manually before closing the lid. If the button works, and closing the lid is recognized by the OS, then I'd check to make sure you're hibernating and not just turning the screen off.

If your computer is hibernating and still heating up, then I'd say it isn't actually hibernating properly, or there's some deeper problem. If that's the case, customer support for your laptop may have an existing solution, or you may have to resort to simply shutting down your laptop.

Hope that helps!

  • I remember that my old Satellite would have some BIOS trick where it would appear that there was no BIOS screen on hibernate resume. – Simon Kuang Feb 9 '14 at 1:28

Specifically ThinkPads feature a completely independent embedded controller (abbreviated to EC by Lenovo in for example BIOS update release notes) handling tasks like fans and battery. Therefore, it should be possible to implement some kind of emergency shutdown procedure for Lenovo.

My first thoughts about such a procedure for protecting hardware is

  1. provide access to all temperature sensors and fans to the EC and monitor them
  2. implement an algorithm for detecting dangerous situations, e.g. quickly increasing temperatures on all sensors concurrently
  3. in case the alarm is activated: enable all possible ways of throttling (force CPU+GPU lowest clock speed)
  4. sending the shutdown ACPI call to the OS as soon as possible, similar to pressing the power key, but it's not exactly the same. This should prevent Windows from installing updates and Linux Desktop Environments to wait 60 seconds from user confirmation.
  5. set a bit in some BIOS register to show an informational message to the user next time it boots up "your machines has shut down due to ..."
  6. Give the OS 60 seconds to send the final ACPI command after halting, else shut it of hard. Or, when the temperature is increasing too fast: emergency forced power off.
  • For some reason that sounds familiar. I had Mac OS X installed on an HP laptop before, and if I run some processing intensive apps more often than not it would instantly die after reaching some temperature. I didn't fix the DSDT yet, so the critical temperature is always prematurely triggered. Maybe most laptops already have this implemented? – cyanic Sep 20 '12 at 14:36

Don't compare a mobile device with laptop. Laptops are designed for more performance and thus more heat generation.
As far as your problem is concerned, there is no OS agnostic solution.

  1. Configure respective OS's to shutdown or sleep the laptop when you close the lid.
  2. In case of Windows laptops, go to command prompt(as administrator) and run powercfg -devicequery wake_armed to check which devices are allowed to wake up computer(in your bag). Although this would only matter if you hibernate/sleep on lid. Nothing can wake up laptop from shutdown state other than hitting power button. You can find the full article here.
  3. There should be something similar for OS X.
  4. If there is any problem with lid switch, configure power button to shutdown laptop. That way, just hit the power button and put it in the bag. You will have perfectly cool laptop when you take it out.

Tell your computer to sleep or hibernate when the lid is closed. Simply do this by completing these steps:

  1. Open Start Menu.
  2. Type in "Power Options" (should be under control panel). Click it.
  3. On the left panel you should see "Choose what closing the lid does". Click it.
  4. Look down the page and you should now see "when I close the lid".
  5. You can now look to the left and change "do nothing" to "sleep", "shutdown", or "hibernate".

I've had this happen with a ThinkPad X230 — with way too many browser tabs open and quite heavy paging, I would close the lid, and then right away would start carrying the laptop to a different location in town, walking, and upon my arrival to the destination, would note that the HDD continues its activity, and the system must have been still working all along, finally going to sleep only after I leave the laptop alone, after actually opening the lid up.

I've determined the cause: ThinkVantage Active Protection System.

In order to go to sleep, Windows 7 had to finish up with some page faults, and in order to finish with the page faults, it had to have access to a spinning disc, which would be interfered with by the ThinkPad's APS.

Solution? If you have a brand-name laptop with some kind of active protection system, make sure the system does successfully go to sleep, prior to putting the laptop into your bag.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.