Managing laptop temperature

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Here in Australia summer temperatures can reach into the high 30’s and low 40’s (C) and as the ambient temperature climbs so does the temp of the hard disk. So it’s a concern when the running temp of a laptop is 50+ when the outside temp is only 25 degrees. We would expect the temp of the disk to rise to critical levels on a 35+ degree day.

Apart from the tangible heat you can feel with the palm of your hand or on your lap, many laptops have no early warning about overheating. Heat is something that must be managed otherwise:

  • your laptop could spontaneously shutdown or restart
  • your hard disk could die
  • raises the risk of data loss and file table corruption
  • you could lose access to the master file table and your data permanently

Active Hard Disk Monitor is a free tool to monitor the temp of your drives. After downloading and  installing a temp monitor icon is loaded into the system tray and a mousover will reveal the current temperature. Temp is read from the S.M.A.R.T interface on the drive and may need to be activated in the bios.

If the temp is 50+ you are in the warning area and would be advised to buy a laptop cooler. One of our preferences is the Zalman NC-2000 with very quiet dual centrifugal fans, which may reduce your temp by a critical 5 degrees and bring it into a safe working temp.

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