Laptop bag causes laptop to overheat

We received a trouble call in late 2017, from a customer complaining that their laptop had suffered premature failure on numerous occasions over the year.

They had replaced the laptop HDD (Hard Disk Drive) and Motherboard a couple of times during 2017 and wanted to know if we had any advice or idea about why this was happening. This situation was very alarming as a laptop shouldn’t suffer multiple failures in such a short space of time.

After some investigation and probing questions, it came to light that the customer was simply closing the laptop lid and immediately sliding it into their laptop bag.

This action causes a couple of problems:
Firstly, the laptop hasn’t had time to cool down. Secondly, the laptop enters “Sleep” mode when the lid is shut. It is therefore still active and producing heat. You can understand that a few minutes in a sealed laptop bag subjects the laptop’s internal components to a very high heat.

The number one rule with electronics is that they must be allowed to breathe in order to cool the internal components. If heat is allowed to build up too frequently, it will cause premature failure resulting in a catastrophic break down.

To help mitigate this problem, we recommended to the customer to do one of two things:
Choose to “shut down” the laptop completely. When I said this, the customer immediately complained that it took too much time for the laptop to boot up. This prompted the second recommendation which was to set the laptop to “hibernate” when the laptop lid is closed. This action greatly shortens the boot up time but puts the laptop in a power state where the amount of power used is the same as if the laptop is shut down completely.

The Hibernate mode is not normally enabled on a laptop, so please consult the user manual on how to set this action.

After the laptop has been shut down or put into Hibernate, let it sit for a couple of minutes to let the internal heat dissipate.

Fast forward to 2018. We received a follow up call telling us that the customer was very happy with our advice and that it has helped keep his laptop from overheating.