From toe to tip: Technology know-how for the snowy months

Students bracing against wind and snow outside
It's cold out there, folks!

By Elizabeth Jenike, IT Services

Winter has finally hit the Midwest with a vengeance. Brrrr. Your toes and nose are cold, but what about your tech?

Here are some tips for keeping your gadgets and gears humming throughout the cold season:

Don't leave your laptop in the car

A frozen hard drive isn't helping anyone - and this can even lead to corrupted data. According to technology information and support site Computer Hope, if a device goes from cold to warm too quickly, condensation can build up, which can wreak havoc on hard drives. Avoid this situation by never leaving electronics outside for too long.

Warm up devices slowly

If a device does get left outside, let it warm up slowly before booting. This can be done in steps. For instance, you can bring it into the coldest room of your house, e.g., the garage, and then a little later move to the second-coldest room, e.g., the hall bathroom next to the garage, and so on. Thawing the technology in increments helps avoid those pesky condensation issues.

Prolong battery life

Another reason to warm devices before use is battery life. Batteries discharge more quickly in cold weather, meaning your phone or laptop battery may die faster. The reason is a scientific one: Batteries are powered via chemical reactions spurred by an electric charge, and when the weather is too cold, the reaction happens more slowly. So, in order to prolong battery life, make sure the device is thawed before booting.

The long and the short of it is: Keep phones in pockets and use protective covering for laptops to avoid frozen devices this winter. But most important of all: Protect yourself! Bundle up and don't go outside in sub-zero temperatures unless you absolutely have to.

We'll see you in the spring!