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How To Fix An Overheating Laptop Without Taking It Apart

How to fix an overheating laptop without taking it apart

To truly fix a laptop which is running too hot you really do need to take it apart and give it a good clean.

However, this isn’t for everyone and sometimes people just want to know how to fix an overheating laptop without taking it apart which is perfectly understandable.

There’s really only three ways you can fix an overheating laptop without taking it apart:

  1. Use a laptop cooling pad.
  2. Use compressed air.
  3. Reduce the power consumption.

Your laptop get’s hot because of the power being used, the heat is the result of dust becoming trapped in the ventilation areas designed to blow this dust out of the system and prevent it becoming clogged. The problem lies when people block the vents or run their laptop in a particulary dirty / dusty environment. Laptop are mobile by nature and so over time they naturally overheat anyway.

Using A Laptop Cooling Pad

Simple physics says that heat will become attracted to a colder surface and this is the premise behind a laptop cooling pad.

If you place a hot laptop directly onto a cool surface the heat will transfer to the cooler pad and allow your laptop to cool down, it essentially adds to the built in ventilation of your laptop.

We wrote an article recently answering the question “are cooling pads bad for laptops” which you can read by following that link.

I personally see a laptop cooling pad as a great way to reduce the temperature of an overheating laptop but should not replace maintenance from an experienced technician.

I don’t recommend shopping in a high street store for a laptop cooling pad because you will pay far too much for what you need, I’ve bought online and from the offline world for my customers over the years and learnt that if you go to a store you miss out on customer reviews and replace it with a sales person who will tell you anything to make the sale.

Here’s three laptop cooling pads that are worth their money:

1. Tecknet Laptop Cooling Pad

Tecknet laptop cooling pad
Image courtesy of Tecknet

One of the most popular laptop cooling pads the Tecknet laptop cooling pad is quiet, powered by USB and comes with cool blue LED lighting.

It has a working speed of 1200 RPM and is suitable laptops in the 12 to 17 inch range. The great thing about this particular pad is that it is quite, after all who wants to replace their noisy laptop fan with the noise of another fan right?

It is worth mentioning that you can’t turn these blue LED lights off and for some people this can be a bit annoying because they will obviously create a blue light effect under your laptop (which personally I think is cool).

It is very lightweight and portable, it will likely fit in your laptop case

2. Opolar LC05 Laptop With Vaccum Fan

OPOLAR Laptop Fan Cooler with Temperature Display
Image courtesy of Opolar

This particular laptop cooler is not a pad but the Opolar is a vacuum fan designed for laptops with side ventilation, it’s not suitable for every laptop but if you can see vents on the side of yours then you will benefit great from this device than a pad.

It operates at a variable speed depending upon the heat of your laptop and comes with a useful temperature display (speeds vary between 2600 and 5000 RPM).

You can switch between auto and manual modes for the fan controller, personally I don’t see the point – the device should be able to detect the correct speed required for the heat.

It works by attaching to your case (see image above) and is powered by a single USB port. You will need to be mindful of the clips when closing your laptop lid!

3. KLIM Cyclone Laptop Cooling Pad

KLIM Cyclone Laptop Cooling Pad
Image courtesy of KLIM

The KLIM Cyclone Laptop Cooling Pad is a bit of beast sporting it’s five high power fans. Four of the five rotate at 2200RPM with the final running at 1200 RPM.

This device too has blue LED lights which you cannot turn off and you should be aware of this before making a purchase (if it bothers you).

Buyers report this device as operating at a very quiet level and 2 additional USB ports to make up for the one that you will be using to power the pad up.

2. Use Compressed Air

A compressed air canister is a staple tool in the typical IT technicians toolkit and there are now much more powerful professional variations than ever before.

But every technican worth their salt knows that this once again is no substitute for a strip down and clean.

Blasting air into the vents on a laptop simply moves the dirt around, it may clear the path for the dirt to reach the external ventilation but if the dust is clogging up the CPU vent or heat sink then all the compress air in the world won’t solve your problem.

But it CAN act as a temporary solution to the problem of your laptop overheating and if you do it early enough in the life of your laptop then you should be able to blow the dust from one vent and out of another.

Here’s some of our recommendations:

1. Falcon Dust-Off Electronics Compressed Gas Duster

Falcon Dust-Off Electronics Compressed Gas Duster
Image courtesy of Falcon Dust-Off

Compressed air generally doesn’t last that long if you are an IT technician and so it’s worth buying canisters such as Falcon Dust-Off in multi-packs.

You can buy a wide range of brands when it comes to compressed air but we’ve been fans of Dust-Off for many years because it is reasonably cheap and very effective for what it does.

Simply point the nozzle into the ventilation of the laptop and give it a good squirt, hopefully the dust will clear and exit through another vent and you’ve done the job!

2. Electric Cordless Compress Air Can

Electric Cordless Compress Air Can
Image courtesy of AFMAT

This electric and cordless version of a compressed air canister is the next step up for the serious laptop cleaner.

You do pay a bit more than you would for a can of compressed air but (and this is true especially if you are a laptop technician) you actually save in the long run because it outlives any disposable equivalent device.

Running for 30 minutes on a single charge and capable of producing in excess of 5000 uses in it’s live time – work out how much you would save investing in this rather than continually buying canisters!

3. DataVac Computer Cleaner 

DataVac Computer Cleaner
Image courtesy of Datavac

When you are ready to take things up to the next level the super powerful DataVac Computer Cleaner is the way to go.

More environmentally friendly than canisters which use gas and have a production cost to produce, this all steel reusable device comes with a variety of nozzles and is suitable for more than just cleaning a laptop (check out their description).

3. Reduce Power Consumption

The third and most simplest way to reduce the heat that you laptop is pumping out is to close some of your programs.

It is usually the CPU that creates most of the heat problems, the way this works is that a thermal paste sits on to top of your CPU which helps dissipate the heat out through a combined heat sink and fan. Additional motherboard fan(s) then ensure that the heat is directed out of one of the ventilation ports.

So with this in mind ask yourself what a CPU does?

It performs the calculations required to run programs.

If you give it less work to do then you will reduce the work load and therefore reduce the heat being produced.

Start with the obvious things like closing the amount of tabs you have open in your internet browser.

There could be any number of programs running in the background, some you will know about and some you will not.

Especially if you are not active in the prevention of malware or housekeeping of computer junk.

See our guides on:

To find out what other programs are running open up your task manager which you can do by either

  1. Searching for it in your program menu OR
  2. Pressing CTRL + ALT + Delete and selecting Task Manager
  3. Right clicking on your task bar and selecting Task Manager
Task Manager

You will be able to see what your computer is spending it’s time and energy on and make a call whether you want to close that particular energy vampire or not. If you don’t know what a program does we recommend Googling it first otherwise you may wind up closing an essential Operating System program by mistake and have to restart your laptop.

To Recap & Sum Up

It really is worth taking the time to either learn how to fix your laptop yourself by following our laptop repair guides here on Tekmoz or paying somebody knows what they’re doing to do it for you.

Blowing compressed air or using a laptop cooling pad is not a permanent solution to a laptop which is overheating but it will solve the problem in the short term for you.

A laptop running hot can cause all sorts of problems such as random reboots, lagging games and software that takes an age to run so the solutions outlined here all have their uses.

My Laptop Screen is Black

my laptop screen is black

My laptop screen is black” – don’t panic the chances are there is a simple cause. We’ve put together a guide to show you how to fix a black screen of death. Over 20 years of laptop repair has shown us these are the most common faults.

  1. Your laptop is off or dead
  2. Your brightness control has been turned down
  3. You have a second screen (external monitor) and it is turned off
  4. The function button to black the screen has been pressed
  5. Your screen is broken
  6. Your graphics chip is broken
  7. There is a break in the internal VGA cable

Before started to fault diagnose your black laptop screen you should apply a bit of common sense. Have you recently dropped or banged the laptop? Has it been subject to any liquid damage? Has the screen been bent backward further than it is supposed to?

Your laptop screen is black – look for the obvious causes first

Laptops by their very design are meant to be portable and this is where we see most faults that come into our workshop – they get banged, dropped, liquid spilled on them and all sorts of everyday occurrences that happen when they are being transported properly (this is why laptop sleeves were invented!)

So before you start poking and prodding and pulling cables out of places you never knew existed on your laptop, start with “what has changed recently?”

It is worth mentioning here that if you are in a school or an office where practical jokes are acceptable to check for brightness controls etc being toyed with, follow our steps below:

Has your laptop screen gone black? Here’s how to fix it…

If nothing is so obvious such as a bit dent in the lid of your laptop or your screen is smashed etc then read on and find the solution to your problem.

Let’s begin with the most obvious ones:

1 – Your laptop is off or dead

Seriously – does your laptop have power? Check the obvious things like the power socket is switched on at the wall and the power block cables are securely fitted and the power jack is seated in your laptop socket properly.

Most laptops have at least one LED that shows there is some activity which means your laptop is turned on and getting power.

You may be able to hear your laptop fan turning around or if you don’t have a solid state hard drive you could hear the mechnisms moving, failing this try your CAPS LOCK button to see if it illuminates.

Again, apply a bit of common sense – it’s an electronic item, does it have a power source?

If you cannot see any signs of life in your laptop or hear any noises then this could well be why your laptop screen is black.

2 – Your brightness control has been turned down

Laptops have “function keys” and these are usually the row above your numeric row and range from F1 to F12.

These are short cuts that allow you to access certain functions such as your screen brightness.

Here is that button on my laptop:

function-key-to-turn-the-brightness-down-and-make-my-laptop-screen-go-black

Could it be that somebody is playing a prank on you and they have turned the brightness down?

Assuming you have power to your laptop and it is turned on and running then try turning the brightness control up and see if this resolves the issue.

The function button to black the screen has been pressed

3 – You have a second screen (external monitor) and it is turned off

This could have easily been the first point I raised. Unplug the VGA or HDMI cable from your laptop if you have an external monitor plugged in.

Does this resolve the problem? Yes. Check the monitor is receiving power (i.e. is it plugged in and the socket switch on) and turned on.

Are you able to see any indicator light to show it is active?

Some monitors show a splash screen with a logo or other message on it when they are turned on but have no data signal.

If this now fixes your problem then the issue is to get the monitor not to show a black screen so check:

The laptop output is correctly selected. Check that your output is correct in your laptop settings – there is usually a shortcut function button that will cycle through the various options that allows you to do this or you can right click on your desktop and check your display settings:

function key to change screens on laptop when screen is black

By pressing this key repeatedly it should cycle through these or very similar options for your laptop display:

  • Laptop screen only
  • External monitor only
  • Duplicate the image on both screens
  • Extend the image across both screens
laptop-screen-black-try-selecting-the-correct-monitor

The input on your monitor is selected correctly. In other words if you have a VGA cable then is your VGA input selected for input? If you have an HDMI cable…you get the idea.

Is there a problem with your cable? If your HDMI or VGA cable has suffered from some sort of damage (most likely physical such as getting caught under your office chair or trapped in folding bit of your computer table) then test it by replacing it with a known good cable. Does it work now?

4 – Your screen is broken

Your laptop screen could be dead. This is unusual but not impossible. What is more likely is that your screen is actually very faint but the picture is still actually there.

The reason your laptop screen image could be faint or difficult to see is down to a device called the FL Inverter which is actually pretty simple to replace yourself.

We have a tutorial on Tekmoz that shows you how to take apart a laptop screen for replacing and you can easily replace the inverter yourself.

But how do you know this is the fault?

Check 1. Plug an external monitor into the laptop. Does a picture show on the external monitor? If it does then it could be the inverter is broken.

Check 2. Are you able to see the desktop image at all on the laptop screen? Is it there but really faint or hard to see? If yes then this is usually down to a faulty FL Inverter.

FL Inverter
An FL Inverter

How to replace your FL Inverter

Step 1. Remove your inverter. You can follow our guide (which apologies for but is an older video and needs updating) to remove your screen.

Step 2. Find the serial number written on the inverter.

Step 3. Search for it online. You should expect to pay around $15 – $20 for one (click here to check prices) or £20 to £30 for our UK audience click to check prices)

5 – There is a break in the internal VGA cable

If you have watched the video above or already taken your laptop apart (here’s a guide on how to take any laptop apart) and you are sure your FL is working and that it is not a simple issue such as the screen brightness is down or the output is not set correctly then the fault could be related to the VGA cable which connects your motherboard onto your laptop screen.

This cable (which changes the voltage so it is suitable for the screen to operate) to the screen itself may simply be loose (I’ve seen this a number of times and it’s usually due to people bending the laptop case part with the screen on it too far backward).

It looks something like this:

LCD Display ribbon cable for laptop

It connects from the motherboard to the back of the screen, here’s how that looks on the board:

removing-a-display-unit

You can buy a replacement ribbon cable here or search online for your laptop model.

So if you are up to the task follow our video above (or search on iFixit.com for your laptop model) and check that the cable is

seated properly

is not snapped or broken in any way

is not wedged somewhere within the laptop case (which is common when they get dropped and a corner smashes).

Check these things to eliminate the display cable is not at fault. Like most faults with a laptop if it has experienced a drop or being banged (I’ve seen a laptop ran over in car when it was in a bag) this is when things go wrong and a cable being yanked out it’s correct position is quite common.

6 – It could software related

Does the issue happen only when your operating system has loaded?

During the POST phase (Pre Operating System Test) if you can see your screen image then you could well be looking at a fault related to your Operating System.

The simple check to see if either your operating system or a driver issue is causing the fault is to boot up to a boot disc such as Hirens (see this link).

If you are able to boot to a recovery disc or to a boot CD (or boot USB) then you are now looking to roll back that latest video driver or look for a windows patch / update.

If you are using a MAC or Linux then I wish you all the best but I cannot help you further at this point.

7 – Your graphics chip is broken

If you have check all of the other issues above then another explanation could be that your GPU has failed.

It is only really be eliminating all other possibilites that you can ascertain that it could be this at fault and it only be replacing it that you can check to see if this is true.

If you are lucky enough to have a 2nd laptop the same as the one which is faulty then you can always temporarily try your first screen on this second laptop to see if the screen works but this technique is usually reserved for technicians who have access to a number of laptops such as in a school or business.

Other symptoms and things that could cause a laptop screen to go black

The list above is based on many years of fixing laptops and seeing this fault time and time again, that’s not to say however it couldn’t be something else.

Here’s some other things it could be and what you can do about it.

It’s your RAM. It’s not likely but if your RAM is corrupt then this could cause a fault in either your boot process or the screen from showing up. The simple fix is to reboot and watch what happens.

My laptop screen randomly goes black. If this happens when you are just working away on your laptop and not moving the screen back or forth then you could be looking at a fault with the graphics chip. Use a second monitor to check what happens, if the second monitor goes black too then you’re likely looking at a graphical chip problem.

If it does not go black however you’re probably looking at a problem as described above.

The screen goes black when I move the case lid. This is likely due to a display cable not being seated properly (see above) and you can take the screen out to check this in the reverse of the lid or at the other end where it sits within the motherboard.

This type of fault usually occurs after your laptop takes a knock or is dropped or the laptop lid is forced back further than it ought to be.

My screen shows up in safe mode. If your screen is showing up when you boot into safe mode then you are either looking at a driver issue or a recently installed Windows update has caused a conflict. You should be able to resolve this by booting into recovery mode and rolling back your recent changes.

A virus has made my screen go black. This is possible too. I’ve seen people in forums suggest that you run the explorer.exe command to refresh your Windows installation but this is not a fix, you may as well just reboot.

The tricky part may actually be identifying that it is in fact a virus causing the issue but the screen going black alone is not usually the only symptom and most people who experience a virus know that something is not right with their computer by the way it behaves.

If you are experiencing suspicious activity with the way your computer is behaving then start looking at this as a possible cause too.

The key to this type solution is to remove the virus. See our guide here.

Summary

If your laptop screen suddenly went black then you have experienced what is known as “the black screen of death”.

Don’t worry though too much because 90% of the time there is a simple fix.

This article has been arranged so you can check the obvious things to begin with and then move on to the more intricate or fiddly things that could be causing the issue.

The points above, i.e:

  1. Your laptop is off or dead
  2. Your brightness control has been turned down
  3. You have a second screen (external monitor) and it is turned off
  4. The function button to black the screen has been pressed
  5. Your screen is broken
  6. Your graphics chip is broken
  7. There is a break in the internal VGA cable

cover the vast majority of faults we’ve seen over the years when repairing laptops and they represent how to fix the most common issues but that doesn’t mean to say it is a complete guide.

There could be other reasons why your laptop screen is black and here are some other less likely but nevertheless worthy explanations (see below).


Related Questions

My Dell laptop screen is black, how do I fix it?

All of the fixes above will work with any model of laptop. The function keys and the VGA ribbon display cables etc may look different but the principles are the same.

This is something that we teach here at Tekmoz – all laptops share a common theme in terms of the way they operate, if you can figure out the similarities and the differences you should be able to troubleshoot any brand of laptop.

My Lenovo screen is black, how do I fix it?

This is the same as the answer for the Dell above, all laptops are primarily the same so treat the fault and the solution as the same.

I have an Apple Mac and my screen is black, how do I fix it?

Mac’s don’t break (LOL). I can’t help you, sorry.

What is the black screen of death?

This is what this whole article is above “my laptop screen is black” in other words you have experienced the dreaded BLACK SCREEN OF DEATH.

My HP laptop screen goes black but still running

All of the suggestions in this article will help you. If your screen is black on your HP (the brand doesn’t matter, the principles are the same) but it still running then start at the top of this article and work your way through the suggested fixes. We’ve been repairing laptops for 20 years and it is usually down to one of these issues and can be repaired quite easily most of the time.

My laptop screen wont turn on but has power

This is the same as the “black screen of death” and by reading this article from the top you should be able to ascertain the issue you are facing and find the solution to fixing it.

How do you fix a flickering laptop screen?

This is slightly different to a black screen but it is likely that the solution is the same so check the suggestions in this article and see if they help, if not then send us a message and we’ll see if we can help you further.

Are Cooling Pads Bad For Laptops?

Are Cooling Pads Bad For Laptops image

Taking a laptop apart is not for everybody but sometimes when a laptop is overheating this is the only way to fix the issue but if you want to look at alternative options a cooling pad may be the way to go.

Question is are cooling pads bad for laptops? They’re not bad as such but they don’t solve the problem. An overheating laptop is caused by dust blocking the ventilation and therefore the overflow which is supposed to cool down the components is not as effective. If you use a laptop pad to cool down the laptop you are not solving the problem.

The issue with opening your laptop is:

  1. You’ll probably void your warranty
  2. Unless you are confident in what you are doing you could break it

The first port of call should be to use a vaccuum or hoover and hold the nozzle against the ventilation of your laptop, this will pull some of the dust out but not all but if you start it early enough when the problem first arises you will likely alleviate the issue and prolong the amount of time it would take for the laptop to experience issues due to overheating.

We don’t recommend you using a cannister of compressed air in the vent as this will just blow the dust back into the laptop which just end up causing an issue somewhere else.

Why are cooling pads bad for laptops?

In simple terms because they don’t solve the problem they are sticking plaster.

Laptops are designed with a cooling system built in which in terms of the form factor and internal structure is optimal for the purpose of the laptop.

If you have a gaming laptop this will rely heavily upon it’s cooling system because of the amount of work the components need to do in order to give you a good gaming experience.

But when a component uses electricity it also generates heat and this need to be dealt with. In the instance of chips such as the CPU they have a heat sink which sits on top of them with a blob of thermal paste to enhance the heat transfer away from the chip. That heat then dissipates throughout the heat sink and a fan blows air across the heat sink allowing it to cool down.

Other components don’t have a heat sink and just rely upon the fans to do the cooling down.

The heat still needs to ventilate though and you can these on the outside of your laptop.

So with all of this in mind here are the things that can go wrong:

The thermal paste can dry up which means heat will not transfer away from the chip sufficiently.

The symptom of this is your laptop starts to lag or randomly restart and this is caused by the laptop trying to self preserve itself, it restarts because it cannot cope with the workload being asked of it.

Dust is essentially dead skin cells that collect together to form a powder. This collection of dust is floating around all around us and it also gathers inside electronic items (such as your laptop).

If the fans are not able to vent the hot air outward then the hot air stays inside the laptop which in turn causes the cooling system to start working overtime, the results being a noisy laptop.

If you don’t clear the dust which has clogged up the ventilation the problem will not go away.

If you blow the dust back into the laptop you still do not solve the problem as the cooling system still needs to work hard to blow enough air across the components which are now covered in the dust you blew back into the laptop.

Why are cooling pads good for laptops?

If you laptop heats up too much and the thermal paste dries up you will end up doing some serious damage to the components inside.

A cooling pad is a good solution without having to take the laptop apart.

As long as you regular use a vacuum to remove the dust from the vents then a cooling pad helps a cooling system do it’s job, the result is a laptop which is now not as noisy.

Which cooling pad should you buy?

Cooling pads do the same job and they don’t tend to have a huge price difference between them.

Where the price starts to vary is when the manufacturer starts adding additional features such as:

  • A quieter fan
  • Built in USB sockets
  • LED’s for aesthetics
  • Tilting mounts
  • Digital temperature readouts

You do need to make sure that you buy a cooling pad size which is suitable for the size of your laptop though.

In the many years I’ve been repairing laptops it’s usually either a gaming laptop that overheats and causes damage or an older laptop that has been allowed to gather dust.

For that reason I recommend this particular laptop cooling pad simply because it is suitable for both of these scenarios.

If you have an older laptop and it is running hot then you need to ideally have it serviced and the dust removed but if you don’t you’re going to need some serious cooling and our recommendation will suit both users of older laptops AND gamers who are experiencing problems related to an overheating laptop.

Fix the overheating problem with a more permanent solution

If you want to remove the dust you can either take it to a local repair technician or do it yourself.

You can follow our guide to laptop disassembly here which is a generic guide to being able to take any laptop make or model apart and put it back together again or you could take it to a local laptop repair technician.

If you decide to do it yourself all you need to do is to ensure that once the case is separated and you can access the ventilation from the inside that you remove the clogged dirt.

The best way to do this I’ve found is by using a clean paintbrush and poke it’s bristles into the vent to push the dirt out.

Use a compressed can of air to give the whole motherboard a going over too which will remove any surface dust which could pool together later to cause another clog.

You should also look to remove the dust from any heat sink you see and if you feel confident enough (and please be careful) remove the heat sink to check the thermal paste is still wet (it should be gooey).

If it looks like its dried up then it’s not expensive to buy a syringe off Amazon (here’s our choice, we like to use Artic Silver) and apply a small amount back onto the chip which will aid the heat transfer into the heat sink.

People also ask:

Do laptop cooling pads actually work?

Yes they do work in order to cool the laptop down but they shouldn’t be a permanent solution to the problem of a laptop overheating, they do however aid the cooling system built into a laptop to prevent any serious damage from occurring and if you are not in a position to start opening up your laptop to correct the issue then controlling the heating issue is the next best thing.

Are laptop cooling pads noisy?

They vary. Their particular noise amount is usually detailed in their product description but most manufacturers are aware that the purpose of the pad is to stop that noisy fan on your laptop from making so much noise therefore it doesn’t make sense to create a new device designed to cool a laptop down which make even more noise! In short no they’re generally not noisy but check the manufacturer description (and if you are buying from somewhere like Ebay or Amazon check people’s reviews who already bought it too).

What will happen if my laptop gets too hot?

The first signs of a laptop that is getting too hot is sluggish behaviour and random restarts. If this is happening and you can hear your fan working ten to the dozen then you have an overheating issue. If this is caused by dust clogging up your machine (this is the most likely reason however malware and the overuse of software can also cause the components to work overtime) then you need to stop this from happening. If you don’t then the component will fail and if that happens your laptop will stop working.

We live in an age where it is not cost effective to diagnose and replace individual components anymore unless there’s a good reason to and most computer technicians will simply replace a faulty circuit rather than the component on it.

So if the component fails and it’s on your motherboard you really are in trouble. Your choice is either to enlist the help of a specialist electronics expert or to replace the motherboard which as you can image will be very price.

The simple solution? Don’t let your laptop overheat in the first place.

Is It Safe To Pack Your Laptop Into Your Suitcase?

is it safe to pack your laptop in your suitcase tekmoz

Today we’re going to answer the question ” Is it safe to pack your laptop in your suitcase?”

The short answer is no, you should check it in with your hand luggage or have it shipped separately. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. Baggage handlers won’t have the safety of your precious laptop on their mind when they are slinging your luggage into the hold or onto the conveyor belt.
  2. Most airlines now ban lithium-ion batteries from the hold because they can be prone to exploding due to the atmospheric conditions.

That’s not to say you can’t do it because there are plenty of ways to try and keep it safe while it’s in your case such as putting it into a laptop sleeve or wrapping it in lots of clothes first but you must remove the laptop battery first and you are not allowed to stow spare batteries in the hold either.

The number 1 reason we see laptops come in for repair is due to them taking knocks and bumps when being ported around. If you take it into the cabin with you OR if you decide to stow it in the hold here’s our advice for keeping it as safe as possible.

How to make sure your laptop is physically safe

Laptops by their very definition are designed to be portable, this means that they at some point are likely to experience some damage from moving them around.

Even if you are super careful at some point there’s a good chance you will experience a knock or two – after all nobody ever sets out to have an accident!

We’ve seen thousands of laptops damaged over the years from accidental bangs and scrapes but that’s not to say you can’t prepare as best you can for the worst case scenario.

Here’s our advice on how to stow your laptop safely:

Use a laptop sleeve

Whenever you are not using your laptop and are carrying it around we recommend you put it into a laptop sleeve and if possible also have this sleeve then placed into a laptop bag or other sturdy bag.

We wrote a whole article about what a laptop sleeve is and isn’t which you can see here but the short version is the best bang for the buck comes from the AmazonBasics for just $11 there are many high priced designer versions too and in a variety of materials but we really like the AmazonBasic for it’s low price and just does what it says on the tin approach.

AmazonBasics 13 inch laptop sleeve

A laptop sleeve is roughly the size of your laptop but generally doesn’t have handles but does have a zip.

You can store your laptop in this sleeve and if you are not on the move you can charge your laptop by opening the corner zip slightly to feed the cable into it.

The point of the sleeve is like a bumper on a car, it’s there to take the impact of the bumps and knocks it will inevitably face within it’s lifespan and prevent the damage from actually occurring to your laptop.

If it DOES get damaged, here’s how to tackle this problem:

First of all it depends upon the damage. Follow our laptop repair guide if you want to repair it yourself whether it’s a cracked screen, smashed case or if the power cable has snapped off in the port.

Your most precious element of your laptop is undoubtedly going to be your data.

Whether this is the latest accounts for your business, photo’s of your family or precious cargo you sure don’t want to lose this information.

There are a few scenarios:

  1. You have lost the data because the laptop won’t boot
  2. You lost the data because your hard drive is damaged
  3. You lost the data because the laptop won’t turn on

In very simple terms here’s how to tackle each of these issues:

You have lost the data because the laptop won’t boot

Download HIRENS BOOT CD from this location (it’s free)

A boot CD such as Hirens can also be ran from a USB stick (you can also run it from an external CD/DVD drive if you don’t have an optical drive in your laptop).

When you boot your laptop up it will run a basic Operating System from the CD or USB drive and allow you to access your files on your hard drive.

Copy the data you find onto a DVD, USB stick or external drive.

This is obviously a very simple description for more options see our post on recovering data from a hard drive.

Here’s a guide on how to make a USB bootabls Hirens boot drive courtesy of Britec09:

You lost the data because the laptop won’t turn on

If you have access to a second computer or laptop then you can pickup a special connector cable, like this one which you can attach to your hard drive and then insert into your second computer / laptop.

sata-ide-converter

Your dead hard drive should show up as a new drive on your second computer allowing you to grab what you need.

This-computer-screenshot

You lost the data because your hard drive is damaged

If your case is severely damaged and it is obvious that the drive is crushed then your only option will be to send the drive to a specialist data recovery company who will forensically take the drive apart in an attempt to recover the platters containing the data.

If you drive makes a clicking sound or does not power on then it is likely the associated circuit board has failed and again there is not easy fix and you will need to send it off to a data recovery specialist to be recovered.

Are laptops banned from checked luggage?

It’s not so much that laptops are banned, it’s because they contain a lithium-ion battery which when subject to the type of conditions found in a hold at high altitude can be susceptible to expansion which causes them to become volatile – something airlines understandably don’t want on their jets.

A solution is to remove the battery from the laptop and declare it when passing through security or alternatively take the laptop into the cabin with you but make sure you stick to the rules regarding when you can and can’t use it.

The US Homeland Security & banned devices

In 2017 the department of Homeland Security in the United States banned electronic devices on flights to the U.S. from 10 airports in eight Muslim-majority countries in North Africa and the Middle East.

This move apparently is related to bomb makers being able to devise explosive devices from the equipment.

See this link https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/03/21/fact-sheet-aviation-security-enhancements-select-last-point-departure-airports for more information.

To quote:

Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation and are aggressively pursuing innovative methods to undertake their attacks, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items. Based on this information, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and Transportation Security Administration Acting Administrator Huban Gowadia have determined it is necessary to enhance security procedures for passengers at certain last point of departure airports to the United States.


Related questions:

People often have related questions to the main one above and this is our opportunity to try and be as helpful as we possibly can be. If there are any other questions that you would like us to try and answer then please let us know and we’ll do our best to find out the answer for you.

Which countries have restrictions on laptops in checked luggage?

It varies. You should check with your individual airlines for the correct advice, the information we have given here is related to the majority of airlines and their policies and we offer advice on how to keep you laptop safe if you do opt for stowing it in your checked luggage.

Can I keep my laptop charger with my laptop?

You should take your laptop charger into the cabin with you. There is no real reason why you would separate the two items anyway but most airlines have a rule of no chargers (including phone chargers) allowed in the hold.

Can I take a spare laptop battery with me onto a plane?

Any spare laptop battery must be declared through security and taken into the cabin with you. Airlines do not allow spare batteries into the hold. The reason for this is already stated above – they are susceptible to ambient temperatures and environmental conditions that could cause them to explode. They also offer a potential way for terrorists to make bombs out devices (apparently, however if this is the case then how is it any different to them being stowed in the cabin?)

Do laptops count as carry on luggage?

Airlines allow for a personal item in addition to a cabin bag to be taken into the cabin, this includes a laptop or a purse. As long as the personal item can be stowed under the seat in front of you then you can take it on board with you and have it classed as an additional personal item so yes it is safe to take your laptop on with you but we recommend you use a laptop sleeve rather than a laptop bag because of the difference in size.

What is a Laptop Sleeve?

what is a laptop sleeve

Laptops were our lifeblood for many years here at Tekmoz and we know them inside and out (literally). Laptop’s are portable and this contributes to most of the damage they receive so it’s wise to think about protecting them.

What is a laptop sleeve? A laptop sleeve is a protective cover much like a laptop bag but usually doesn’t have handles (some do), it’s more like a folder with a zip. Laptop sleeves come in a wide variety of styles and designs. By putting your laptop into a laptop sleeve and then inside your bag this offers the best protection possible. With the advancement of smart bags a laptop sleeve in some instances can be attached directly to your smart bag for easy transportation.

The vast majority of problems we’ve repaired here at Tekmoz with laptops are nearly always related to physical damage caused by carrying a laptop around. They get banged, they get dropped and people leave pens on the keyboard and close the lid causing the screen to smash.

So we believe that just by carrying your laptop in a bag alone is not sufficient (somebody actually accidentally drove over my bag and crushed my laptop once), to get the best chance of protecting your laptop put it into a sleeve and then into your bag.

But not all laptop sleeves are created equal.

Which Laptop Sleeve Should I Buy?

It really depends on your budget and if you need to consider how stylish you want your laptop sleeve to look, especially if you have an important business meeting.

Most laptop sleeves are either made from polyester, suede, microfiber or nylon. Most have a structure which is designed to resist against impact.

Our Top Picks For Laptop Sleeves

Here at Tekmoz we’re usually more concerned about fixing laptops and other gadgets than trying to sell you something that you don’t need and that is why our first choice is the AmazonBasics laptop sleeve, it has everything that you need in terms of protection, style and is light weight for portability.

The AmazonBasics laptop sleeve is one of the best selling in the world when it comes to laptop sleeves too and it’s easy to see why.

AmazonBasics 13 inch laptop sleeve

Not only does it look stylish but it also does everything that you would need and a cost of around $11 (check for the correct price) you really can’t go wrong, it has style and comes in at a great price.

The size ranges from 7 inch to 17.3 inches and comes in a range of colors. There is a lot more to tell about this great sleeve but have a look for yourself and make your own mind up, hopefully you’ll agree with me.

Amazon also do a felt version too which is designed for a 15.4 inch MacBook or similar sized laptop (see image below):

AmazonBasics felt laptop sleeve.jpg

Priced a little high but with a deserved price increase due to it’s fantastic styled look and sleek protection.

Stylish Laptop Sleeves

But for those with a higher budget who want to dress to to impress and walk into a high end business meeting with all the right gear then here’s a few of our top picks:

Kayond Canvas Water-Resistant 13 inch Laptop sleeve

Kayond Canvas Water-Resistant 13 inch Laptop Sleeve

Made from a water-resistant neoprene material this 13 inch sleeve offers fantastic protection and is very light in weight at just 0.6 lb. Made primarily for the mac book this should fit any similar size laptop.

The price varies (check it here) depending upon the pattern you choose.

The interior is compartmentalised and has space for your other neccessary items. The interior is well very soft (velvety soft) and the padding is very dense making for superior protection.

People who bought this sleeve often mention that due to the corner zip this makes it really convenient to charge your laptop whilst it is in the bag.

Kate spade new york Sleeve for 13″ MacBook, 13″ Laptop – Rose Gold Glitter

kate spade new york Sleeve for 13" MacBook, 13" Laptop - Rose Gold Glitter

This stylish laptop sleeve from Kate Spade is available in different colors and styles (we are showing the rose gold glitter version here) and is made from VEGAN LEATHER.

It has a stylish luxe gold zipper detail to it and is designed for a 13″ MacBook or similar size laptop (or smaller).

It weighs a little more than some sleeves at 1.18 lb but is still light enough to carry easily enough without much effort.

The price is around $69 (check here for the exact price) so if you are not afraid to spend a little more (or buy a great gift) this is a great purchase.

There are many other stylish laptop sleeves available and it makes sense to pick on that is right for you, we’re not here to show you a full range (that’s the job of sites like Amazon and Ebay) we just want to show you that these things are out there to buy and give you an idea of what is available but please go check them out for yourself there really is a huge range of styles and designs.

Gaming Laptop Sleeves

There is no difference between a “normal” laptop sleeve and a gaming laptop sleeve except that your gaming laptop may be bigger and so you need to buy one that is suitable for the size of your laptop.

There are also a wide range of styles where the exterior design of the sleeve can add to the cool factor, a quick Google image search will give you an idea (too many to list here).

Something that you may want to consider is the position of the zip. Ideally you will want to keep your laptop charged when it is inside the sleeve and for this you will need a zip which opens from the corner allowing for the charging cable to feed inside and therefore allowing you to charge the laptop while not using it.

How To Measure Your Laptop For a Laptop Sleeve

This is a great question and one that is important unless you want to buy a sleeve that is too small for your laptop.

There are plenty of videos on YouTube which will show you how to measure your laptop screen but basically all you need to do is to measure your laptop from corner to corner and the depth of it.

Laptop sleeves are usually advertised for their screen size so go ahead and measure your screen size from corner to corner (I also recommend measuring your actual laptop itself so you have a clear idea) and don’t forget to measure your height.

Some older laptops can be quite thick and you will have to bear this is mind when you make your purchase.

If you ever unsure then it is wise to ask before you buy, also check out what other people have already asked if this is an option or simply do a Google search for the answer. Failing that, get on the phone and ask the question directly to the seller who will be able to help you.

Can You Wash A Laptop Sleeve?

We’ve looked at quite a few manufacturers to get this information and the simple is no it is not recommended in most instances but you really should check out the label or instructions that came with your sleeve in the first instance.

The advice given by most manufacturers is not to put it into the washing machine but use other cleaning methods, be careful about using any harsh chemicals or abrasives as these may damage the case.

It’s probably best just to use some warm water and try and dab any marks of the case. One thing to remember is the damage you are trying to remove from that sleeve would have otherwise have happened to your laptop!

People also ask:

Are Laptop Sleeves Necessary?

No they’re not but accidents do and will continue to happen and if you want your laptop to stay as protected as possible it’s a worthwhile investment. Your precious laptop will stand a much better chance of staying protected if it also is places inside your laptop bag once it is in the sleeve itself.

What is the Point of a Laptop Sleeve?

They are an alternative storage and transportation method to a laptop bag or standard bag. Because most damage occurs when they are carted about this is when you need to protect them the most and so a laptop sleeve is there to offer that extra peace of mind knowing you’re doing everything you can to protect your laptop.

What Laptop Sleeve Should I Buy?

It depends on your needs. Most people buy a laptop sleeve because it adds protection to your laptop but now you don’t need to lug a bag around. they are light in weight but also very stylish and there are a huge number of styles and designed for you to choose from. Tekmoz are not an ecommerce store we’re here to help you choose the right equipment and fix it when it goes wrong so our advice is to check out the range that’s out there and refer back to our advice when needed.

What is a Smart Bag?

Tekmoz laptop repair tutorial image

Smart bags represent a leap forward in terms of personal technology and a great contribution to the category of wearable technology. Although not everybody has fallen in love with them and we’ve seen some controversy with airlines banning them in some instances. We’ll cover this and more in this article.

First of all what is a smart bag? A smart is a bag that utilizes technology. It contains a battery which can be used to power itself and other devices such as your phone. Although they vary in size and capabilities, in general they feature:

  • GPS tracking – in case your lose your luggage or if your bag is stolen
  • Charging capabilities for other devices such as your phone via USB socket
  • Earphone jack for listening on the move
  • RFID blocking liners to prevent identity theft (not all bags have this)
  • Built in weighing scale for convenient checking before you check your bag if you are flying

There are even some versions of smart luggage with powered wheels which can effectively turn them into a portable ride on moped, check out this video courtesy of TechZone:

//youtu.be/eJluAXFVCAk

While the world of high tech luggage is very exciting to some people it’s not good news for the airlines who won’t be as welcoming of your brand new smart luggage as you would like (see below).

Why is it called a smart bag & what does it do?

It is called a smart bag (also known as smart luggage) because it has a battery and a circuit board which allow it do things that ordinary bags cannot do.

The bag has certain features which make it more than an ordinary bag, as the opening paragraph in this article mentions these bags have GPS tracking which means that if your luggage goes missing or is stolen you can track it using GPS.

They also have a built in weighing scale which is really handy to check that you are not overweight if you intend to carry your bag into the cabin of a plane.

Another feature that smart bags have is that they have a USB port which you can charge your phone in and also other devices.

Some bags also have an earphone jack which means you can plug your headphones directly into your bag and listen to audio as you travel.

There are some variations of smart luggage that have their own powered wheels and camera. This variation can follow you around with the need for you to pick the bag up, they also have object recognition which means not only can they manoeuvre around people and structures but they can recognise your face too.

The more expensive versions come equipped with a bracelet which can alert you if your bag is more than 2 metres away from you.

Is a smart bag a brand?

No there are many manufacturers of these smart bags it is not a brand. The phrase “smart bag” simply describes a bag that has more features than a standard bag (see above).

Well known luggage manufacturers such as Samsonite have launched their own smart bags but the birth of the smart bag has also given rise to a number of start up companies too.

What are some examples of smart bag?

Here are some of my favorites:

Kaning Airwheel Suitcase Scooter

Price: Around $820 (click the image to check the latest price)

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTGiD02Nh08

The Kaning Airwheel Suitcase Scooter is an amazing suitcase you can ride on. It literally transforms from a suitcase into a compact moped.

Inside there’s an aircraft grade aluminium frame suitable for supporting people weighing up to 90Kg.

It can travel up to 10MPH and has a capacity of 29.3 Litres and is waterproof.

Ovis by ForwardX

Price: Not yet available to purchase at the time of writing. See https://www.facebook.com/ForwardXRobotics/ for more details.

A suitcase that is capable of following it’s owner all on it’s own.

Ovis can travel up to 10MPH and will manouvre around objects as it encounters them.

if it falls more than 2 Metres behind you it will alert a bracelet that you wear on your wrist.

It comes equipped with “standard” smart bag features such as GPS tracking, USB charging, removable battery and thick wheels suitable for various terrains.

Carry-On Closet 2.0

Price: $200 but not yet available for sale.

carry-on-closet-smart-luggage

This is a portable closet which helps you keep all of your clothes neat and tidy on the move, unfortunately at the time of writing this is not yet available to purchase but check this link to find out if it has yet been released //www.kickstarter.com/projects/solgaarddesign/carry-on-closet-solgaard-suitcase-shelf-and-usb

Are smart bags just for travel or are there other uses?

No they’re not just for travel. Smart luggage is perfect for people flying (so long as your battery is removable) but smart bags are perfect for studnets and commuters for example who will benefit from the advantages of a smart bag.

Some smart bags are waterproof too which makes them perfect for hikers and campers or even if you are planning a fishing trip this makes it a perfect accompaniment.

Check out the different types of bag available here to get an idea of all of the types of bag that you can find.

Why are airlines banning smart bags?

The problem lies in the fact that smart bags have a battery and batteries are not allowed onto planes.

Smart bags have a lithium-ion battery and in most cases this is non-removable. In January 15th 2018 most airlines banned smart bags from their due to the fact that lithium-ion batteries when punctured can create a fire hazard.

VISICA now have this smart bag which not only is a fantastic 20″ carry on but it also has a removable battery.

Can I just remove the battery?

Not all smart bags have a removable battery so no you can’t, there are now some manufacturers who are making luggage with a removable battery (see the links above).

Airlines will likely ask you to remove the battery before you board.

Where can I buy a smart bag?

Most bags that you can buy anywhere are available on Amazon and have very competitive pricing if you buy from here.

Check out our reviews guide before you buy, spend your money wisely. Here at Tekmoz we like to look at every aspect of products that we recommend before they make it to our hitlist so you can be sure you will be getting a great quality purchase (coming soon).

Are they expensive?

There is a general price range of about $49.99 to $1000 depending upon what are looking for.

Simple smart luggage and bags contain the standard inventory items mentioned throughout this article but more expensive versions can have:

  • Ride on capabilities
  • Can follow you around using a smart camera to identify you and obstacles
  • The ability to grow or shrink in size depending upon how much storage space you need
  • Built in powerful speakers so you can blast music when you need to
  • Customizable skins so you can vary the style and design of your smart luggage.

What is a smart sleeve? Is this the same thing as a smart bag?

A smart sleeve is a pocket which is found on the side of a smart bag. Not all manufacturers include one but Samsonite do; here’s a video:

Are they more comfortable than a regular bag?

Manufacturers appear to have gone to great lengths to make their bag made of sturdy materials including the straps which inlcude a good amount of padding for comfort and also a design which is to be made comfortable for your back.

They also tend to have reflective strips on them which adds an extra element of safety.

Summary

Smart bags allow you to use technology by plugging it directly into your bag. They are designed to be carry on luggage for flying, for commuters or people traveling without flying and would like the benefit of smart technology.

There is a bright future for smart luggage and we are seeing new innovations all of the time, this is just the start of things and I personally am very excited to where things can go to. Smart bags are an extension of personal wearable tech and we moving forward at an incredible rate!

People also ask:

What is a smart bag with a lithium battery?

We cover this is detail in this article. A smart bag is a bag that needs a lithium-ion battery to power it’s functionality (such as GPS, weighing scale, USB port etc). Most bags have a battery which is non-removable but some manufacturers are now creating bags that have a removable battery.

Airlines will not allow a lithium-ion battery on their flight so if you are flying it is recommended to buy a bag with a removable battery such as this one.

What does a smart bag do?

This is covered in this article too but essentially a smart bag allows you to charge your phone from a built in USB socket, it has GPS tracking in case it is stolen and built in weighing scale if you are planning to take it onto a flight.

Are airlines banning smart bags?

Yes, as of January 15th 2018 most major airlines banned smart bags that have a non removable battery, thankfully there are now some manufacturers such as this one by VISICA where the battery IS removable and these are being allowed