View Full Version : Vibration and notebooks

12-30-2002, 08:24 PM
Hi folks.
I'm a new member to this forum. I really love pcguide.com and have listed it on my website. Charles has obviously put in a tremendous amount of work in creating the PC Guide.

I have a few questions to start myself off. They're issues I struggle with quite a bit, because they make me somewhat paranoid:

1. How much vibration can notebook harddrives take before they start making errors, corrupting files, and so forth. I just bought a new IBM ThinkPad T30 and it's such an awesome machine, but I always worry about vibration from the environment. For instance, when I'm working away, I can often feel the vibration of passing cars and airplanes. It has happened several times while I have been installing software, and out of concern I've actually reinstalled software if I thought there were vibrations from the environment during the install. Needless to say, I've wasted a lot of time doing this---and also restarting my computer, which brings me to question 2..

2. Does restarting a computer many times in a short period of time shorten the life of the notebook?

3. Finally, can notebook harddrives overheat, thus causing them to create inadvertent errors and file corruption?

So many thanks if there are people out there who can share their knowledge with me. Best for the New Year!

12-30-2002, 08:45 PM
Start with #3 first...

Any electronic device can potentially overheat, but for the most part notebook components are designed to handle the amount of heat generated by normal use. Also it is better to set the machine on a hard surface, instead of a soft, fluffy one.

Now to the other two, since they are related.

Notebook hard drives are more vibration resistant than their desktop counterparts. And for any hard drive the roughest and most likely to fail time is during a power on event. (this is true for just about any electronics device)

12-30-2002, 09:06 PM
Thanks very much.

What is normal notebook use? I've had my notebook on, fully powered, for almost 24 hours now. Is this bad?

Right now, I can feel the harddrive under the place where my hand is resting. It's warm. Is this normal? Should I be concerned if it gets too hot?

In the last 2 days, I think I've restarted the computer (which windows insists on doing for me) almost 35 times. Another bad?

I have a feeling I've shaved off a year of life on this computer in just the first week of use!


12-30-2002, 09:36 PM
Hi Eddy-
Very normal for it to be warm. My suggestion is to just enjoy the thing and stop worrying so much! :)
Like mjc said, just try to use it on a hard surface for better ventilation and don't bang it around too much.

My o'l laptop has taken abuse beyond belief and is still buzzing along.

(Not that you should use yours for a hammer too!) :D

BTW- Nice web site...and welcome to http://www.pcguide.com/ubb/pcgubb.gif forums!

12-30-2002, 10:24 PM
Rebooting is not the same as a cold start. Powering up a drive from "OFF" is what is hard on it, rebooting is less taxing because everything is currently powered up and usually already "warmed up".

12-31-2002, 01:17 AM
It sounds like you are saying that Windoze is restarting your system frequently. While the other things you are concerned about don't seem to be a problem, whatever is causing the restarts may be. Do you know what the cause of these restarts is?


12-31-2002, 01:30 AM
Thanks everyone for the info. I am grateful---and obviously learning quite a lot.

The cause of the frequent restarts is me. For example, I think I reinstalled RealPlayer about 15 times because each time I did it, the tenants in the apartment below me were jumping up and down on the floor hard enough that I could hear my dishes rattling. With each reinstall, I restarted my computer to finish the process. Surely something I've done in the past few days is going to screw this machine up. I think I might have OCD or something :cool: Surely it can't be healthy to reinstall the same program this many times. I ended up doing the same with Flash, Quicktime, and WinZip. Everything seems to be working ok and hopefully it'll stay that way so long as I have more faith in my computer.

I guess I'm paranoid because I read countless articles about people whose drives have crashed because of vibrations. There was one in the Houston Chronicle about a woman who had to replace her drive; she blamed the crash on the construction that was going on next door. The author of the article (a help desk type of person) suggested that, indeed, vibrations from hammers and trucks could cause the heads of the drive to move erratically and make 'pock marks' all over the drive. Do I need to be worried about this? If I can have relative faith in the reliability of this notebook's drive, then I won't be doing all this ridiculous tinkering.

12-31-2002, 01:48 AM
Yea Eddie...Try to relax a little bit! :D
If your programs were "Installed successfully", no need to install them again because your neighbors were jumping up and down. ( Unless there was a problem with the install and the programs weren't working properly) ;)

Have a little faith and enjoy!
Night all...1:00am on the east coast! :eek:

PS- I honestly doubt the construction next door caused that womens hard drive to crash- Unless they were using a jack hammer on the same coffee table she was using her laptop!
With some basic general care, todays laptops are pretty reliable.
Good luck! :)

12-31-2002, 06:35 PM
Hello folks.
Well here's that magical article http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/tech/weekly/1609387/
What do you make of it?

I recall a similar post to another computer forum in which one user suggested that laptops not be used in cars or busses, because he knew people whose drives were damaged because of the up and down movement of the cars.

In the end, I guess what I really need to ensure is that my data is safe. Programs can be reinstalled, computers can be bought again. But alas, I read another forum posting that said sometimes programs (eg, Word, Netscape) get corrupted during installs and then insidiously corrupt files as the program reads or writes them. Other times, the files look ok when you view them, but are actually corrupted and when you go to view them in the future (or when you go to retrieve them off a backup media) they are corrupted (and not because of physical drive damage, but because they were corrupted when read by the faulty Word or Netscape). This too worries me because it suggests I can never know whether the files I have backed up---even if I can read them today---might not be readable tomorrow because something inside of them is making them behave erratically from time-to-time (again, the health of the media being ok and all other things being equal). I'm sort of dramatising this comment tongue-in-cheek to give a flavour of what I've read on online forums and I just want to know if there is any truth to this stuff.


12-31-2002, 07:49 PM
There is probably some truth to just about every horror story you hear, whether it be about computers or vampires. The point is that if you are careful and keep backups, you are far less likely to have a problem than if you just ignore basic maintenance. On the other hand, reinstallling the same program repeatedly is probably more likely to cause trouble than just putting it in and testing it to make sure it is running ok.


01-07-2003, 04:35 AM
...corrupted when read by the faulty Word or Netscape...
Well there's your problem right there! Using Word and Netscape! :p

Seriously, in both of those cases, it's still possible to use Notepad or Wordpad (or my little fav - Notetab) to "peel" the text from the corrupted file. Web pages have extensive formatting, so it takes a bit of extra work to get them back in shape, but still quite possible.

More often than not in cases of hard drive corruption/failure, files are lost completely rather than "messed up". If you truly value your data that much, just do regular updates every week or so on a CD-RW (two identical CD-RW's if you're super paranoid). Don't forget to test them afterwards to make sure they work! I keep a separate 20GB hard drive in my computer for my valuable data, just in case Windoze messes up big time.

For times when software becomes corrupted, a total reinstall will fix anything. Easy as pie (and half an hour) to get your system back to when you first got it! Just stop reinstalling everything 15 times! ;)