Laptops in Cars

R. Baunach asked if the inertia of a moving car can hurt a spinning hard drive.

The inertia of normal driving shouldn't cause any harm. People use their laptops on trains and buses all of the time--some of the buses in my area even offer WiFi.

I used to own an MP3 player with a hard drive, and I played it frequently--plugged into my car's sound system--while driving. That didn't seem to bother it.

But the sudden deacceleration of an accident or near-accident could cause a passenger to lose control of their laptop. If it slams into the dashboard, you could end up with an ex-laptop.

And the likelihood of your experiencing such sudden deacceleration goes up exponentially if you're using the laptop while driving. If you slam into a tree while surfing the Web at 60mph, your shattered laptop will be the least of your worries.

Add your comments to this article below. If you have other tech questions, email them to me at, or post them to a community of helpful folks on the PCW Answer Line forum.

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