Coffee break- watch out for burning mobile PCs


Coffee_manWhen I found out I was going to be on the radio I decided to take the Asus R2H UMPC with me because Techblogger Dwight Silverman had never played with a UMPC before.  Come on OEMs, the tech columnist for the Houston Chronicle has never played with a UMPC before.  What exactly are you doing? 

Back to the coffee break.  When I headed out the other night for the station I put the Asus in its little case and put that in my backpack.  The trip to the studio took about 30 minutes and as soon as we got set up in the booth I pulled the Asus out to hand it to Dwight.

and promptly almost dropped it because the Asus was so hot it literally burned my hands when I tried to pick it up!  It seems that it had decided to resume from standby while nestled in its neoprene case.  It was hotter than any mobile device I have ever held and it took fully 15 minutes for it to cool down.  I chalked it up to an unfortunate incident and forgot about it.

Today I attended several meetings and when the last one was over I put the Fujitsu into sleep mode and put it in the backpack in slate mode, like I do many times a day.  I headed across town and decided to stop in a Starbucks for a Frappuccino since it’s so hot in Houston already.  I get the Frap and sit down to do some work and as soon as I open the laptop pocket zipper I feel this heat emanating from it.  Oh no, it’s happened again with a different device.  No harm was done other than draining my battery for a half hour but I thought this problem would have been eliminated with Vista.  There is no way the OS should allow a sleeping device to be accidentally awakened, it’s the OS’ job to insure the safety of our devices. 

Hurry up and get the ModBook shipping!  Oops, gotta go, battery’s almost dead.  :(


Martin Munthe

This is a major issue with Vista. My Asus R2Hv wakes up in the middle of the night even with the hold key pressed. To me that’s a security hazard. Apart from the risk of the machine melting itself and all my work – It could turn into a fire. Totally unacceptable!

James Kendrick

I don’t use hibernate at all, have it disabled. The Vista Task Scheduler can indeed wake up the PC but I checked all scheduled tasks and they are all configured to not fire up if on battery power. I suspect that something fired up anyway.


I have it on good authority (Josh Einstein to be precise) that it is possible for the OS to wake the computer from standby, as it does when a PC goes from standby to hibernate on its own. Typically, this is done for power saving purposes. However, if your page file is fragmented, the computer cannot hibernate. Instead, it will wake from standby and stay on. I discovered last week that my page file was fragged, which was preventing my tablet from hibernating. If your PC is set to hibernate after being in standby for a certain period of time, but it stays on instead, defrag the hard drive.

Michael Geary

James, I don’t know what “sleep” is. Well, *I* know, but Windows doesn’t. It only has Standby and Hibernate modes. Stop using standby and use hibernate instead. This shuts the power off completely. Only the power switch will turn the machine on after that. At least that’s how notebook computers work, no promises om the UMPCs.

(Sent from my Pantech PN-820)


This happens to me too often. I would say that it starts up every 2 out of 5 standsby. I am facing also another problem with Standby mode: many times when I trun back on my Q1 I find it had shutted down all alone!! Any hint??


It seems I remember with the first generation of tablets that there was an issue with hibernation that would cause my TC1000 to waken when it tried to go from stand by to hibernate. I wonder if this is related somehow?



Mine are set to Hibernate after they’ve been in Stand By for thirty or sixty minutes (depending on how I set it for what my day looks like), and that has saved my battery some juice, but to do hibernate, it turns itself on for that purpose, that is, to copy the entire chipset memory to the disk, which takes about a minute.

I don’t think my Q1 has failed to hibernate properly, but I think in sliding it back into the neoprene case one time I must have neglected to slide the hold key and turned it on from either hibernate or stand by. When I pulled it out, it was hot to the touch, and the touch screen unit was fried. If I hadn’t have invested in the Samsung keyboard, I wouldn’t have known if anything else was fried, or just that (just the touch screen unit). About a ten day/two week repair under warranty.

And since it’s open season for spammers today at jkontherun, I’d like to make available–darn, I’ve got nothing to sell. Never mind.


James, by default a new task IS set up to not wake up a computer if only a battery power. But the option is there, which is why I suggested to investigate which task is firing and if possible, uncheck that option to allow resume on battery power.

James Kendrick

Mickey, I always make sure that the P1610 completely enters sleep mode. That is one step I NEVER overlook because of the potential danger of this situation.


I have had this problem with my Vista Ultimate desktop. I was putting it to sleep before bed, and it was waking by itself at some point before morning…sometimes within a few hours.

As everything else was fine, I didn’t bother to look into it any further, however, a quick google seems to suggest that it could be caused by the Media Center components of the OS.

Strangely, I have had no problems with my new Samsung Q35 running Home Premium yet :)

Mickey Segal

James: I don’t know the Asus or Fujitsu hardware, but is there some hardware indicator such as a flashing light that indicates that the computer has actually arrived into the desired sleep state?

If the computer actually is waking up from sleep this is a major problem. However, if this is simply a failure to go into sleep this problem is preventable by being on the lookout for problems in going into sleep.

On my Motion LS800 I see a failure to go into sleep a few percent of the time, and I recognize this by an indicator light staying on instead of flashing as it does during sleep. I have never seen spontaneous emergence from sleep after being sure the computer went into sleep.

I first discovered this problem when my jacket pocket seemed warmer than expected. Although there was some battery drainage, there was none of the same degree of overheating that one would get with a neoprene case.

James Kendrick

I should add that I have tested trying every button and pushing on the touchscreen while the unit is sleeping and I cannot manually make it resume that way. It is definitely an OS trigger that is making it come back on which is very disturbing to me. I MUST be confident that when I arrive at a destination that the battery has not been depleted by resuming on its own. I repeat, no matter what it triggering it when a device is on battery power the OS should NOT let anything turn the unit on. Mobile PCs can be seriously damaged by this event.

Kevin C. Tofel

I think James’ computers are just having bad dreams and can’t sleep. ;) Seriously, that’s not good at all. I’m sure it won’t help but what I’ve been doing as an added precaution is enabling the Hold button on my Q1P after putting the device to sleep. May not help if it’s an OS issue….

David UK

I had excatly the same thing happen to my Samsung Q1, a colleague of mine saw the Q1 for the first time and in delight picked it up, but to his alarm he dropped it immidiatly due to it being so hot and on further inspection the Q1 had got so hot it actually melted the outer casing where the heat exhaust is and distorted the power slide.

On reporting this to Samsung they were very concerned about the incident and arranged for the unit to be collected the very next day, after investigation from the technical team they discovered and internal problem with the heat sync had caused the unit to overheat and replced my Q1 with the new updated version (not the Ultra) and was back with me within 3 days, so hats of to Samsung for such lightening response!


This has happened to me a few times on my P1610 since I installed Vista on it. It never happened to me with any of my XP laptops. Because this is really annoying, not just because of the heat but also because it drains the battery, I have made it a point to “make sure” that the machine does go to sleep indeed (by either watching it on the screen or listening to it until it “sounds like its off”.

I think this is a Vista issue (another of those we’ll need to wait for a patch), and hope it gets fixed.


Had exactly the same thing happen with my first Vaio U3. Put it into it’s little neoprene case after showing a presentation (first day of ownership) and got it out out home to find a super heated little demon.

No harm done though. On an unrelated note, I just got a P1610 (love it) and after listening to the Cav’s Pistons game on my headphones it now refuses to use the speakers again. Plenty of sound through the earbuds ? You ever had this trouble?


Ive put a desktop to sleep in Vista b4 and watched it refuse to sleep by waking back up about 10 – 20 sec later. Very annoying.

Aaron Walker

I get the same thing happening occassionally on my desktop. Seems like a software patch should be in order where Standby/Sleep MEANS Sleep – period.

It is a minor curiosity on a desktop (I figure maybe the cat got on the desk and bumped the mouse), but a major issue on a laptop/umpc.

If not a software patch, then the OEMs should start putting a slider button similar to the one on my PSP for “hold” so that you manually have to move the switch to “wake” it back up.

James Kendrick

Not on battery power. The OS should NEVER wake up a device on battery power, because the OS can’t seem to put it back to sleep.


“There is no way the OS should allow a sleeping device to be accidentally awakened, it’s the OS’ job to insure the safety of our devices.”

However, sometimes, you *do* want the machine to wake up from sleep without your direct input (for instance, a timed event).

I would say check your check your Event Viewer logs (system, apps, etc.), and if nothing comes up, look for the Task Scheduler logs, under Microsoft-Windows-TaskScheduler/Operational (or directly in Task Scheduler, your choicE)

Marcus C.

I had that problem with my M4 tablet, and the error was due to one of two things: first, a button on the device which turns it on (the “OneNote Button” was ‘unlocked’ and became pressed when I put it in the bag; second, it never went into standby in the first place because of a windows error. I’ve also seen something about Wake-On-LAN being enabled, but I didn’t ever encounter that problem.

James Kendrick

Until this week I have only had this happen once in over 3 years. I watch the lights go out every single time I sleep it just so this won’t happen. Vista is letting the machine wake up somehow, maybe some software is wakening it.


I have had the same issues with my Q1P (Vista). I put it into standby…watch the screen go blank…drive to my next appointment…pull it out of my bag and either it is still on (blank screen, non responsive, but fan running) or it has rebooted and is sitting on the welcome screen…wierd!


Mickey Segal

Are you really sure the Tablet actually went into standby/sleep? I’ve seen instances in which commanding a Tablet to go into standby/sleep does not take effect, and the Tablet goes into a state in which it is on but dark.

I don’t know if this is a bug in Windows itself or a problem created by some driver, but it can cause problems due to overheating or just discharging batteries faster than expected.

I now try to always confirm by the flashing light sequences that the Tablet is actually in standby/sleep.

Comments are closed.