Sony Corp. is recalling 230,000 VAIO computers (535,000 worldwide) because of a burn hazard, according to the Consumer Products Safety Commission. For details of the recall, see our Safety blog.
Today's recall of Sony laptops isn't the company's first encounter with overheating computers. Back in 2008, Sony recalled four VAIO models due to worries over potential burn hazards. The problem was caused by irregularities in the wiring and a loose screw inside the screen hinge, which could have caused a short-circuit and overheating. That recall affected 73,000 models in the U.S.
Sony's also been involved in recalls of overheating batteries. In 2008, the batteries, which were used in laptops from HP, Dell, Toshiba, and Compaq, caused at least 17 fires. Prior to that, the company recalled more than 9 million of its lithium-ion batteries, concerned over microscopic metal particles that might have penetrated the battery cells during manufacturing, leading to potential fire hazards.
For this latest recall, if you perform the remedy Sony recommends, be sure to carefully follow Sony's advice to avoid permanently damaging your computer. Don't attempt the update while running on battery power—make sure the laptop is plugged in. Don't let it go into hibernate or sleep mode. Close all other programs, and don't open programs during the update. It's wise to do a backup before anything else.