Can you set an HP slimline computer on its side?

Last Updated on March 1, 2022 by Dave Farquhar

Here’s a question that came up the other day. Can you set an HP slimline computer on its side?


How anticlimactic of me.

My Slimline 7220n has rubber pads on both the bottom and on one side of it, so clearly it was intended to be used either way. I have mine set on its side right now, sitting under my monitor, in fact.

Anymore it doesn’t matter whether you lay a computer vertically or horizontally, other than needing to make sure that it can still get adequate ventilation. When you’re choosing which side to lay the computer on, the ports should all be closest to your desk or table surface. If the writing on the back of the computer is upside down, flip it over.

If you’re really paranoid, go to a frame store or craft store and get some of the stick-on rubber feet that are meant to stick on be back of picture frames to protect the wall. Stick those on the computer’s new underside to elevate it a little bit. Then it will be able to get some airflow on all four sides.

Now, there was a time when switching from desktop to tower configuration or back could cause trouble. But that was a long time ago. If you have a long memory, you may recall that you used to have to do a low-level format on your hard drive if you flipped the case around. But that’s not true anymore. IDE hard drives got rid of that ancient ritual. Any drive made since the mid 1990s, at the very latest, can adjust to a change of position without harm. I only bring this up because some people may have vague memories of this, like they remember other things we once thought were a bad idea, like putting a computer on carpet. Today’s hard drives can adjust to changes of environment, unlike some of their 1980s predecessors.

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2 thoughts on “Can you set an HP slimline computer on its side?

  • March 30, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    The only caveat with putting any computer on its side that I’m aware of is that a lot of optical drives don’t work well (or at all) if the drive tray is vertical. Obviously not an issue if the optical drive is one of those notebook-style ones where you clip the disk onto a spindle.

  • March 31, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    Good point. In the case of a Slimline, the optical drive ends up horizontal if you place it on the side. So with this particular line, that’s not an issue.

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