Today's hard disks work in all orientations but there is a possible heat issue with the screen in the closed position.
For this reason we don't use laptops for data collection but single board computers. I'm now moving to those small ATOM based SBCs.
I use a Lenovo 3000C100 pure vanilla laptop running XP to monitor a remote pump station. Because of space limitations I have this laptop mounted in the door of the pump station ancillary equipment cabinet with the laptop screen closed. Actual viewing is accomplished using a remote access (Logmein.com) to view the unattended laptop screen over the internet from multiple remote locations.
The laptop operates normally when in the horizontal position with the screen closed (I have "do-nothing on screen closure" set), and I can view the laptop screen via the remote access. But within a few minutes (5-10) of moving the laptop to the vertical plane, the system will lockup and must be re-booted to put it back on line.
I'm theorizing that the HD does not like to function in the vertical plane, and when it fails to write the incoming data stream to the HD, the system locks up. Has anyone out there had a similar problem or have any ideas about why it occurs or a work around.