Like many people, you probably can’t live without your laptop. You use it for writing reports, making presentations, keeping in touch with your friends, watching movies. It’s a useful, and probably very expensive, piece of equipment. So it makes sense to take good care of it! Laptop repairs are very, very pricey (most technicians recommend buying a new one instead) and just think of the inconvenience of having to transfer all your files. So—love your laptop, and it will love you back, for a very, very long time. Here are some tips.
1. Keep your laptop far, far away from food and liquids.
You probably like surfing the web in coffee shops, or munching on chips while Facebooking your friends, but remember—you court disaster each time. If you accidentally spill liquids on your keyboard, it’ll seep into the laptop and damage internal components. Worse, you could corrupt data (kiss your thesis and five years’ worth of digital photos goodbye!).
As for eating in front of your laptop, the crumbs can get into the keys and the circuitry, and you leave all sorts of ugly, sticky stains on the keyboard.
2. Wash your hands before using your laptop.
This will keep your keyboard looking clean and sparkly-new, and prevent your sweat (and any grime sticking to your fingers) from creating any wear and tear on the laptop coating.
3. Close your laptop very, very gently.
When you shut your laptop, hold the lid from the middle and then slowly push it down. Avoid holding it on just one side, and worse, banging it in a fit of anger. If you’re mad at somebody at work, go kick a table or something. It can take the abuse; your laptop can’t.
4. Lift it from the bottom.
Sure, the laptop’s portable, but it’s not exactly built for doing somersaults. When you lift it, scoop it up from the base and never the LCD display. You’ll stress out the hinges, plus put unnecessary pressure on the screen.
5. Take care of the laptop power cord.
Don’t yank the power cord out of the socket! Instead, hold it by the plug and wriggle it out. And, when you’re working, position the cord so it won’t get kicked, bumped, or entangled in the legs or wheels of your chair.
6. Match accessories to the right laptop slots.
You can plug a variety of accessories into your laptop. Just make sure that you’re connecting these into the correct slots. You can’t force a phone line into an Ethernet port—and even if you eventually realize that you’re being a dufus and put it in the right slot, you may have loosened or deformed the sockets. Many laptops have little symbols to guide you when you connect devices. Look before you link. Another import tip: insert the items at the right angle.
7. Take care of your laptop’s disc player.
Keep discs and other removable drives in storage boxes so they don’t get deformed and accidentally jam your laptop drive. And, as always, touch the disc player buttons with gentle, loving hands. If you like banging things, get a typewriter.
8. Avoid extreme temperature and temperature fluctuations.
Obviously, you shouldn’t be sticking your laptop into ovens or freezers, but that’s not the only possible source of damage. For example, a lot of people leave a laptop in the car. However, your car gets really hot during the summer, so you might as well have baked it with potatoes and a siding of gravy. During winter, after carrying it in the cold outdoors, let it warm to room temperature before using it. This prevents condensation, which will damage the circuitry.
9. Choose the right laptop bag.
The laptop bag should have cushioning material to protect it from bumps or the occasional fall (it happens). You should also choose the right size. If it’s too big, the laptop will move around and could slip out or get scratched. Ideally, the bag should also have securing straps, a zipper, and strong handle that won’t snap.
10. Get an annual cleaning.
Once a year, bring your laptop to a computer store and have it cleaned by a professional. It’s worth the fee. He will have the tools to get out all of the dust, grime and dirt that’s hidden deep in the laptop recesses, which can cause overheating and eventually make the motherboard break down.
11. Brush off the laptop exhaust.
Don’t wait till the annual cleaning to maintain the laptop’s internal air flow. Use an old tooth brush to remove dust bunnies and other grime from the exhaust fan screen.
12. Take care of the battery.
Avoid leaving your laptop plugged in for the whole day. This destroys the battery and eventually affects the optimal charge. It’s good to calibrate the laptop battery every other month (check your laptop manual).
13. Hold it steady.
Yes, it’s a laptop, and a lot of people do prop it on the lap (especially when working or watching movies in bed). But do remember to avoid sudden movements, which can jostle the hard drives while they’re spinning. You could damage that or lose important data.
14. Pay attention to weird noises.
Weird whirring, or a tell-tale clicking sound means just one thing: bring the laptop to the shop as soon as you can. Even if the machine is still working, it’s a sign that something’s wrong. Repair it before the damage gets worse (and more expensive to fix) and the data gets lost.
15. Invest in protective laptop accessories.
The cost of a hard casing, a protective screen, a sleeve, or any of the various accessories that are now being sold on the market are far, far less than what you’d spend repairing or replacing a damaged laptop.