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The Do’s and Don’ts of Laptop Ownership

As we mentioned previously, nearly every computing and communication technology is becoming more geared toward mobility.  The workhorses of that movement are the classic laptop.  The laptop was the original mobile computing device.  The IBM 5100, the first commercially available portable computer, appeared in September 1975.  Laptops are also known as notebooks, ultrabooks, and netbooks.

laptop

Out of all of the personal mobile computing devices on the market today, the laptop is still the leader, although that lead is slimming due to the popularity of tablets.  Chances are you know someone that owns a laptop, or you own one yourself.  Because of the proliferation of these devices, and the amount of laptop repairs we see at Geek Easy Computers on a weekly basis; we thought it pertinent to post some Do’s and Dont’s for all of our laptop owning fans!

Let’s start with some important DON’TS:

Never EVER pick up your laptop by the screen! – When you do that, all of the stress and weight of the machine is focused on the weakest area of the laptop, the hinge.  I can’t tell you how many damaged hinges we see on a regular basis.  90% of the time, lifting the computer by the screen is the culprit.  Also by lifting the laptop this way, you can unintentionally twist the LCD causing it to crack/splinter, which can end up being a costly repair.

Don’t shake, drop, or toss your laptop! – Even though the laptop is meant to be mobile, the hard drive inside of it is still vulnerable to damage from rough handling.  You may think it’s harmless to toss your computer onto your bed, but that could cause the read/write head of the hard drive to come into contact with the data platters which would result in lost or corrupted data.  That’s no fun.

Make sure your laptop is actually turned off before putting it in your bag! – This one is a major cause of overheating issues, especially with college students.  Most laptops have a “sleep” function which will pause your computer and put it to “sleep” so you can resume at a later time without rebooting. The issue with this is that it doesn’t actually power off your computer.  That means that your hard drive, processor, and fan are still empowered and possibly in use.  This results in generated heat.  With your laptop in your bag, there is no air circulation, so there is no where for the excess heat to go.  It stays in your laptop where it can and will eventually damage your circuitry.  It may take a few more moments to do it, but trust us, it will be worth it in the long run.  Power down your laptop.

And probably the most obvious “don’t”, but the one we see way too often:  Don’t spill liquids on your laptop!  Now I know what you’re thinking; no one does that on purpose! That’s true, at least I would hope so.  This tip is more for what not to do when it does happen.  The IMMEDIATE first thing you should do is power down and unplug your laptop.  Then remove the battery.  That way there is small chance of any electricity interacting with the liquid (electricity + water = corrosion).  Next, flip the laptop upside down like a tent.  This should allow the liquid to drain away from the electronics.  DO NOT turn it back on,  DO NOT try to take it apart.  Unless you are a trained technician with hardware testing tools, there is most likely nothing for you to see anyway as most corrosion is invisible.  Take it as soon as possible to a computer repair professional for a complete evaluation.  Time is of the essence here.  The quicker a tech can get his/her hands on it, the quicker they may be able to stop the spread of the corrosion.

 

The above actions probably cause the majority of laptop repairs that we see.  Now that we’ve told you what NOT to do, here’s a few DO’S to help prolong the life of your laptop:

If you’ve had your laptop over 12 months, get a tune-up!  I know we mention this a lot.  We’ve covered the reasons in depth here!  Cleaning the debris, hair, and dust buildup out of your laptop, re-applying the thermal paste (helps dissipate heat away from the processor), and general maintenance can add months to the life of your computer.  Especially if done on a regular basis, like every 6-8 months.

Keep your laptop cool! – This is another “life pro-longer .  The cooler your laptop runs, the faster, smoother its going to run, with less “stress” on the processor.  Most laptops have vents that let air circulate, but some are less than adequate.  One way to help them out is to use a laptop cooler.  This is an accessory that usually has one or more powered fans, that when placed under a laptop, directs cool air into the laptop.  They are usually pretty inexpensive and available in different sizes, styles and shapes.  Another easy way to avoid overheating is to make sure there is airflow around the computer.  This means using it on a hard surface like a table or desk, and NOT a soft surface like a comforter or a plush rug, or ironically, your lap.

Keep your laptop clean! – Crumbs, dust, and all kinds of debris can get in your laptop keyboard, vents, and other crevices if you’re not careful.  Periodically clean them out with compressed air or at the very least, a soft brush.  Remember, the better you treat it, the longer it will last.

The above simple tips will make your computer last longer and make your ownership of your laptop more enjoyable and productive!  If you have any questions or if you’ve got a favorite tip that we haven’t covered, give us a call or email us!  We’d like to hear from you!

 

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