If you’re anything like the rest of us, you depend on your laptop to make it through the day. What used to be a handy tool for writing, has now overshadowed the old dusty television completely – and we need it for so much more than just entertainment. While some people are technical wizards and performed their first computer surgery already as teenagers, others tend to call these people when things go down, half-hysterical over the loss of precious pictures.
Wouldn’t it be nice to take matters into your own hands instead?
Use this guide to prevent your laptop from falling ill and as an emergency guide in case something has already gone wrong. It only takes a few tricks and tweaks, really, to make it perform as it should and serve you loyally for many more years to come.
Basic Maintenance: Protection and Storage
Let’s start with the kind of maintenance our older brothers would have taught us some years back already, the stuff we’ve forgotten about a long time ago. We should probably have listened. Anyway, the first step to a long and loving relationship from here on is to install and make use of virus protection. These programs protect you from viruses, spyware, and malware; it will protect your details, in other words, and ensure your privacy.
Find one that works well when you’re browsing as this is when you’re at most risk – and consider reading up on this article to know which websites you should stay clear of. You should be able to spot a dodgy website or a strange request from people you’ve never met, but it’s a reason that scammers and phishers are still in business. People fall for it, most likely those who’ve never read up on cyber safety, and that’s why we need to keep educating people on this.
They’ll snoop for information wherever they can, and may drop friendly messages in your Facebook account, Xbox, Skype – any profile you can think of, and they’ll try to befriend you there as well. Do what you want about it, but don’t tell them anything about yourself. Lie, if you want to, fool them senseless, and entertain yourself however you like, just don’t tell the truth for once.
Next, we need to talk about slow-running laptops. Little is more frustrating, except for slow WiFi, of course, and you should do what you can to make it light and quick. Save all of your precious files and memories to an external hard drive; it will make it work a lot faster without all that heavy weight, and you can save yourself the process of hard drive data recovery in case your internal one should call it a day. Buy one with a lot of storage space and use it as a safety net as well as a clever way of making your laptop operate more efficiently.
What you’ve done so far is the bare minimum of treating your device right. If you want it to be there for you for as long as possible, it’s a good idea to pamper its insides to a bit of cleanup as well. The better you take care of it, the less dust will gather up there, and you’ll have a way easier job in front of you.
Start by cleaning the monitor and keyboard, by the way, before starting on the internal maintenance. A dirty keyboard leaves you hammering on the same key over and over again, hoping it will produce the letter if you press it a bit harder. This is never a good idea; blowing compressed air into the keyboard will help to loosen any debris that might make them stick.
You can use a bit of alcohol on a cotton dab as well, and clean the area thoroughly if it is particularly dirty. Nothing says outdated laptop as a sticky keyboard, so keep it clean, people.
Internal Maintenance: Clutter and Battery
We’re moving on to the kind of work we would shy away from if it wasn’t for this whole thing with empowering ourselves – but internal maintenance isn’t all that bad. Most of it doesn’t even require you to open up your laptop as most of the software tools will already be installed on your computer. You can start by cleaning that dusty fan, for example, and unless it’s beyond the capabilities of compress air, you don’t need to perform surgery on it at all.
Keeping the fan clean is one of the most important things you can do for your laptop, as dust collecting on the fan will cause it to overheat – and burn up, eventually. Blow compressed air into the fan, as you did with the keyboard, to clear space for the fan to run smoothly again. If you’ve been with your laptop for the last decade and haven’t heard anything about blowing compressed air in it until now, you might need to give it a deep clean.
This does require you to open it up, but don’t worry – this detailed article will guide you through the whole process, but be prepared to sit up with it for a while.
Just like when you dragged your beloved files over to an external hard drive to keep them safe and clean up some space on your internal drive, you need to clean up the clutter on your desktop. If you don’t have a clue what you’re doing, it could be a good idea to install software to do this; CCleaner is a decent option, and it’s even for free, so there you go.
In case you’re up to date on what’s happening on your desktop and know how to handle this, it’s actually better to save the space on installing a software and just take care of it yourself. Empty the recycle bin as well, though, and remember to clean it up at least once a month to make sure your laptop is neat and clean.
When you’re thinking about your computer’s internal health, you should focus on its battery. Most of us start to notice that our trusted device is passed its glory days as it simply doesn’t last as long as it used to; what used to be a portable device is bound to be stationary, and just the smallest slip-up from its charger leads to a drained battery within minutes.
You’d want to rely on a functioning battery and an independent laptop, so let’s get started by draining its battery completely at least once a month and allow it to recharge fully. Your batteries need this draining and recharging cycle to be perfectly content and healthy, and only you can give it what it wants. Next, make it last longer by ensuring it’s in the right kind of temperature – which is the same as most rooms, by the way, and neither too hot nor too cold.
If you have a removable laptop battery, take it out and clean the metal contacts with a dry cloth and a bit of alcohol every couple of months. It’s an excellent boost to the transfer of energy between the battery and your computer and will keep those juices flowing as efficiently as possible.
You can tweak your power setting too, by the way, and significantly increase the number of hours you get out of your laptop. Simply go to the power saving settings on your device, and adjust the basic settings to spend less battery on the screen, for example, or head to the advanced settings to tweak the power saving options for its hard disk and WiFi adapter.
The first thing you should do if you’d like to increase the battery life is to reduce the amount of time it takes before your computer goes to sleep – after this, you can play with the other setting if it’s still not as long-lived as you’d like it to be.
Treating it right: Everyday Usage
As a final paragraph, we need to talk about how you treat your devices on a daily basis. It is, after all, what makes it tumble downhill so fast; if you’re as kind to it as you were on the day you brought it home from the store, it will reward you with many more years of service.
First of all, make sure it’s ventilated and that you’re not placing it on a soft or uneven surface, such as your bed or a soft blanket. If you’re also feeling slightly indignant over purchasing something called a laptop which you can’t even place on your lap without damaging it, you should have a look at these handy laptop stands. They’re lightweight and might even come with something ridiculously over the top, such as a small lamp or a cup holder; if it sounds too luxurious, just go for one that keeps your device from sliding downwards.
Needless to say, you need to keep liquids far away from it. If anything spills, do as you always do: panic for a second, call your housemate for help, and clean it up immediately. Computers are expensive stuff, and keeping it healthy is alfa omega to a happy wallet as well as ensuring that your work or studies are not interrupted by an unexpected catastrophe.
Do it with proper maintenance and cleaning, and it will reward you in spades.