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10 Tips and Tricks to Get the Most Out of Your Laptop

These tips and tricks will help you get the most out of your laptop so it runs better and longer than it ever has before.

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10 Tips and Tricks to Get the Most Out of Your Laptop

So many people own laptops today, and that’s a great thing.  However, most people have absolutely no idea how to properly care for and use their laptops to make sure they continue running in the best shape possible for a long time to come.  Of course, that is where I come in.  As always I am here to help you learn about your laptop and I am happy to do it.

Today, let’s take a look at 10 tips and tricks to get the most out of your laptop so it will run fast and be reliable for many years to come.  Just by following a few of these, I promise your laptop will run better and you will be better equipped to deal with a problem when it does occur, so you can get back up and running faster than ever before.

1. Always Run Virus Software

I know I have said this before but I’m going to say it again.  Install Virus Software.  Do it right now.  If you haven’t done it, stop reading this article and go do it.  I’ll wait…  All done?  Good.  Why do I say this?  Viruses and other forms of malware are lurking everywhere these days and it just isn’t safe to connect to the Internet without good quality antivirus software.  There are many different options out there today, both free and paid.  While I’m sure you don’t want to have to worry about it, you should be.  If you keep a lot of personal information on there, you must worry about it.  You wouldn’t leave your home without locking the doors would you?  So why would you leave your laptop on with the door wide open?

2. Remove Software You Don’t Need

Most laptops come with software pre-loaded onto it.  Basically, the hardware manufacturers got paid to put that on there even if you don’t want it.  When you turn on a new laptop, take a few minutes to remove all the junk software that you won’t use, as it is probably just slowing your system down.  If you install software and no longer use it, why keep it on there?  Remove it to free up that valuable hard drive space for something else.  Unwanted software only junks up our systems, slowing them down and taking up space.  So get rid of anything you don’t need or want so your system runs clean and fast.

3. Backup Your System

If there is one thing every laptop owner should do on occasion it is backup their system.  Your laptop contains everything involved in your digital life.  This includes your pictures, important work files, music, movies, and anything else you thought was important enough to save.  If you have a hardware problem, all of that could be gone in a flash.  How would you like to lose two years worth of family photos in about five seconds?  I don’t know anyone that would.  There are many ways you can backup your files.  You can buy an external hard drive and copy your files manually to it every now and then, or you could opt to go with a cloud solution using maybe OneDrive, Dropbox or even Google Drive.  This is currently my go to back up solution, as your files are available online and can easily be accessed from all of your devices and they are safe if something does go wrong.

4. Adjust Your Power Plans

The battery on your laptop is pretty important, especially if you need to use a computer far away from a wall outlet.  So, it is time to take care of it.  All systems allow you to configure multiple power plans for your computer that let you set things like when the computer sleeps, when the monitor turns off and sometimes even how fast your system actually runs.  Sit down and take the time to configure these plans.  Make sure you back down the power requirements at least a little bit while you are on battery.  This will reduce the wear and tear on your battery and help you get a little bit more use out of it when you aren’t near an electrical outlet.

5. Dim Your Display

I know, you like that screen really bright.  I understand.  So do I.  That is fine when you are plugged in, but not so fine when you are on battery.  The display is one of the most power hungry components of your computer.  So, dim your screen just a little bit, especially when you are on battery power.  This will help reduce the load on your battery so it lasts longer, but it will also help the backlighting on your display last longer too.  That is always good if you like to hold onto your laptops for long periods of time.

6. Extra AC Adapters

In many cases, you most likely take your laptop from home and to the office and then back again.  Instead of plugging and unplugging your power cable over and over every day, why not reduce wear and tear on the port on your machine as well as the adapter itself by picking up an additional one to keep at each location?  Not only is this easier on your cables and ports, but it means you have one less thing you have to worry about packing and carrying with you every day.  Ever gotten to work and realized your left your AC adapter at home?  I thought so.  Just get two so you never have to worry about it again.  Oh and one more thing, it is so convenient to grab and go knowing you have another adapter at home.

7. Grab Some Accessories

While your laptop comes with everything you need to use it, just a few accessories can really make them much easier to use.  At the bare minimum I recommend getting a good mouse, as trackpads aren’t the most fun to use.  If you really want to take it up a notch, you can try adding a keyboard and a monitor or two to create a full workstation that you can use much like you did with your old desktop.  Then, when you are ready, you can disconnect and still take your work and play on the road with you no matter where you are going.

8. Use a Good Bag

If you don’t take your laptop anywhere, this one may not be very important.  However, if you are a true road warrior and take your laptop with you wherever you go, then you need to invest in a good bag.  These bags can protect your laptop from damage and are also quite handy to have to store other items such as papers and files, tablets and more.  Don’t skimp with the bag.  Make sure you get one with enough padding to protect your laptop in the event of a fall.  Trust me, you will be glad you did when you see your laptop bag topple out of the car onto the hard pavement below.

9. Keep It Cool

The hardware in a laptop generates a lot of heat, and while modern processors don’t generate anywhere close to the amount of heat older processors did, they can still get very hot and even overheat, especially if you’re running a gaming laptop.  Take a look at your laptop.  Notice those vents on the side and sometimes even the bottom?  Those vents are designed to ventilate your system so your laptop can discharge that warm air to cool the components.  If you use your machine somewhere where it can’t breathe properly, it will heat up.  Make sure these vents stay clear and clean so your laptop doesn’t overheat, which could possibly damage the internal components.

10. Track It

Laptop theft is becoming an ever increasing problem across the world, with reports of stolen laptops skyrocketing in recent years.  On top of that, there are many instances of people losing their laptops while they are traveling either by leaving them somewhere or getting lost in luggage on complicated airline trips.  If you want to make sure this doesn’t happen to you, try installing some of the many different tracking applications that are available today.  These can help you locate a lost or stolen laptop in no time.  Just don’t try to go after that laptop yourself.  Always contact the authorities and get their help.

Bonus Tip:  Clean It

You would be surprised how many people never bother to clean their laptops.  It is amazing how filthy they can actually get.  You aren’t a slob at home so why are you’re a slob when it comes to your laptop?  Take a few minutes and blow away the dust from your keyboard and the vents in the case.  Using alcohol or other computer cleaners give it a good bath every once in a while.  Your computer will thank you.  Just make sure you don’t use soap and water.  It’s not human, after all.  Good alcohol or computer cleaning will do the trick.

Final Thoughts

Most of what I have covered today is common sense, but you would be surprised how many laptop users out there don’t give any of these a second thought.  Still, by taking just a few of these steps on a regular basis, you can greatly improve how well your laptop performs for you while at the same time making sure that your laptop is well cared for so it lasts you a long time.  Or at least until you are ready to leave that one behind and upgrade to something new.

Just remember, a computer that is well taken care of will run better, faster and longer compared to one that is not.  Laptops are just like almost anything in life.  If we do what we need to do to properly care for them, they will continue to work hard for us for quite some time.  If we don’t, we would be shopping for something new much sooner than we had hoped.

By Matt Garrett

Matt is an IT professional with over fifteen years experience supporting network infrastructure and computers. An avid gamer, Matt enjoys his time playing and writing about his experiences both in the IT world and in the gaming communities. You can find more of his writing on our sister ShopNinja sites where he enjoys talking about anything and everything tech.

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