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5 Do’s and Don’ts for Laptop Owners

These do’s and don’ts for laptop owners should help all laptop lovers out there keep their machines running in the best shape they can.

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5 Do’s and Don’ts for Laptop Owners

Have you just bought a new laptop?  Maybe you have one but you just want to do a better job of managing it so it runs the best it can.  Of course, if you aren’t an IT guy that works on these machines day in and day out, it can be hard to realize exactly what you need to do to best care for your laptop so it always runs its best.

So, today I have compiled a list of 5 do’s and don’ts for laptop owners that will help teach you what you need to do in order to properly care for your laptop so it continues to run quickly and efficiently.  My hope is that with this list you will learn some of the things that you should, and should not do on your laptop.

The Do’s

First, we will begin with the positive side of things, or rather what all laptop owners should be doing with any of their laptops.  Remember, it is never too late to start, so if you aren’t doing even one of these, why not pick today to begin.  By doing some of these, you can greatly improve how your machine will run and even repair your machine faster if something bad does happen.

1. Do install and run antivirus and antimalware software.

Viruses and malware are a huge problem today, especially if you own a Windows laptop.  One of the first things you should do with any new laptop is to install decent quality antivirus software and antimalware software.  This can help you clean your system if it does get infected and prevent you from having even more problems down the line. If you are running a budget laptop under $200-300 you may experience some performance issues with Antivirus – if this is the case, try a different Antivirus that is more lightweight to counteract your limited hardware.

2. Do backup your files and your system regularly.

I’ve lost count how many times people have accidentally deleted something on their systems and they wanted to get it back.  Of course, if they haven’t taken the time to back up their important documents this is usually impossible.  If you have a hard drive failure, everything can be lost in one instant.  Always back up your files and even your system so you are sure you never lose anything ever again.

3. Do keep all your documentation and installation discs handy.

When you run into trouble on your laptop, you may need to refer to the documentation from the manufacturer or even use the installation discs that came with it in order to restore it back to working order.  More often than not, these discs are usually lost or even discarded.  Put them in safe place where you can get them quickly if you do run into a problem.  It could mean the difference between a quick fix and a long drawn out repair process.

4. Do all Windows updates.

This one is a real biggie.  So many people put off Windows updates, ignore them or never bother with them at all.  Then they wonder why their machine isn’t running as well as it should.  While there can be problems with the updates, by and large the best practice is to turn on automatic updates and let it do its things.  This will ensure that you have the latest software and bug fixes as well as the latest security patches.

5. Do invest in a good case for your laptop.

While this may seem like a no brainer to many of you, I can’t tell you how many times I have seen people use their laptops and carry them around with them in cases that were never designed for a laptop in the first place.  When you get a laptop, invest in a decent quality case for it that provides plenty of room and the padding to protect your laptop if it happens to be dropped or hit while you travel.

The Don’ts

Now that you know a few things that you should be doing, it is time to look at a few of the negative things you may be doing but definitely shouldn’t be doing with your laptop.  So many laptop owners are guilty of doing many of these.  However, there is always time to start fresh.  Remember, if you own a laptop, try to avoid doing these things at all costs.

1. Don’t let others play on your laptop.

While you may have a family laptop that every shares, never do this for your personal laptop or a laptop you use for work.  You should be the only person to use it.  If you let others use it, remember that you give them control to do whatever they want.  If they install a virus, you will have to do deal with that.  They could even accidentally delete files that are import.  Remember, don’t give up that control to anyone unless you have no other choice.

2. Don’t leave your laptop unattended while traveling.

Laptop theft has become a major problem in this modern, technological world in which we live.  Sometimes they are just lost.  Other times they are picked up by thieves from unsuspecting travelers.  Whenever you travel, make sure that you keep your laptop close.  While you may be tempted to put it down after long walks through airports, don’t.  If you do, keep it right by you at all times and always keep an eye on it.

3. Don’t install anything from someone you don’t know.

If you receive a file or something to install from someone you don’t know, delete it.  Don’t do anything else with it.  While you may think it is harmless, this is one of the most common ways hackers try to infect computers with viruses.  If you get a file that you are asked to install, always consult with someone else before installing it or just delete it and move on with life.  If it does turn out to be something you need, you will be able to get it again.  I promise you that.

4. Don’t open email attachments from anyone you don’t know.

Like the above, phishing emails and emails with attachments are another way hackers try to get into your system to disrupt your life or even steal your sensitive information.  If you receive an email that asked you to go to a website or open a file and it is from someone you don’t know, delete the email.  It could be a virus or other types of malware designed to make your life a living hell.

5. Don’t mess with the Windows folder or registry.

The Windows folder on your hard drive and the Windows registry are too very important places on your computer.  They are not made to be messed with unless you really know what you are doing.  Now, you may be thinking why would I mess with that, but trust me, people do.  Once I had a user who “organized” the Windows folder and then couldn’t figure out why their machine stopped working.  Leave those areas to the experts and only mess with them if you have the help of someone in IT who knows what they are doing.

Bonus Tip

While I said there would be only five for each category, I decided to throw in one bonus tip for laptop owners everywhere.  If you have a problem and you aren’t sure what to do, don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Chances are you know someone in IT or you may even have a family member that is pretty good with computers.  If you don’t, you could always call your friendly neighborhood computer shop for the help you need.  Above all else, if you aren’t sure what you are doing, don’t try to fix it yourself.  In the end you could just cause yourself many more problems than you originally had and it could even make the repair even more time consuming and potentially expensive.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, my list of some of the top do’s and don’ts that every computer user, and especially laptop user, should heed and follow on a daily basis.  I think that if you follow both of these lists, you will have a much better computing experience.  In most cases, your laptop will run better and more efficiently and you won’t run into as many problems as you would if you didn’t follow this list.  So read the list again and make sure you take it to heart.  It could mean the difference between a laptop that runs great, and one that doesn’t run at all.

I would like to hear your thoughts about this list.  In the comments below, please feel free to sound off about anything you disagree or agree with, for that matter.  Did I leave something off these lists that you think should be there?  Tell me about it in the comments.  Maybe I will just expand the list based on the feedback from you so we can create a comprehensive list of do’s and don’ts that all laptop owners can follow.

In the end, we all want the same thing – a laptop that runs fast and works great for whatever we need for, and this list is here to help with that.  So please, if you think something should be added, let me know and we will see what we can do.

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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