While it’s true that the prices of laptops have fallen significantly over the last few years, they still cost quite a bit. More affordable laptops today may only cost you a few hundred bucks, but higher end laptops such as gaming laptops can run you in the thousands. When you buy one of these laptops, I’m sure you want to do everything you can do to keep it running for as long as possible. That’s why today I plan on discussing different ways you can care for your laptop.
Now, I have spent a great deal of time writing about how you care of the software of your laptop, and make no mistake that’s very important to the long term care of your laptop. However, you need to take a few steps to caring for your physical device as well. After all, if the software is in good shape but the case is about to fall apart, your laptop won’t last you too long. Let’s take a look at a few tips that will help you care for your laptop and keep it running for many years to come. Who knows, if you play your cards right, you may even be able to resell it, or at least repurpose it, when the time comes for you to upgrade.
Tip 1: Buy a Good Laptop Bag
In my opinion, this purchase should go hand in hand with your new laptop purchase, unless you already own one, that is. A good laptop bag will protect your laptop from the elements and keep it safe from the rigors of travel. If you it falls, the padding will offer you laptop a great deal of protection so it isn’t damaged.
Now, if you noticed, I said good laptop bag. Let me explain what I mean. A good laptop bag will have plenty of pockets for you to store your laptop and some peripherals that you may need while also offering a good amount of padding around the laptop area to keep it safe from scratches, dents and even cracks should you drop your laptop case or if it gets bumped around when you are travelling.
There are tons of different cases out there, some provide almost no protection to your device even if they look pretty cool. I suggest you avoid these at all costs and go with one that provides a decent amount of protection for your laptop while giving you the space you need to carry with you what you want to carry. Don’t skimp here, no matter how tempting it is. Trust me you will be glad you have a nice laptop bag if you do drop it. If you have a cheap one, your laptop may not survive the fall.
Tip 2: Keep the Liquid Away from Your Laptop
Now this one should go without saying, but since laptops often become victims of spills I felt the need to include this one on the list. We all know that electronics hate water and your laptop components had drinks such as coffee or soft drink even more as the sugary liquid can work its way inside and corrode the components unless you completely disassemble the laptop and give it a good cleaning.
While I’m a big believer in cleaning your laptop, this type of cleaning job is better left to the professionals who know how to take your system apart. Your best bet is to avoid liquids at all costs. Never store your drink close to your laptop, if you can avoid it. If you do have an accident, drop what you are doing and clean it up immediately.
Tip 3: Clean the Laptop Regularly
So many people never bother to give their laptop a bath. Of course, when I say bath, I don’t mean your submerge your laptop in water and give it a good scrub down. In fact, DON’T DO THAT! We have already discussed how electronics and water don’t mix, but I just want to make sure I’m clear on this one.
When I say bath, I mean give the exterior case a good cleaning. Remember, there are other things other than water you can use. They make great screen cleaners out there for laptops if your screen is dirty, but you can also use running alcohol and swabs to give the case a good bath.
Dab a little rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab or soft cloth and rub down the laptop while it is off. This will clean away all the dirt, dust and oils from your skin that can accumulate on your laptop. This will not only help keep it looking like new, but it will keep dirt away from potentially working its way inside your laptop. After you have given it a rub down, grab a can of compressed air and blow out the keyboard and the fans and grills on the sides and bottom of your device. This will remove any dust that is trying to worm its way inside your laptop to potentially restrict airflow and wreak havoc on your system.
Tip 4: Never Store It in Extreme Temperatures
This rule is nothing new, but it amazes me how many people pay no attention to it at all. They will leave their laptop in their cars when it is hot outside or even when it is cold and damp. These types of temperatures are not good for a laptop. They not only harm the components of your laptop, but they can be hard on the plastics and metals in your laptop case as well as the hinges.
Now, cold isn’t as big a problem as heat, but cold temperatures still put unnecessary wear and tear on your system so they should be avoided. Heat, on the other hand, can permanently damage your laptop. In extreme heat conditions, such as in your car on a hot summer day, the components of your laptop can melt as can the case. While you may not notice it at first, it will reduce the lifespan of your laptop and could even stop it from running right then and there. Try to always keep your laptop at room temperature whenever possible and don’t leave it out in extreme hot or cold temperatures for very long.
Tip 5: Practice Good Battery Care
Your battery is vital to your laptop, and it is even more important if you travel. You don’t want to always have to use your laptop’s power cable every time you use it, do you? If you don’t like the sound of that, then you need to make sure you practice good battery care to keep it running for as long as possible.
Now, I’m not going to lie, over time your battery will begin to suffer the ravages of old age. However, with proper care, you can make it last longer than you ever thought possible. Make sure you give it regular charges and full discharges and try to avoid those small partial charges for as long as you can. Periodically, whether you need to or not, let the battery run down to nothing and then give it a full charge before you use it. This will help your battery last longer so you can get more hours out of it between charges and avoid having to replace the battery for a long time. Eventually, you may still have to get a new battery, but if you take good care of your battery, you can definitely get more life out of it before you do.
Tip 6: Avoid Drops At All Costs
Now I realize that life happens and sometimes an accidental drop or fall just can’t be avoided. That’s why I recommended a good case as the first thing you should do to care for your laptop. However, there are steps you can take to limit the drops. Avoid storing it in places where it could get dropped.
If you are in a car, for example, try storing on the floor instead of in the seat. A sudden stop could send your laptop flying or it could even roll out of the car when you open the door. If you are on a plan, do your best to store it under the seat in front of you, if you can. Contents in the overhead compartments can shift during flight and that could send your laptop flying when someone opens the compartments up when you land. At home, try not to leave your laptop on the edges of tables or sitting at the top of the stares. One wrong move and your laptop could go for a ride that you hadn’t counted on.
Your laptop is probably one of the most important possessions you have. More than likely you use it every day and depending on what you do for a living, you could be taking it with you wherever you go. Your laptop represents a large investment of money as well as a huge investment in yourself when you consider everything you store on your laptop.
That’s why you want to make sure it stays in the best shape it possibility can for as long as it can. Life happens and over time your laptop will wear out no matter what you do. They are only built to last so long, after all. That is why it is important for you to do whatever you can to keep your laptop running for as long as possible. By following the tips above, you can do just that.
While I know some of this means a little extra work on your part, and they are tips that you probably never considered when you bought your laptop. Still, in the end it is worth it. They will help you protect your investment and keep it in great shape so you can use that new laptop that you spend your hard earned money on for many years to come.
Do you have any tips about the care of your laptop that I left off this list that you feel are important to add? If so, by all means share them. Comment below with your tip and I may just add it to the list. In the end, we all want to take care of our laptops, and your input is every bit as important as mine. So comment away and let’s create a comprehensive list of laptop care that anyone can reference.
About the author
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 for LaptopNinja where he enjoys talking about everything tech.