7 quick tips for boosting the life of your laptop
Easy ways to keep "shop for laptop" off your to-do list for as long as possible
At a Glance: Protecting the life of your laptop can be easy. Steps include draining the battery every once in a while and maintaining a proper workstation setup for necessary airflow.
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Take a second to think about your computer habits. Do you eat or drink while working on your laptop? Do you often prop it up on a pillow? If so, you may be unknowingly shortening the life of one of your most important study tools—and putting yourself at risk to spend money on a new one sooner than you’d like.
Here are seven easy ways to improve the lifespan of your laptop:
If you make cleaning your laptop a habit, less grime will build up and cause overheating. The following routine will take you five minutes tops:
- Turn off and unplug your laptop.
- Use canned air to blow out the keyboard and vents.
- Clean the exterior with a sponge barely dampened with soapy water, then wipe dry.
- Use a microfiber cloth and either water or an LCD-specific cleaner on the screen, and a cotton swab barely dampened in rubbing alcohol on and around the keys.
Drain the battery.
While you don’t want to constantly be running your battery down, experts do recommend that it get a little “exercise.” Let it drain it to around 50 percent at least weekly, and to near dead a couple times a year, to lower battery stress and maximize health.
Let it flow.
Laptops need airflow to work properly. So, be mindful of its temperature, removing it from hot vehicles and keeping it off pillows and other soft things. Despite the name, placing it on your lap can block vents and cause overheating. Consider a cooling pad or stand.
When transporting your laptop from place to place throughout the day, do you put it in sleep or standby mode? Do you loop the cord neatly and loosely? Do you have a snug-fitting, padded case? These small adjustments to your routine can make all the difference if you want your laptop to stick around. Never move it while it’s running, and be sure to take extra care with the cord—strain causes shorts and breakage. Use a padded case to protect against debris and bumps, even when just traveling to the coffee shop up the street.
Protect against a surge.
Sure, it’s rare, but still. One surge and your laptop’s kaput. Surge protectors are inexpensive and available for purchase pretty much everywhere. They’re a thank-yourself-later type of investment for home and on the go. Also: Unplug your laptop during storms just to be safe.
Don’t ignore those annoying update alerts and pop-ups. It’s really important that you regularly update all systems, patches and/or anti-virus software, no matter how inconvenient it feels. This is necessary, potentially laptop-saving maintenance. If you have a PC, defragment and run a disc cleanup monthly, too.
You will be so bummed if your computer dies due to a coffee mishap or crumb overload. Pick up a plastic keyboard protector and try to limit nibbling and sipping while using your computer.