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Five Tips for Increasing Laptop Longevity

By amancuso

While it's important to protect your computer software from viruses and other dangerous programs that could slow your computer down and cost you valuable data, it is equally important to protect your computer's hardware. This is especially true for laptops which are often physically more fragile than the sturdier desktop computer. When it comes to laptop care, too much dust in your machine can cause slow processing or data loss just as any virus can. Follow these tips to keep your laptop in tip-top condition for years.

Cracked Laptop

1. Avoid Extreme Temperature Conditions

The hardware inside your laptop is very sensitive to extreme heat or coldness. Laptops and computers are designed to work best at room temperature, and so exposing them to either direct heat (putting them out in the sun on a hot day) or extreme cold (leaving them in a cold car in the dead of winter) can cause stress and damage to the hard drive, screen, and other laptop components. If your laptop has been exposed to such conditions, avoid turning it on immediately. Instead, return it to a room-temperature environment and wait for it to warm up or cool down to a safe temperature before you use it.

2. Clean Routinely for Dust

Computers produce a surprising amount of heat while running and your laptop keeps itself cool by circulating air inside it via a fan and vent setup. Dust, dirt, grime, lint, and other airborne particles can be sucked up into this cooling system if consistently used on fabrics or on unclean surfaces. The vent can also become suffocated if the laptop is used on a bed, pillow, blanket or, ironically, a lap, as blocking the vent will cause the laptop to risk overheating. The best place to use your laptop will be on a clean, flat, sturdy surface where the laptop's legs can prop it up enough to let air flow below it to avoid overheating.

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Dust can also wreak havoc on your keyboard, getting under your keys and causing them to stick or cease functioning. It is important to clean your keyboard and air vent regularly by carefully using canned air between the keys and to blow away any obstructing debris in the vent and external ports.

3. Purchase a Laptop Bag

Bumps, bangs, and drops can cause serious damage to all facets of your laptop. From a cracked screen to dislodged or broken internal components, portability may be the laptop's greatest asset but it also puts your computer at risk. The best way to protect your laptop during transit is to buy a padded carrier bag. A padded carrier bag will offer cushioning from drops and bumps and, since most bags have separate pockets for the laptop and for your other items, will secure the laptop and keep it from colliding with other items in the bag. It will even offer some protection from the elements and from dust. If you must carry your laptop without a bag, carry it with both hands from the base of the laptop, while closed. Carrying it from the screen risks damaging the screen and the connecting points between both halves of the laptop and is never advised.

To protect your laptop from getting banged up while it's in use, always keep your laptop away from a table's edge, lest it accidentally be knocked off. A serious jolt could dislodge the hard drive, even if your computer doesn't fall. Only use it on a flat, non-slanted surface, preferably with plenty of room.

4. Be Careful Around Liquids

Most people know that pouring water or soda accidentally on a laptop will result in its death. After all, electronics and water traditionally don't mix; the delicate circuitry inside your laptop, when exposed to too much moisture, can become damaged or fry completely, leaving you with a severely impaired or completely unusable laptop. However, there are other dangers to bringing liquids around your computer, as well. Even if you manage to save or recover your laptop from a spill, any sort of sugary drink like soda or juice will leave behind a residue that gums up keys and other important components. If you must drink around your laptop, do so from a cup with a secure lid, and keep it as far away from the machine as possible.

Coffee Spill

5. Take Care of Your Battery

All lithium batteries will die, but proper battery care can keep you from needing to purchase a new one or even a new computer too early. Surprisingly, keeping it constantly plugged in is a great way to overtax the battery and shave weeks, months, or even years off its life. To get the most out of your battery without wearing it unnecessarily, don’t keep your laptop plugged in until you are already low on power. For added protection against wear and tear, if you are already planning to use AC power, you can take the battery out—remembering to put it back in when you’re ready to switch back to battery-power.

If the worst-case scenario happens and your laptop receives damage despite your precautions and care, don’t panic; BuzzAGeek offers a full laptop repair program for all major makes and models. Whether you need to replace a broken part, fix a screen, or upgrade your components to increase performance and speed, we are here and happy to help.

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