Our digital devices have essentially become extensions of ourselves and there’s nothing quite as tragic as the moment your laptop gives up on you. It inevitably will, but there are a few things you can do to prolong your device’s lifespan by a good few years and save yourself money in the process.
Here are 10 way you can better take care of your laptop:
1. Give your battery a break
Batteries will eventually die no matter what, but there are a few things you can do to prolong its lifespan. According to Wired, keeping your laptop plugged in can kill your battery faster. This is because of the way that lithium-polymer batteries work. Each cell in a lithium-polymer battery is charged to a voltage level and the higher the charge percentage, the higher the voltage level. The higher the voltage level, the more stress the battery is put under. The ideal charge for a battery is around 80 percent before you should unplug and let it drain to 40 percent. Doing this can prolong your battery life by as much as four times.
Heat also isn’t good for batteries. Batteries will degrade naturally, but extreme heat can cause them to degrade even faster by making the cells expand and bubble. So keep the fans clear, keep the laptop out of your lap and off of pillows and let air circulate through the fans unobstructed.
2. Turn it off every once in a while
Keeping your laptop in Sleep Mode might be convenient, but it’s not the best idea in the long run. Your computer needs steady power to stay in Sleep forever and like the aforementioned said, it’s bad for your battery to stay plugged in forever. Hibernation is a far better option than Sleep because it keeps the power consumption low and it’s easier to resume your work, but it’s still important to Shut Down every once in a while.
Operating systems like Windows work better with the occasional reboot and sometimes you’ll find odd programs that don’t work as well after resuming from Hibernate or Sleep. There’s also the added benefit of giving all the hard-working components in your computer a break for a little bit, making it run quieter and potentially last longer.
3. Keep it cool
Just like keeping your computer cool is important for the battery, it’s equally if not more important to the rest of the computer components. The easiest way to keep it cool is to make sure the airflow is unobstructed. This means keeping the air vents open and off of your lap. Keeping it at a consistent temperature when the weather gets extreme will also keep it at optimal performance.
4. Keep it updated
Keeping your software up to date might seem like a hassle to some, especially when you get reminded at the most inopportune times, but it’s still important. Software updates help protect your laptop from certain security risks and can download patches to fix bugs and other small problems.
If the intermittent reminders to update your computer are too much of a nuisance, disable them, but make sure to set aside some time once a month to run all the necessary updates.
5. Make a Back-Up
A full backup should be the first step in every computer recovery plan. Backing up to an external hard drive is probably the easiest way to back up your data. Just plug in your external and start copying the files from your computer to the removable drive. The biggest advantage of this method is that it’s offline and safe from ransomware attacks, but backing up to the cloud is also an option.
Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, and many other cloud services make it super easy to backup your data. It’s also mostly free up until a certain amount, after which you can pay either a monthly or yearly fee to get more storage. Do keep in mind that most cloud storage services sync files in a certain folder on your computer and that deleting that folder will also get rid of the online version. Tech Advisor also points out that most reputable companies employ encryption that will keep your data safe.
6. Free up your hard drive
Once you’ve made a back up of your data, it’s time to clear out your hard drive of anything unnecessary. Uninstall programs you never use, run a disk cleanup, find duplicate files and delete them.
7. Clean your laptop
Yes, clean it. Actually, clean it. It seems like the simplest thing in the world, but people often skimp on this task. Turn off the laptop and unplug the power supply before you start doing anything. A laptop’s screen is its most fragile part so be gentle and only ever clean it with monitor wipes or cleaning solutions that have been approved for electronics. If you’re using something like anti-static spray, sprits a little bit onto a microfibre cloth – never on the screen itself – and clean the screen with that. Be mindful of any hard edges that could scratch the screen. You can just gently wipe down the case.
There are several ways to clean the keyboard. You could use the upholstery attachment on a regular vacuum, a special portable vacuum or you could just use a cleaning toothbrush to brush bits out from between the keys. Some people like using compressed air, but this, like the toothbrush, could push the dirt further under the keys and out of reach. Use isopropyl alcohol to clean the tops of the keys. Dip a cotton bud in it and run it over the keys or use a microfibre cloth to cover more surface. Never let any moisture get into the gaps between the keys or any other openings.
8. Keep your antivirus updated
Keeping your antivirus updated is an important part of maintaining your laptop. It updates the signature files that help identify new threats and how to deal with them. It also keeps the scan engine updated where the signature files are stored. That could help it perform scans faster and stop it from detecting false positives. Some antivirus programs can detect flaws in operating systems, but this isn’t too much of a concern on Microsoft’s Windows Updates because it automatically checks for vulnerabilities and installs patches on the computer.
9. Run a defrag
Defragging a computer sounds more complicated than it actually is. According to Lifewire, defragmenting is a process that rearranges fragmented data so that it is easier to read and makes your computer work more efficiently. It’s another common computer maintenance practice and the process could take a while to complete, so it doesn’t have to be done more than once a month. Defragging regularly should lead to fewer software crashes or freeze ups and programs will run better. However, if your laptop has a solid-state drive (SSD), you don’t have to defrag at all.
10. Find the right bag
Laptops are designed to be transported, so it’s integral to find it a good carrier. Pick a bag with sturdy handles and good padding. You’ll need good padding for shock absorption and sturdy handles to keep the bag from falling out of your hands or dropping off your back while carrying it. Decide what type of bag best suits your lifestyle, whether it be a backpack, a tote or a messenger bag. Look for something with more than two pockets or compartments that will keep your laptop separate from your other belongings to keep it safe from scratches and ensure the bag’s versatility. Check that the zips work, the fabric is hardy and water-resistant and if the stitching is strong. Practicality aside, it’s also important to choose a style that suits you and that you can enjoy lugging around with you day after day.