How to care for your expensive laptop

How to care for your expensive laptop

Picture credit: StartupStockPhotos

So you’ve just indulged in an expensive laptop with cool specifications? Well, it may not remain that cool and might even go kaput if it is not cared for or handled like a rugby ball.

A laptop computer, or any electronic device, is a delicate piece of technology that could easily be ruined due to bad handling. The general tendency is to look after a laptop well when it is new but neglect it later. It should actually be the reverse. As it gets older, the software and hardware will begin to falter and that is when regular maintenance is required.

DH gives a few tips that will help keep your laptop in good shape:

Heat management:
Laptops these days are pretty thin devices. Cramming in a whole lot of parts in a thinner case means that it tends to get hotter during use. The only way of removing internal heat is with a fan and a vent. Quite often, the fans will be at the bottom of the laptop. Therefore, the laptop should always be placed on a flat and hard surface. This way, the exit of hot air is not blocked.

Placing a laptop on the bed or sofa is asking for disaster. If you want to sit on the couch and work on it, a laptop cooling pad is a great idea.

Carry with care:
Holding the screen and lifting a laptop, carrying it around clutching one corner and such other stunts will do it no good.

Lifting it by clutching the screen is the worst thing to do because the LCD panel is perhaps the most delicate part of the laptop. It is very likely that the screen will stop working.

Most laptop casings these days are made of plastic. Being thin too, the body has a tendency to flex. It may not matter much if only the outer casing flexes a bit. The problem is that the motherboard inside might also flex because they are all screwed together into one piece. The motherboard, for instance, has hair-thin conductive traces and delicate connections that can break if it is not your day.

A laptop should be carried around by holding it on opposite sides.

Use a good bag:
Carrying it around in a bag that does not have enough padding is asking for trouble. If it is dropped while being carried around in a bag with inadequate padding, you might as well begin budgeting for a new one.

Even small bumps are enough to damage the LCD screen. The other delicate part of the laptop is the hard disk drive (HDD). Being a mechanical part, a nasty bump might misalign the magnetic platters (which store the data) and the reading arm. If the HDD is damaged, there is a good chance that precious data will be lost.

Battery charging:
There is no clear answer to this really because some companies say nothing will happen if the laptop is plugged into the wall power outlet all the time, while others say it will damage the battery.

Lithum-based battery packs have circuitry that stops the charging once the charge is full. So, there is no way a battery can be overcharged.

The laptop battery can be removed and mains power only used. For this, the suggested thing to do is to keep it charged to more than half but less than 75 per cent.

Keeping it fully charged all the time is known to reduce its life. Repeated charging and discharging will also reduce its life because there are only a certain number of cycles of charging and discharging that it can take before dying.

Caring for the charging unit:
Throwing the charging adapter and cable into the bag without neatly folding it a strict no-no. There is every chance that the conducting wires inside will get damaged with repeated abuse.

There is a reason the cable has a velcro tape attached. The cable should be neatly rolled as per the recommendations of the manufacturer and fastened with the velcro strap.

Care while cleaning the screen:
The LCD screen should never be cleaned with too much pressure or with harsh chemicals. Dusting it regularly with a soft duster or using a microfibre cloth is recommended. Cleaning with force could damage it or using harsh chemicals might remove the anti-reflective coating.

There are also specialty screen cleaning kits that will keep it in pristine condition.

Leaving it in sleep/ hibernate mode:
This might be convenient than shutting it down and starting it again. But if one is working intermittently through the day and there are big breaks, it makes sense to shut it down.

Keeping it in hibernate or sleep mode means the system is still running and it is unnecessary strain.

Liquid spills:
We all love a cold can of cola or a hot cup of coffee while working on the laptop. But, the laptop does not.

Though there are some spill-resistant keyboards, it would be wise not to test how well it works. Drinks should be kept away from a laptop.