Monday, February 15, 2010

20 Recommendations on How to Take Proper Care of your Laptop

Mobile computers become our permanent companions. My son is taking his laptop in business trip. But higher utilization and various external “extreme” conditions might not be healthy for the laptop.

Sometimes, you cannot avoid the negative environment effect, but if you know, where to look, at least you will try to save your mobile friend from disaster, damaging it and destroying all valuable data inside.

Once, I had to jump to the river with my clothes and all electrical toys I had with me, including GPS, Blackberry smart phone, walkie-talkie, and video player. Strangely enough, being for after 10 minutes under water, most of the electronics eventually recovered, actually all, but video player. However, my smart phone had to be replaced in several months, and my GPS still works, but slightly slower than before “swimming”.

So, we have to prevent our laptops from any potential damage as much as possible. Please refer to the following tips for a laptop to work on the maximal performance.

1. Do not bring a beverage or liquid to the proximity of your laptop, if you want prevent liquid spills and any short circuits inside.

2. Do not put a laptop close to the magnetic field source, such as TV, Speaker, Radio Transmitters, Magnetic Tape, or phone. Magnetic field might substantially affect the hard drive components of your laptop.

3. If you plan to carry your laptop around, use the special carrying case or bag. The certified cases are designed for the safer laptop transportation needs and protect the case from scratches, hits, direct sun light, etc. To keep the case clean, you might decide to spend some money on the special cleaning utilities, which can be purchased in computer stores.

4. Prevent mechanical damage. Do not place or drop objects on top and do not insert any foreign objects into the Notebook PC.

5. Do not move laptop before it is completely shut down. When the Hard Drive still working, and you move the laptop, the cylinder head might scratch the disk, causing the fatal damage, or it might affect the mechanics of the Hard Drive.

6. Use stable electric power. All the computers with Windows Operating system hate, when you shut them down improperly. They scream aloud, when still alive. Sometimes, power break might cause permanent damage to the Hard Drive. Therefore, you might consider using the power stabilizer / power normalizer / UPS, if your electric power supply is not stable.

7. Lend your laptop to no one. The laptop is intelligent device, which is already learned your lifestyle, working standards and techniques. You give one computer to a friend, and you get back absolutely different one. You do not recognize new programs; you see unfamiliar order in your directories. And what if the person is not familiar with virus threats? You might get back not laptop, but its “dead body”.

8. Lock your notebook, when not around. This might sound unnecessary but locking your laptop will keep anyone around you from looking at what you are working on and ensure that anything private stays that way. To lock your laptop easily all you have to do is just press the Windows Key + L at the same time and it will lock your laptop. To unlock your laptop simply press Ctrl + Atl + Del and then enter your password and you will be returned back to exactly where you were previously.

9. Install anti-virus and anti-malware software and update them periodically. Yes, it is a must in the modern world, when you are definite target for spam, viruses, Trojans, malware, greyware, adware, spyware, and more –wares. Note, that some malware elements might not be visible at first, so do not wait before you see the problem. Make the automatic scanning for viruses a part of your computer routine.

10. Put the laptop into a horizontal position. Try to avoid working on your laptop when it is not placed horizontally on the flat surface. In addition to recommendations of ergonomists, your Hard Drive will suffer always, when it is not parallel to the ground. Save you eyes by choosing the proper working position, and save your drive as well.

11. Store in places with normal temperature. Never leave your laptop in the parked closed car, if the weather is hot, and do not leave it in direct sun light. Excessive heat can damage the components of a laptop.

12. Avoid excessive humidity. Regardless of the reason for the humidity, you should do your best to protect your laptop from humidity. This can cause damage to the motherboard as well as possible damage to the screen.

13. Do not place laptop on a soft surface, while working. Laptops placed not on solid flat surface, are inclined to absorb heat very quick, so you might experience computer overheating pretty fast. It is definitely higher danger to drop it as well…

14. Do not open and disassemble your laptop. It is a definite NO-NO, if your computer is still under warranty, since no technician will accept the responsibility for the computer damage, if there will be any signs of the forced entry. But even later, do not “try” to fix the computer, if you are not sure what you are doing. Sometimes, if there are just signs of the trouble, you can still revive the data. But, after repair attempts, in most cases, the data becomes unrecoverable.

15. Wipe LCD screen with special clothes. Cleaning the monitor screen, use the special soft pad. Do not press too hard, and motion the pad in one direction only, from left to right. LCD is formed by liquid crystals, and its surface is thin and fragile. So, be careful and gentle while cleaning it. Using harsh cleaners like Windex, ammonia, or alcohol is not the best thing for your LCD screen.

16. Clean the keyboard with a vacuum cleaner or air sprayed on the sidelines of a button. Do not knock or shake the keyboard hard.

17. Periodically check the laptop vents. It is recommended to review status of all the vents on your laptop at least once a week to ensure that they are clear and not blocked. Be sure you do not push anything into the air vents; the safest way to clean these vents typically is using a simple can of air that can be purchased at most computer supply stores.

18. Check the fan. If your fan is not working correctly you could experience some huge problems with your laptop overheating, which can cause troubles with your monitor, memory or even the hard drive. To avoid this problem you need to make sure that the fan is working properly. If you are unsure whether the fan is working properly check the website for the laptop manufacturer, you can frequently find software there to use for testing purposes.

19. Exercise caution when opening and closing the laptop screen. There are special hinges between LCD and the CPU case to allow you open monitor to the most convenient angle. These hinges are one of the weak points of the laptops design, so at the time of opening and closing laptop, be extra careful.

20. Treat the battery properly. For the first time, the laptop battery should be charged completely, before you use the computer. Experts say that you need to charge and discharge the battery completely three times in the row for better battery performance and longer lifetime. You should do the same for the laptop, which was not used for month or longer. If you do not plan to use your laptop for long time, remove the battery from the laptop and store it separately.