Your laptop is like any other electronic device. The more you use it, the more its wear and tear. Much as you would like your laptop to go on and on forever without maintenance, it needs a few shots in its arms off and on.
Everybody wants their laptops to work at peak performance all the time, but that’s not going to happen if you don’t take proper care of your laptop. There are a million ways your laptop’s performance can go downhill and you can’t take care of all of them.
But, what you can definitely take care of is its maintenance. If you are able to maintain your laptop, you will be able to improve its useful life and also its performance. Of course, some people will just tell you get a new one, if your current laptop is not performing as per your expectations. But what if you don’t have a budget for a new laptop? You can’t just work with a non performing laptop can you? Of, course you can’t! That’s the reason why you need to maintain your laptop. If you want to get the most out of your laptop, you need to take a look at these laptop maintenance tips. Let’s take a look at all that you can do to maintain your laptop.
Stick to basic laptop etiquettes:
- Keep liquids away from your laptop: Have a habit of sipping on a cup of coffee while working on your laptop? Indulge in your habit, by all means, but don’t place the cup of coffee near your laptop. You might be the most careful person on Earth, but there is always the chance, you might spill your coffee. So, why take the risk.
- Don’t eat food near your laptop: Food mustn’t be anywhere near your laptop. Don’t munch on that pizza while working on your laptop. The crumbs might fall between the keys in the keyboard, and your laptop doesn’t need food. What’s more, any food that falls on the laptop is liable to stain it.
- Use Clean Hands: You will be amazed to note there are a number of people who don’t wash hands before using their laptops. If you are one of them, you need to get your act together. Always make it a point to wash your hands before you use a laptop. Even the cleanest looking hands hide a lot dirt and grime that can dirty your laptop. So take care.
- Make sure it’s properly handled: A laptop needs to be handled delicately. It’s fragile, however tough it looks on the outside. So always hold it with both hands; don’t hold it by the screen; make sure you always hold it by the base; don’t keep any item on your laptop, and do anything and everything else to make sure the laptop is handled properly. Also when you are shutting your laptop, ensure there is no pencil, piece of paper or anything inside that will harm the screen.
This is not the be all and end all laptop etiquette, but it can be summarized into one sentence ‘You need to take good care of your laptop to make sure it’s well-maintained’.
Now, let’s move on to other things.
Cleaning your Laptop
One of the core essentials of laptop maintenance is cleaning it. So, here are a few pointers you need to keep in mind while cleaning the laptop:
- Shut your laptop down before cleaning it. Turn it off completely and only then start the process of cleaning your laptop. Don’t just make sure your laptop is unplugged; also remove its battery.
- Hold the laptop upside down and tap its back; you will find there is a lot of dirt that will come out of the crevices of the keyboard.
- Take a can of compressed air/blower/vacuum cleaner and point it at the keyboard to start cleaning it. More dirt and dust will come out of your keyboard. After that use a soft brush to remove this dust.
- Clean your laptops outer casing (this is exposed to a huge amount of dust, dirt and grime) with a swab of damp cloth. You could go in for many of the “special” liquids that are available on the market, that will help you clean the outer side of your laptop, but frankly speaking using a piece of damp clean cloth will offer you the same results.
- You need to keep cleaning your laptop’s LCD screen regularly to make the most of its resolution. You could just wipe it with a piece of soft clean rag, but a better idea would be to use a mixture of vinegar and distilled water to clean your screen. Spray this mixture on a soft rag, and wipe the screen gently. Do this at least once or twice a week.
- All the ports of your laptop must be wiped clean using a cotton swab and then spraying them with compressed air.
Whenever you clean your laptop, make sure you are gentle with it.
Cleaning the Insides – The Real Challenge
Now you might be wondering, cleaning the outside of your laptop is all well and good, but what do I do about all the dirt and grime that accumulates inside the laptop. Don’t worry, you can clean your laptop interiors, but for that, you will need to understand your laptop assembly. This differs across brands and models and in some cases you will be able to access the CPU, RAM and fan without having to dismantle your device. But in other cases, you will have to partially take apart the outer casing of your machine to access its parts. The question is, are you ready to do that. If you are, just consult your laptop’s service manual to check its layout. In most cases, all you need to do is unscrew a few panels to access laptop interiors. By going through the service manual, you will know which screws to unscrew and which to leave as is. You might also need to detach a few cords or ribbons, but it’s really not that difficult to do this, once you get the hang of it.
After you access the laptop interiors, wipe the hard disk, RAM, heatsink, fan etc. with a clean soft rag and use your old friend, the can of compressed air to blow away all the dirt and grime. Don’t try too hard to remove every piece of dust and grime that you see. Just remove the big dust bunnies you see, and use a swab to try and pry out the dirt, dust and grime. At times, the dust and grime gets infused with a laptop part and trying to scrub away the dirt can lead to the part coming apart. So, be very careful.
Once, you are done, make sure you screw in the unscrewed panels that you removed.
Maintaining your Laptop Battery
One of the critical components of a laptop is its battery. So, you need to maintain laptop battery as well. Here are a few pointers you need to keep in mind to maintain the battery life of your laptop:
- Don’t make a habit of completely emptying your battery before charging it. Doing this regularly will shorten its lifespan. Now, most modern laptops shut down before the battery is empty, but there are a few “enterprising” people who wish to make the most of their battery and make the necessary system changes that allow them to use their laptop battery till it totally gives up on them. Don’t do that.
- Quite a number of people have this habit of using the laptop while placing it on their laps or on a pillow. What this does is that it blocks the air vents, leading to the laptop heating up. This in turn breaks down the battery slowly but surely and reduces its lifespan. In order to maintain your battery make sure that your laptop is never heated and its air vents remain unblocked every time you work on it. Also, the vents need to be cleaned off and on, with a can of compressed air, to keep the free of dirt and dust.
- Rest your battery when you can. If you can do without your battery work on AC power for a few days, remove the battery for that period of time. But while doing so, make absolutely sure that your laptop battery is at least half charged. If the battery is unused, it will drain away, which will be a problem if and when you decide to use your battery to power your laptop again.
Another aspect of laptop maintenance is upgrading your hard disk space and RAM regularly, if possible. Now this might or might not be possible, but there is no harm in trying. A hard drive’s performance is a result of its RPM (revolutions per minute) and upgrading your hard drive with a newer hard drive is not just about improving the size of the disc but also improving its speed. You could even think about boosting its memory by installing more RAM.
If you are looking to keep you laptop shipshape, trying to improve its performance is one aspect that you mustn’t forget. Regular hardware and software updates are a great way of doing that. The fact is, if you are happy about your laptop’s performance, you will be more inclined to take better care of it.
Something else that you need to do to maintain the high functional efficiency of your laptop is you shouldn’t smoke in front of it. Yes, the smoke that makes your lungs go bust over time is also something that will harm your laptop. Another thing is that your laptop must be virus protected at all times. That’s also a part of its maintenance. There are so many laptops that have conked off or whose hard drives have crashed just because their owners did not give the much needed importance to virus protection.
It’s also important to note that if you can’t stand a particular degree of heat or cold, then probably your laptop isn’t going to be able to handle it as well. So always use your laptop under normal temperature and do not expose it to extreme temperatures.
Cleaning your laptop will also prevent it from overheating, which in turn will help increase your battery’s shelf life and also that of its other important parts like hard disk, RAM etc. The idea is to make sure that you don’t take your laptop’s maintenance for granted. Just because you think you are handling it well, doesn’t mean it will not require cleaning, and just because you are cleaning it regularly doesn’t mean you don’t need to think about hardware and software upgrades. You need to think in holistic terms while taking steps to maintain your laptop. When you are thinking laptop maintenance, everything is important and there is nothing that should be left to chance.
Something else that must be kept in mind is you must guard against complacency. Don’t ignore laptop maintenance, just because you think it’s better maintained than those belonging to your friends and/or family. Also, make sure you take the help of people who know their way round maintaining a laptop or keep reading up on maintenance tips and tricks if you caught in bind and don’t know how to proceed.