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Which Laptop’s Guide To Laptop Hygiene

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When it comes to PC maintenance it seems like everyone has a general idea of how to keep their machine in the best working order – but for something like a laptop that is a much smaller, more tightly secured version of a computer general maintenance and upkeep can fall to the wayside. This then is an article for you to follow if you are interested in a laptop hygiene guide, a quick tour, and explanation of some of the major does and don’ts of laptop use, that will help you make the most out of any laptop that you are, or want, to use.

Alright, lets jump in and talk about some different ways to maximize the health of your laptop!

Keep The Laptop As Cool As Possible

Ok, the first tip right out of the gate is all about preserving your laptops battery life, and potentially your CPU power.

So, laptops are similar to PCs in that they need to stay cool in order to maximize their efficiency, drawing power from the CPU in order to complete whatever tasks you have lined up for it. The more CPU power you draw, the hotter your laptop is going to get. Even extended usage is going to warm up your machine, as that’s just the nature of heat.

Laptops though have the additional hazard of a lithium battery to worry about. Extended usage and heat is going to cause this battery to lose its potency, holding less of a charge and leading to its replacement sooner rather than later. But all of this is avoidable, if not delay-able.

So lets first talk about where you use your laptop. I can safely bet that there is a pretty high portion of people reading this article right now who never even think about the surface they put their laptop on, but it can have a drastic effect on the performance. I’m going to give an example to help illustrate my point.

My brother and I have the exact same laptop – an MSI gaming model, that he bought at roughly the same time as me on my recommendation. The difference is though that whilst I make efforts to only use my laptop on flat, hard surfaces that don’t retain heat (like tables or desks), my brother had no worries using his laptop whilst in bed, thrown to the side on a sofa, or on other surfaces that retain heat.

Why is this important? Well, a laptop is typically set up to exhaust heat via its fans, usually located on the rear of the laptop itself. Heat is set to be channeled out the back of the laptop, where it can disperse into the air and not be a bother to the internal systems. Not a problem if you are using a table or a desk, or have made sure that your laptop has room to safely exhaust heat.

However, if your laptop is on say, a duvet set on a bed, then that heat isn’t going to safely exhaust at all. Instead, the heat will travel into the soft material on the bed, and stay there, slowly heating up the laptop as it makes its resting place warmer and warmer. It isn’t just the hot air doing damage either, the fans on a laptop can easily suck up dust and other rubbish from whatever surface it is sat on, and recycle it into the laptops internal components – and that’s no good to anyone.

So, what’s the moral here? Well, my laptop is still capable of playing games, editing music, and doing whatever else I want and a low volume (of the fan/cooling system), whilst my brothers is currently in for repair as his laptop sounds like a jet engine.

You can also help your batteries life out by making sure to use an AC adapter whenever possible, and if you can, removing the battery when you do so to make sure that its use is limited to when you need it. Fiddly, sure, but I promise that it will take less time and be easier than buying a replacement if you neglect it.

Basically, by paying attention to your laptop’s working environment you are going to save yourself money on repairs and extend the general lifecycle of the machine itself. It’s still perfectly possible to use your laptop in bed or on a sofa too – just invest in a laptop tray that won’t just assist in your laptop’s health, but potentially in yours too.

Clean The Keyboard

 

I don’t know if you noticed, but a keyboard can be one of the nastiest things in the world if you don’t clean it. On a laptop though, the ramifications of not cleaning your keyboard can be so much worse than if you were to not clean a keyboard for a PC.

For one thing, a laptop keyboard is actually attached to the machine. If you spill, damage or otherwise harm your laptop’s keyboard, you could be looking at an expensive repair that takes you totally out of commission rather than just waiting on a replacement. Trust me, I know – I had to get mine replaced recently, and it was an expensive hassle.

So, how can you maintain the keyboard of your laptop? First, and this should be obvious, don’t eat or drink directly over your laptop. It’s a good tip in general as you aren’t going to get filthy waste all over your machine, but specifically, it means that you aren’t going to spill crumbs or liquid onto your keyboard, which could potentially seep below the keys and damage the connectors underneath that make the keyboard work. This leads me to my next point; keep it clean.

Make sure that you have both A) antibacterial wipes and B) compressed air handy. The anti-bac wipes should be suitable for use with electronics (don’t worry, there are plenty out there) and should be used to wipe down your keyboard after every use, once your laptop has been powered off.

Then, the compressed air should be used maybe once a week to get any trapped dust off your machine and keyboard that a wipe or cloth can’t reach. If you are at all familiar with PC maintenance then this tip shouldn’t be a surprise to you, but realistically cleaning your laptop with compressed air isn’t just a good way to keep your keyboard working, but to stop dust build up in the more vital areas of your laptops system.

You could even take all of this a step further and look into purchasing external peripherals to use outside of your laptops standard keyboard and trackpad. I don’t know about you, but an actual mouse and keyboard combo can often be much easier to use when navigating your desktop, and you have the advantage of knowing that you are saving any potential damage-by-use of your laptop’s hardware by using external components when you can.

Clean The Screen

 

I’m running over the same arguments I made for cleaning the keyboard here, but now they apply to the screen. Be aware though, the screen of a laptop could potentially be more expensive to fix or replace than a keyboard thanks to it potentially being more powerful or of better quality than the keyboard. An ultra HD screen for example is going to run a lot more expensive than an inferior inbuilt monitor.

Just keep a microfibre cloth handy, along with a screen cleaner and that compressed air, and then keep the following in mind; Never spray the cleaner directly onto your laptop screen, never oversaturate your cloth with cleaner, and always wipe from left to right rather than in small circles – this can just spread dust around. Use the compressed air to clean any dust from the areas you can’t reach, and you should be all set!

Be Mindful When Using Your Laptop

This might sound like a really simple and easy to follow step, but please – just watch out when you are using your laptop that you aren’t damaging any of its hardware or external components by accident. Why am I mentioning this? Well, think about it.

No one has ever run a power cord across a room to power something on the other side – but you might with a laptop AC adapter. No one has ever dropped a PC when they were using it whilst moving from one room to another, and no one has ever ruined their entire PC setup by lifting it up by the screen, which then snapped off from the case and smashed on the floor.

All of these things are possible with a laptop. What I’m saying is that there are some general rules to follow when it comes to using a laptop day today. For one, as I already hinted at, never pick up the laptop by its screen, always by its base. You run the risk of weakening the hinges otherwise, which could potentially break, leading to smashed hardware and a pricey replacement.

You also want to watch how you handle a power cord. Typically, these trail further and in more awkward areas than a PC power cable, which can lead to instances of running them over in a desk chair, standing on the actual charging pin and breaking it, or even tripping over the cable whilst it’s in use, potentially ruining your charging port. What I’m saying is that cable management is always important, especially if you want to avoid finding a replacement charger online. Always annoying – and an avoidable cost.

Then you have the actual hardware on the laptop – USB ports, audio jacks, and CD trays – all breakable, and if not handled right they defiantly will. Make sure that you never force a cable into a port to connect, that your cd tray is always tucked away when not in use and that if you are using headphones or speakers your constantly aware of your connecting cable, lest you reck either your headphone cables or the actual input on your laptop.

All these tips might seem simple, but if you don’t follow them you really are going to kick yourself, as a broken USB port is going to expensive to fix – and you might find that when it’s gone, you really miss it. As in, can’t use external memory or third-party peripherals anymore level of missing. And you will definitely miss whatever cash it costs to fix.

Take Care Of Your Laptop On The Move

What’s the main advantage of a laptop over a PC? Portability. What’s the biggest risk factor for a laptop? Its portability.

I mentioned before that no one has ever dropped their PC as they were using it moving from room to room. That might be an over-exaggeration, but I’m willing to bet an even lower number of hypothetical people have their PCs ruined from not taking care of them as they use their machines on a train or a bus.

Basically, make sure that when you are using your laptop in the big wide world that you have it protected. A screen protector can go a long way if you are insistent in that you need to use it in a public space – but getting it to that public space should be the real concern. Invest in a decent standard laptop bag, case or backpack so that when you are on the move you are A) not damaging your laptop or B) not straining yourself carrying your machine around. Most modern laptop cases and backpacks have decent protection for the laptop itself – just make sure you pick an option that isn’t going to cause you arm or back strain in the long run.

 

And, adding to this point, never leave your laptop unattended in your car. Countless machines have been stolen from backseats around the world thanks to careless owners thinking that it will never happen to them. Avoid the disturbing wake-up call of having your laptop (and subsequent information) stolen by never leaving it unattended in public, or in visible sight in your car. Simple stuff, but even forgetting it once can lead to heartbreak.

You should also be aware of how temperature changes can potentially affect your laptop. If you were to hypothetically bring your laptop inside after walking home with it in the cold, you will want to avoid turning it on straight away. Why? The warmth of your home could potentially cause any moisture that has collected inside your machine to turn into condensation, potentially damaging your laptop’s circuitry and hardware to a massive extent. Let it sit in your home for a while before turning it on.

The same can be said for heat damage as well – if your laptop has been in the hot sun (or anywhere warm) for an extended period of time, keep an eye on its temperature. The last thing you want is for your laptop to overheat, damaging the battery and CPU like I mentioned in the first paragraph. Just be aware of how the elements can affect your laptops running.

Software Maintenance

Finally, a huge factor in keeping your laptop healthy is actually taking care of the software that sits inside the machine itself. You can be sure that any laptop is susceptible to a virus, and with that in mind remember that a laptop’s components are much more difficult and expensive to replace than on a PC, as they are specialized to the machine you run, rather than being a general PC part.

So, if you overload your PC with inflated programs that drain your CPU, then your going to have a hard time finding a replacement, and pay a lot out of pocket to get your machine back in working order. Just keep an eye on the software you install, and be sure that it is all well within your laptops system requirements before you overload your CPU.

Also, make sure that you have a decent and respected antivirus system running regular and thorough scans on your machine to save yourself from having to purge your entire system. With plenty of laptops being used for work and other labor-intensive projects the last thing you need after investing a lot of time into a project is to lose all your work thanks to a sneaky bit of malware. It’s frustrating, enraging and totally avoidable, so make sure to protect yourself.

Also, if you are running a laptop with an SSD, you want to make sure that you don’t overload it with programs that sap too much of the memory away, as this could potentially limit the lifespan of the SSD itself. Instead, offload your memory filling programs to another internal drive, or invest in an external memory unit to make sure that you are getting the most from your machines internal performance.

This about rounds up our tips on laptop hygiene and how to keep your laptop in good condition. Got a good tip that isn’t featured here? Got a question about one that is? Let us know in the comments below! 

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