You’ve arrived home with your fancy new laptop and want to make sure that laptop lasts as long as possible. Good on you for thinking ahead and taking pride in your purchase! A laptop should last you many years if cared for properly. This article will explain some tips and techniques to ensure a long and worry-free laptop owning experience.
Make Your Laptop Battery Last Longer
On the topic of power, did you know that your laptop’s battery is considered a disposable part by most laptop manufacturers? Batteries have a limited lifespan and wear out eventually. A typical laptop battery is good for 500-800 full cycles. A full cycle is when the battery is at 0% and is recharged back up to 100%. Once you’ve done 500-ish cycles, the battery won’t hold a charge anywhere near as well as it used to and will be practically useless.
Anthony Hill says that “the best way to preserve battery life is to avoid discharging it below 20% and keep it plugged in and charging whenever possible”. By not going below 20%, it avoids a full charge and can extend the battery’s useful life. However, if your laptop’s battery is showing signs of weakness and isn’t lasting as long as it used to, they are often replaceable, even in laptops without a removeable battery. Depending on the model, a Geeks2U technician can sometimes help.
A Hot Laptop is a Sick Laptop
Probably the easiest and most overlooked aspect of preventing damage to your laptop is to let it breathe and keep it cool. The CPUs and GPUs inside laptops generate an incredible amount of heat and due to the slim chassis of most laptops these days, ventilating that heat away from the critical components is more important than ever. Long term exposure to high temperatures is likely to increase the chances of a component in your laptop failing and resulting in a costly repair.
Anthony Hill, Head of Technology at Geeks2U strongly recommends to “use the laptop on a firm surface and not resting on a pillow or blanket as this restricts air flow and causes the system to overheat”. If you still feel the laptop is getting too warm, there are cooling stands available that raise the laptop (some are adjustable so you can pick a height that suits you) and have built-in fans that blow cool air around the laptop. Such stands are highly recommended for people doing CPU/GPU intensive tasks on their laptops like video editing or gaming, combined with an external keyboard and mouse.
Clean Your Laptop Regularly
This one is pretty obvious, but dirt, dust, crumbs and other particles can clog up various parts of your laptop. Debris in the cooling vents will block heat escaping and lead to premature part failure. Junk in your keyboard can prevent keys from working and junk in your USB, power or HDMI port weakens the connection between port and cable, making your peripherals or charging unreliable.
An easy way to avoid getting your laptop dirty is not to eat whilst using it. The chances of crumbs from food clogging up keys, ports and spilling drinks on your laptop are going to increase if there’s food around, so eat elsewhere! Anthony Hill also suggests that you “close the laptop when not in use to avoid dust and dirt build up under the keyboard”. You may also store the laptop in a sleeve to avoid further dust and dirt.
When cleaning your laptop, use a light damp cloth without any chemicals on it. For the laptop screen, purchase dedicated screen cleaning wipes from your local supermarket to get rid of stubborn fingerprints. A can of compressed air is useful for blowing out dust and crumbs from the keyboard, ports and ventilation areas on a regular basis.
Be Gentle With Your Laptop
Unless you’ve got a military-spec super rugged laptop, dropping, hitting or manhandling your laptop is a bad idea. When transporting it, Anthony Hill’s experience in the field tells him that “using a padded case will help avoid accidental screen damage when out and about”. It’s incredibly easy to have a bag knocked around when travelling and if your laptop is inside without much padding, the laptop will absorb the damage. A well-padded bag will keep your laptop safe.
One of the most common faults on a laptop is the power socket wearing out or getting damaged. It’s by far the most frequently used socket on the laptop and as a result, is the first to fail. If your charging socket dies, your laptop’s usefulness falls to zero. Repairs of the charging socket can be pricey too, so it’s best to avoid this scenario by gently inserting and removing the cable and to ensure when it is plugged in, the cord isn’t a trip hazard.