Laptop Care and Maintenance Tips for Beginners

Laptops are great! They are small, portable and can be easily put away when not in use. They are also increasingly powerful, although they still lag behind a good desktop system unless you pay huge sums of money for them. They are not, however, as robust as a desktop, so good care and maintenance is a must if you want your laptop to last.

Caring for Your Laptop

Some of these tips may seem obvious, and some might not apply to you, but even following a few of these suggestions will help keep you laptop in good shape.

Keep Food and Drink Away

However careful you are when eating and drinking, if you do it while using your laptop it is inevitable that at some point, crumbs and splashes will hit the screen, keyboard, etc. Unlike with a desktop, replacing a crumb-filled keyboard on a laptop is not just a case of buying a new one.

Wipe the Screen Carefully

Laptop screens are generally not as clear or bright as a desktop monitor screen, so keeping them clean is important. Use a lint-free cloth to regularly (but gently) wipe away dust and dirt. If there are more stubborn marks, buy and use a LCD screen cleaner. These are cheap to buy online.

Clean the Keys and Ports Regularly

Laptop keyboards are hard to replace, so keep your clean and free from dust. You can buy small USB keyboard vacuums fairly cheaply, and these can help keep dust from building up. You can also buy keyboard cleaner putty very cheaply online. The same rule applies to the various ports on your laptop.

Don’t Block Vents

Despite the name, few laptops are designed to be used on your lap (or on any soft surface). This is because the heat vents of many laptops are on the bottom, and soft surfaces will often block them. This can cause lasting heat damage to be done to the laptop if it happens regularly.

Buy a Laptop Stand

If your laptop sits in one place and is rarely moved around, consider buying a laptop stand. These not only help to give you a better screen viewing angle, but they also give the laptop vents some extra clearance and, therefore, better airflow. You can even buy stands with built-in cooling fans.

Don’t Overcharge the Battery

Try not to keep your laptop plugged in to the mains all the time. Charge it, and then use the battery power until you need to charge it again. This helps to keep the battery in good condition. If you only ever use your laptop at a desk at home, keep it plugged in, but remove the battery.

Close the Lid

When you have finished using your laptop for the day, close the lid. When you are moving your laptop, close the lid. When you leave your laptop for any length of time, close the lid. This not only protects the screen from accidental damage, but it will also help keep your laptop running between charges.

closed laptop

Buy a Good Laptop Bag

If you ever take your laptop with you out of the house, make sure buy and use a decent laptop bag. Go for one which is at least water resistant, if not waterproof, to protect your laptop from rain. Try to buy one that is padded, or even better, has a floating laptop “sling” for better impact protection.

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Russ Ware

Russ has been testing, reviewing and writing guides for tech since the heady days of Windows 95 and the Sega Saturn. A self-confessed (and proud) geek about all things tech, if it has LED's, a screen, beeps or has source code, Russ will want to master it (and very likely take it apart to see how it works...)

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