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Protect Your Laptop

Friday, August 18th, 2006 by | Filed Under: Uncategorized

Protect Your Laptop

So, you have bought yourself a fancy, shiny new laptop that you have been wanting for awhile and you think you are ready to roll. Not so fast! A laptop is a complex machine and there are a lot of things you have to keep in mind when using one. I have seen a lot of people misuse them and then complain about the lack of performance. Hence, today we are going to discuss a few tricks to make working with a laptop more efficient and how you can avoid the usual hitches.

1. Battery Power

Like hard drive space, there is never too much battery power. We always want more. The problem is that like most things in life, it costs a lot of money. But you can choose to use it sensibly and maximize the unplugged time. First off, your screen draws the most power from the battery. So when you are working unplugged, dim your screen to the lowest brightness setting possible. There are certain running processes (like Bluetooth and a WiFi network detection) that eat up the CPU, in turn affecting the battery. It’s a good idea to switch them off when you are on battery. Similarly, refrain from watching movies or playing graphic intensive games and you will see your battery lasting longer. If you are using a USB mouse, unplug it every once in awhile and use the touchpad. It will save you the power that the mouse is drawing from the USB port.

2. Working Offline

Most people like to be online at all times, without realizing that it draws quite a bit of battery power. So, it’s imperative that you learn how to function offline. Use Outlook Express or Thunderbird to save all your e-mails offline. This way you can work with them while you’re disconnected from the Internet. Similarly, use a desktop RSS reader to download all your feeds and read them while you are offline. Save Web pages on your hard drive so you can view them offline. Not only are you saving battery power, but you are also ensuring that your work doesn’t stop if you are in some place without an Internet connection.

3. Always Back Up Data

Since you carry your laptop everywhere, the chances of it being damaged are a lot more risky. All that wear and tear could easily lead to a component failure. Usually, it is the hard drive that fails first. Losing vast amounts of data is never a pretty sight. Always back up data to your desktop, a zip drive or an external USB hard drive. It will help you sleep better knowing your personal desktop at home has all your laptop data saved safely.

4. Keep It Clean

Chances are, your laptop is traveling to all sorts of places. From the subway to the office to the restaurant to your child’s school, etc. The cracks in the keyboard could be home to anything from dust to hair to bread crumbs. To save your laptop from this menace, buy a laptop keyboard cover to protect your keys. Some of the keyboard covers also perform the task of protecting the screen from keyboard scratches. If you already have the dust between the keyboard cracks, use a Post-it sticky note to clean it. Just run the adhesive edges through the cracks to clear out the dust. To do it more effectively, use compressed air with cotton swabs to clean between the keys.

5. Secure Your Laptop

If you’re someone who likes to use open wireless networks, make sure you have a good firewall installed on your laptop. Make sure that any sort of folder sharing is turned off and that no local servers are running. If possible, encrypt your data and use very strong passwords. This helps to protect your personal information when you use these open wireless connections or in case your laptop gets stolen.

6. Hot, Hot, Hot

Laptops tend to get hot very easily, especially if you run a lot of CPU hogging softwares, games or if you work long hours with it. Unless your house doesn’t have heating, you won’t be too happy with all this heat. Use a non-heat conducting material between the laptop and your legs. Sometimes the top of the keyboard might also get hot, so you could wear long sleeved shirts to reduce the effect. The easiest way to get rid of this problem is to use a desk while working with your laptop.

7. Carry It Off Well

Carrying a laptop is a daily chore for most of us. We hang them from one shoulder; they bump into people, things and doors, depending on your place of work. As any five-year-old kid will be able to guess, this doesn’t do the laptops any good. Try to invest in a good carry bag for the laptop. It might seem steep, but it’s a very useful one time investment you can make. Getting the backpacks instead of a conventional bag is a good idea, as it evenly distributes the weight of the laptop between the two shoulders and it puts less strain on your muscles.

The gist of the whole article is that you have to treat a laptop much differently than you’d treat a desktop. Since a laptop isn’t confined to the warm tenderness of your home, it’s only fair that you prepare it for the rugged world waiting outside. Follow these seven tips and you’ll ensure a long life for your laptop, along with maximum productivity for you in return. Respect the laptop and the laptop will respect you!

~ Yogesh Bakshi

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