In my last blog, I talked about how to go about buying a laptop. This week's is about caring for your laptop.
Laptops are fragile. No matter how well built your laptop is, one untimely drop or spill could spell its demise. Furthermore, malware, spyware, and viruses all pose constant threats to your data and running speed of your laptop.
Let's talk those viruses and spyware. So, what's the difference between a virus and spyware? It's simply this: a virus seeks to spread itself to other computers, while spyware seeks to spread itself all over your computer. Today, spyware is significantly more disruptive to your personal computer than are viruses. We continue to download free anti-virus software that does not protect against spyware. The bottom line is spending the money and buying yourself anti-virus software that includes spyware protection (usually called Internet security software). Furthermore, if you get a pop-up window on your computer, offering to sell you anti-spyware software, don't buy it! It is spyware software. Sneaky, huh?
How can you care for your laptop, in a physical sense? Obviously you don't want to drop it. But people mishandle their laptops on a daily basis, which in time will cause the laptop to break. If you lift your laptop by the screen, you risk damaging the hinges over time. Most hinges are plastic and will break from repeated wear. And it's an expensive repair, usually requiring a screen replacement costing a couple hundred dollars. You should always lift the laptop by the base.
Another no-no is pulling the power adapter out by tugging on the cord rather than gently disconnecting it right from where it meets the laptop. Breaking an adapter cord isn't the end of the world - normally they cost about $60 to replace. But if you bend or break the internal power connector inside the laptop, that costs much more - usually it's a motherboard replacement. Yes, the connectors can be soldered on, but experience shows it to be only a temporary fix.
The screen is another sensitive part of your laptop. A fit of frustration, leading to your fist going through your laptop screen is one sure way to damage your laptop. How about if you take your laptop to and from work, and you pile books into your bag with your laptop? The stress of too much weight on your laptop screen will cause it to break, leading to yet another replacement. The same goes for your keyboard. If a single key pops off your keyboard, it usually cannot be popped back on. You'd need to buy another keyboard, or you can buy the individual keys online.
If you live in a dusty environment, smoke, or have pets that shed, keeping the internal workings of your laptop debris-free is critical. Plan to have your laptop taken apart and cleaned every six months or so. Also, use a carrying case that is designed for laptops, and specifically designed for your laptop. Make sure the laptop fits and it's not surrounded by items that can move around freely.
Think of how much money you've invested in your laptop, and what a pain in the you-know-what it would be to have to suddenly replace it. How about all those programs you'd need to reload and those files you'd need to copy over! Not a pleasant thought, and not with deadlines looming.
We perform repairs on all sorts of laptops for both retail and corporate clients. If you need something checked out, fixed, added, or removed, come see us at The Trailing Edge in Bells Corners.
Author: Chris Coulter
Brookecliffe Technology Corporation