computer is a valuable piece of hardware. If you care for your
machine it should provide you with years of reliable performance,
however there are certain procedures you can adopt which can
increase the probability of trouble free operation. Unless you
own a ruggedized laptop like the
Panasonic Toughbook CF-18, you should always keep your mobile
computer away from any extreme temperatures, and household items
that emit a magnetic field such as television sets.
Also never rest heavy objects such as text books on top of your notebook, and always remove cds, floppy discs and dvds from drives when mobile. The biggest risk to your machine though is damage caused by knocks and drops, but this danger can be limited by transporting your portable computer in a laptop case. Below are a list of guidelines to help you care for your notebook, and improve laptop security.
Cleaning the keyboard
Most of us are familar with this scenario. Sitting hunched over our computer, mouse in one hand, a doughnut or sandwich in the other, oblivious to the crumbs and flakes raining down upon the keyboard. You may be suprised to learn how many crumbs are lodged deep between the keys, eventually this may effect typing performance. The best way to remedy this problem is to use a mini vacumn cleaner such as the Data-Vac to suck out the debris. A cheaper alternative is to use a can of compressed air to blow away the unwanted hair and crumbs. Canned air can be purchased from stores like Radioshack. After this wipe away any stains by using a specialised cleaning wipe. A company called ACL Staticide manufacture wipes especially for notebook computers. Before starting any cleaning make sure your machine is switched off. As an added precaution it's advisable to wear an anti static wristband while performing any cleaning or maintenance. These can be purchased at hardware stores such as Compusa.
Cleaning the laptop screen
Your laptop screen is one of the most expensive components of your notebook, therefore care is needed to avoid scratches and ensure trouble free performance. Never use paper towels, or the cloth you use to clean your windows with. Your Liquid Crystal Display is fragile, and could be permanently scratched. Best to use a specialised wipe such as those manufactured by companies like the aforementioned ACL Staticide. Kimwipes are also great for cleaning laptop screens effectively.
Back up your data regularly
If you rely on your laptop for work, system backups should be performed often. Hardware though expensive can be upgraded or replaced, lost data is invariably gone forever. Transferring files over to floppy disks or CD roms can take a long time. A better alternative is to purchase an external hard drive and copy all your data over to the back up drive. You should also use system tools such as disk defragmenter often to optimise system performance.
If you're using your laptop online, make sure you have anti virus software installed. Zonealarm offers a free package that includes a firewall. Running a firewall will help protect your data from unwanted online observers whilst you surf the web. Running this software regularly alongside AVG or Avast will help keep your system running smoothly and delete nasty spyware, viruses and trojans. Adaware and Spybot search and destroy, are two more useful programs you should download and install on your laptop. They also help locate and delete spyware, the great thing is about these two is they are also both free!
We hope you find the laptop maintenance tips above useful, however please note. The information available here is the view of the authors and is provided with the understanding that the authors are not engaged in rendering legal, or professional services. If you have any doubts, it's best to leave laptop cleaning to a qualified technician.