Extend Your Laptop’s Lifespan

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4-Step Computer Security Upgrade

Learn to encrypt your files, secure your computer when using public Wi-Fi, enable two-factor authentication, and use good passwords.

Smartphones can make your life easier, and iPads can be a useful addition to your practice, but most attorneys still live and die by their laptop.

Whether you recently bought a new laptop or are looking to extend the lifespan of an older model, here are some tips to extend your computer’s usefulness.

Even computers need rest

Most operating systems do some form of cleanup during the shutdown and startup process. Many people never turn their computer off, which means their operating system never has the chance to tidy up. I used to leave my computers running all night for weeks on end. Now, I either logout or shut down every night, which might explain why all of computers are at least 4 years old and still run great.

Depending on your operating system, it may still do some cleaning during down periods–like the middle of the night. But some do not. Turning off will give it time to clear the table.

In addition, your hardware needs a rest too. Even when your computer is sleeping, it is still running. Turning it off will allow everything to cool off, take a breather, and be ready for you the next day.

Most computers are not weather proof

Buried in your computer’s instructions are suggested maximum/minimum operating temperatures. I don’t know many people that sit outside with a laptop when the temperature is above 100 degrees. If you are, you should probably stay in the AC if you want to use your computer.

I know plenty of local attorneys who leave their laptop in the car overnight during winter. Assuming your laptop is still there the next morning, letting it sit outside in frozen temperatures is not a good idea. Even if you are not using it in -20 degree weather, that extreme cold can do some damage.

Train your battery

There are varying schools of thought on whether you can extend your battery’s lifespan. The consensus, however, appears to be that taking the right steps can make a difference. Even better, most of the techniques are easy.

Techniques may vary, but many suggest putting your computer to sleep, fully charging it, letting it drain, and then fully charging it again. Think of it as resetting the batteries memory. I have tried this technique more than once and it almost always has worked. The exception was a battery that was well beyond it’s usage cycle and needed to be put to the pasture.

Take care of your laptop and it will take care of you

None of these tips are particularly time intensive or difficult. In the long run, using these simple techniques will help your computer run better and last longer, which is always good for the bottom line.

(photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jangelo/858322706/)

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  • I thank you, and my little netbook really thanks you.

  • Another tip, if I may: Be aware of where your laptop is venting (fan, keyboard, etc.) and keep it unblocked. I’m amazed at people who use laptops on soft surfaces like couches and beds, not realizing they’re blocking the airflow critical to keeping components cool (and extending the computer’s life). If you use a laptop “off desk” a lot, one of those laptop cooling pads might be a good investment.

    • Along the same lines, blow some compressed air through your vents from time to time. You’ll be amazed at the dust bunnies that hide in there.

      And clean your keyboard once in a while. Running Scotch tape under the keys works wonders. I’m always amazed at how much better it functions when I do that.