Insights > Do's and Don'ts: Using a Laptop Computer

Do's and Don'ts: Using a Laptop Computer


Laptops are more common than ever thanks to advances in technology that can give you the power of a desktop computer in a small, portable device. Protect your computer and the data stored on it with these simple tips.


Back up locally and on the cloud.
Backups are important to keep your data safe in the event your laptop crashes. Both Windows and Mac computers have native backup methods that store your data on an external hard drive. After the first backup, your computer can make regular updates in the background with no further work required on your part. It's not a bad idea to also use cloud storage to keep copies of your files on a remote server so you can always access your data when you need it.

Keep it clean.
Avoid eating and drinking near your laptop. Regularly clean your keyboard and vents with canned air, and clean the display with screen cleaner and a soft towel. Never use Windex or a paper towel, as both can damage your screen. If you spill liquid on your computer, immediately remove the battery, cables and flash drives. Dry the machine as best as you can, then take it to a repair shop.

Use energy-saving settings.
Adjusting the display brightness is one of the easiest ways to prolong your laptop's battery life. Many computers include optional settings that can dim the screen when the laptop isn't plugged in or turn the display off after the computer isn't in use for a certain period of time. Sleep and hibernate modes can preserve your laptop's battery life on long trips.


Lift the laptop incorrectly.
Never pick your laptop up by the display, keyboard or any corner. Close it first, then grab the front or rear of the device. If you have to carry an open laptop, pick it up with both hands and transport it carefully. Carrying your laptop while it's open can cause unnecessary stress on the hinges, which can damage your computer and potentially cause the screen to stop working.

Use it as a briefcase.
Your closed laptop may seem like an easy carrying case, but you should never use it as one. Loading the keyboard with paper, pencils and other supplies before shutting the lid and carrying the computer will likely damage the keyboard and scratch the LCD display. After your warranty expires, replacing a damaged display can cost as much as a new computer.

Block the fan vent.
Today's processors are more efficient than ever, but laptops still generate a lot of heat. Your laptop can overheat if internal heat can't escape, potentially causing hardware failure and permanent damage. Be wary of uneven surfaces like blankets, carpet and pillows that can obstruct the laptop's airflow, and invest in a laptop cooler or cooling pad if using your computer in those locations is unavoidable.

With these tips, your laptop can enjoy a long and healthy life.

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