Keeping Your Laptop Like New - Always  

by Ismael D. Tabije

Laptops are expensive. Therefore you need to take real good care of it. And laptop maintenance is not a one time thing. It should be a regular exercise. To prevent your notebook's LCD from becoming smudged or dirty you should clean it regularly. We recommend spraying a diluted window cleaner onto a soft, non-abrasive cloth and then lightly wiping the screen with it. It might be simpler to just spray the detergent directly on the screen but it's not recommended as the fluid can trickle down into the bezel at the screen's bottom which could in turn damage the computer's circuitry.

When it comes to getting rid of dust, dirt and food crumbs off the keyboard, a vacuum cleaner's brush attachment is ideal. There are handheld vacuum cleaners, specifically intended for PCs that can remove the dust and food from in between the gaps on the keyboard. But if you're traveling, a vacuum cleaner would be quite cumbersome. In such cases, you can use a canned aerosol cleaner to spray a blast of air between keys. And in case you spill something on the keyboard, you should immediately switch off the laptop and place a towel over the keyboard, and turn it upside down to drain the fluid and prevent it from leaking into the computer's circuitry.

And if you happen to travel a lot, your laptop is only as good as its battery. Luckily, most laptops today use lithium ion batteries that aren't afflicted with the memory-loss problems of the older nickel-cadmium batteries. However, in time it's inevitable that your notebook's battery will lose its ability to fully hold a charge. So, make sure that you replace the battery every 18 to 24 months. However, if you don't use your laptop often then you might not need to change the battery so frequently. One way to make sure that your battery lasts as long as it can is to reduce your screen's backlighting. Also, configuring your power settings so that the display shuts off after inactive periods can significantly increase the life of a battery.

However, there's more to the maintenance of a laptop than just making sure that the exterior is clean and neat. When using it, always remember to keep it in a cool environment. A laptop computer generates a lot of heat and too much heat can damage the internal circuitry. So always try and keep your laptop in a well-ventilated and cool environment. Also it's important to ensure that the fan grills on the sides, back, or bottom of the machine are not blocked while it's in use. Also, LCD displays are fragile devices that need special care. So as much as possible, avoid touching or playing with your LCD screen. And clean the screen only with the approved cleaning materials.

Another risk to your laptop is viruses. So make sure to get hold of an anti-virus program and keep it updated. Buying an anti-virus one-month and not updating it regularly makes the whole process useless. Your laptop could be exposed to hundreds and thousands of new viruses every month and if you don't update your virus definitions then some viruses will go undetected by the program. And to make the whole process less complicated, most anti-virus programs have automatic update methods, so that you don't have to remember to do it manually.

And always use a firewall on your Internet or network - enabled laptop. Also block out all the unnecessary ports and close all loopholes to prevent a hacker or virus from entering your hard drive. And whatever you do, don't drop your laptop. And finally always keep it safe inside a carrying case, especially when moving it or traveling.

About the Author

The writer, Ismael D. Tabije, runs the website, , where one can buy cheap laptop and notebook computers of top brands like Acer, Apple, Compaq, Dell, HP, IBM, Sony and Toshiba. The site also offers tips on buying laptops, ink cartridges, computer rentals, choosing PDAs, and care of your laptop batteries.

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