While chitchatting over dinner with a friend, the topic of laptops came up. She informed me how hers had broken down several times during last two years and how she had to spend a considerable amount on repair fees. Hearing this, I told her about my two laptops which I have owned since last six years which never required refurbishing and are still in mint working condition.
It really surprises me why people have so many problems maintaining their laptops. So I asked her what exactly had happened and things became much clearer after that. Considering my friend’s dilemma, I thought hard and jotted down a series of tips and techniques which will hopefully assist in lengthening the life of laptops.
No Such Thing as Overcharging The Battery
Most laptop owners while using their laptop unplug it from AC and let it run on battery power. When the battery starts getting drained they plug it back in AC. People think, if they keep their laptop connected to AC power source for too long it will overcharge the batteries and somehow damage them; this is a wrong perception. As a result, the battery’s serviceable life cycle decreases because every chargeable battery has an inbuilt predetermined quantity of charge – discharge cycles.
It is a commonly known fact that the manufacturers of the laptop are more concerned about overcharging issue than the end consumers. The lithium batteries that are used in laptops are infamous for their relatively unpredictable nature; as a matter of fact most of them come equipped with a mechanism that prevents undercharging. Putting in simple words, it means the batteries will permanently snub charging attempts if the power supply is insufficient. Charging the batteries when the power is too low might cause them to combust, so it is highly recommended to keep the batteries of laptop charged to the maximum capacity.
Don’t Ignore Unusual Sounds Emanating From Laptop
If you come across an audible unusual sound like buzzing or humming originating from your laptop, it is a clear indicative to send it for repairs without wasting any time. The laptop has two movable components which can be held responsible for this uncharacteristic sound and those are the hard drive and the intrinsic ventilation fan. The sound definitely means that one or both of these parts is about to malfunction. Procrastination and hoping that sound will go off by itself is inviting disaster. If the hard disk crashes abruptly, it will result in precious data loss and when the ventilation fan fails some other piece of hardware like the processor or the RAM might get burned to a crisp. So the first order of business upon hearing such sound should be to take immediate backup of the data and send the laptop for repairs.
Always Attach an External Keyboard or Obtain a Keyboard Protector
Keyboard is the part of a laptop that receives the most physical punishment as people tend to exert more force than required. Although, manufacturers of laptops keep this possibility in mind while designing the keyboard even then if it gets damaged it causes tremendous problems, and it must be maintained to provide optimal performance. People tend to use laptops while munching on food, and other small office items tend to just slide under the keys and gather there.
Just for such scenarios a keyboard protector comes in very handy as it keeps these foreign items out. However, to avoid degradation of intrinsic keys on your laptops, it is suggested that an external keyboard be attached to use. Wireless keyboards seem very appropriate when it comes to such task.
Run Defrag Program For Un-cluttering Hard Disk
The hard disk on a laptop or on a computer tends to become less responsive and slow performance wise over months or years of usage. This is because of the way the inherent file system works on a computer and this predicament is quite unavoidable. Therefore, it is recommended that a defragmentation of data on the hard disk drive is scheduled from time to time. A word of caution however, defragmentation of SSD’s or Solid-state disks is harmful and can reduce their lifetime. New operating systems have taken this factor into consideration and have eliminated the option for defragmentation completely. One example of such an OS is Microsoft 7, nevertheless every operating system can’t be relied upon to provide the same cautionary measures.
Restrict Movement While Carrying The Laptop
As mentioned before, hard disks are one of the two movable parts of a laptop. Hard disks move in a circular pattern or spin around which is measured in revolutions per minute. A typical hard disk spins 4,200 to 7,200 times in a minute; the way the hard disk rotates its head is only a fraction of inch away from the spinning hard disk. Although, technology has compensated by coming up with newer innovative measures to avoid the head crashing into the hard disk, it is not a recommended procedure to haul the laptop around tucked under the arm while it’s on.
Consider yourself fortunate if you are the owner of a laptop which comes equipped with built in software that moves the head away from the rotating hard disk when motion is detected. Despite this, it is recommended that laptop be handled gently.
This scenario is however not applicable to solid state drives which are fixed and have no requirement of spinning.
Proper Shut Down Is Imperative
A sure fire way to damage or even completely destroy the laptop is the habit of stuffing it inside a bag while it’s still on. Although, most people wouldn’t consciously or intentionally do this, there are instances of people just clicking shutdown and putting the laptop inside a bag without giving it a chance to properly power off.
Sometimes, some applications take their sweet time to terminate or the operating system itself might take longer than required to power off the laptop. In this case, it will be switched on and stuffed in a confined space for hours until the batteries die out. It has been noticed that such treatment can fry the hard disk after a few instances. Take time to properly shutdown your laptop and before putting it inside the bag make sure that it is completely powered off.
Always Have Laptop Serviced By Qualified Technician
Hauling in the laptop for servicing can prove to be a cumbersome process. It begins with obtaining a backup of all the data and allowing the technician to do his job while you wait patiently for days or even weeks. No one is perfect and there are chances that the technician hasn’t done a satisfactory job of mending your laptop. The technician might decide to replace some part which didn’t require replacement and hence opening up a whole new box of problems that might result from it.
It is highly recommended that initial diagnosis be done before hauling the laptop off to a service station. This should be done by a tech savvy person or qualified help desk personnel. This would separate the problems being faced by the inexperienced technician and allow for a speedy way to deal with it.