How To Keep Your Laptop In Tip Top Condition

Nearly 90% of college students own laptops. They're a big investment for anyone, but most college students don't have the extra funds sitting around to replace them when they break down. A few simple techniques can keep your laptop running for the whole length of your college career.

How to keep your laptop computer in tip-top condition, Laptop Safety Tips

Always run your laptop on a smooth, hard surface

Though the name suggests otherwise, never set your laptop on your lap - or pillows, blankets, or other soft, uneven surfaces. These can prevent airflow to the bottom of the computer and cause overheating, one of the biggest contributors to computer failure.
The heat from a laptop can reduce sperm count in men by as much as 40% when placed on the lap.

Put your laptop to sleep before putting it in your bag

Don't drop your laptop into your backpack as soon as you close the lid. It often takes several seconds for the hard drive to shut down, and it can be damaged from bumps and movement while still running in the mean time. Just to be safe put your computer to sleep before closing it.
Laptops are 80% more energy-efficient than desktop counterparts. They also ran 20% more efficiently when plugged in.

Don't leave your laptop plugged in 24/7

Constantly charging your computer can degrade the battery and shorten its life. If you use your laptop as your desktop, make sure to unclog 2-3 times a week so the battery can get the exercise it needs to stay healthy. Similarly, don't leave your computer without any battery at all for long period of time, as this too can cause degradation.
Every year, Americans homeowners waste $4 billion on vampire power, the electricity consumed by devices that remain plugged in but not in use.

Clean out your computer once a year

Exercise dust build-up is one of the most common factors in compromised computer performance. Use compressed air, a vacuum, or cotton swabs to keep all openings clear year round (also works for the area beneath the keys), then open up the case once a year to gently clean the insides (repair shops will do this for you if you're squeamish about such things).
Major buildup can make the internal temperature of a computer rise as much as 30`F - A level which can cause complete failure.

Shut down your computer every few days

Many of your computer's normal maintenance tasks revolve around your computer shutting down and starting back up, including clearing caches and short term memory and installing system updates.
For those of us who live on our laptops this is often tough to remember, but it can work wonders (especially if your machine has been behaving oddly).

Be prepared for thieves

Most immediately turn to the police when their laptop is stolen, but even with locating software installed, it can be difficult for the police to get a warrant to reclaim the laptop.
The best solution is encrypting sensitive data. Using an open-source tool like TrueCrypt is like a safe for one's computer: a thief may get in the front door, but they can't get to the valuable goods. And though it goes without saying: never leave your laptop unattended, and lock your dorm room door even when leaving for just a few minutes.
According to the FBI, a laptop is stolen every 53 seconds, only 3% are ever recovered.

Backup everything

And though it may seem like obvious advice, many people just don't do it. For students, the stakes are especially high as papers, notes, and projects can all be lost permanently. Buy an external hard drive from a reliable brand and backup at least once a week - you'll be safe in case of theft, crash, or spilled beer.
A gigabyte of data is very cheap in 2013, so there's no excuse to not backup your files.

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