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10 Tips to keep your laptop in shape

Many of us rely on our laptops for work – to drive our business and maintain our livelihoods. For this reason, and because they’re costly to replace, it’s important to take steps to prolong the lifespan of your laptop and keep it in good working order.

Here are 10 tips to keep your laptop in peak condition and up to speed.

1. Shut it down

Laptops have both sleep and hibernate functions, one of which (depending on your settings) will engage when you close the lid. This is useful when you want to be able to quickly access what you were previously working on or bypass the booting up process. However, it’s recommended that you shut down your laptop at regular intervals to benefit performance.

Don’t put your laptop to sleep too frequently, especially if you plan to remove it from its docking station. When it wakes up it, performance can be hampered when it seeks out a docking station that isn’t there. Sleep mode also consumes more power.

2. Be careful of hidden free software add-ons

We’ve all done it – downloaded a free software program like a pdf reader or file converter and overlooked (which is easily done) the pre-ticked checkbox to download a new browser add-on or antivirus trial hidden in step five of your install!

When downloading and installing new software, take the time to go through each step carefully and avoid accidentally installing irritating software that could conflict with other programs on your laptop.

3. Close idle programs

Imagine you had multiple refrigerators in your home. Now imagine you left each fridge door open after grabbing something from inside. Not only will in waste electricity, but your fridges also won’t perform optimally and won’t last very long. It’s the same with the programs you’re running on your laptop. Closing down programs you’re not using will speed up your system and boost performance.

4. Keep your desktop tidy

Tidy desktop, tidy mind. Or so it’s been said. The truth is that reducing clutter on your laptop’s desktop can enhance the running speedy of your machine. Similarly, don’t go click-happy installing too many widgets, toolbars and sidebars. They all require resources from your laptop that could make other more important programs and features slow down, especially if it is looking for shortcuts that no longer exist.

5. Get wired

We know that using an Ethernet cable to connect your laptop directly to your Internet modem can be cumbersome, but it offers some major benefits over Wi-Fi, namely faster speeds, no signal drops and no wireless interference problems.

6. Plug in to power

It’s advisable to keep your laptop connected to a mains power source when possible. Not only do you never know when you’ll need to rely on a fully-charged battery, but running on battery-only power reduces the performance of your system.

Batteries lose their ability to hold a charge over time so using direct power as much as possible will prolong the lifespan of your battery. Doing this has no detrimental effects – as soon as the charge level reaches 100% the battery stops charging energy and this energy is bypassed directly to the power supply system of your laptop.

7. Unplug idle devices

Anything plugged into your laptop is requiring something from your machine, even if it’s only to recognize the device. Unplug memory drives and USB devices such as drawing pads and number pads when you’re not using them to boost performance.

8. Keep it clean

It is recommended that laptop users run regular PC cleanups to remove temporary files, browser history and cache, to optimize the performance of their laptops. You can also delete shortcuts to files and folders that no longer exist.

9. Remove old printer drivers

PC cleanup software often doesn’t remove old printer drivers which can slow down your laptop. To speed up your system make sure you uninstall printers you no longer use and delete the drivers associated with them.

10. Eat elsewhere

We’re all guilty of working through our lunchbreak and eating a sandwich over our laptop keyboard and you may relate to how annoying it can be to have a rogue crumb stuck beneath one of the keys. That is the least of the problems that can be caused by food falling into the inner workings of your laptop. In particular, spilled liquids can damage your laptop’s internal microelectronic components or cause electrical damage. Short circuits can corrupt data or even permanently destroy parts of your machine.

Maintain the life of your laptop and eat your lunch elsewhere – you also deserve that break away from your desk, take it!