How to make sure your laptop has a long life

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Obviously you want to make sure your computer lasts as many years as possible. And now, this is especially true if you are using Windows 7 or Windows 8 because if you buy a computer right off the shelf now it will most likely be running Windows 10. The laptops I sell are almost all Windows 7 since that is still the preferred operating system (in my humble opinion) and it will be supported through January of 2020. But it’s all the better if you can keep your current laptop running well for as long as possible.

Laptop care


Here are 6 things you can do to help your laptop to have a long life:

1. Never use it on a soft surface. You might see ads for laptops showing someone in bed but that’s just marketing nonsense. A laptop by nature runs hotter than a desktop computer because all of the components are crammed into a small space. There are exhaust vents on the bottom or sides that need to be kept open for the hot air to escape. If it doesn’t, your laptop will overheat – this can damage it, and it might even shut down if it gets too hot.

laptop care


2. Always use a cooling pad. This kind of goes along with #1 – it keeps your laptop nice and cool. A cooling pad is basically just a small “platform” that your laptop sits on while you use it. The cooling pad has one big fan or 2-3 smaller fans built in, so that it automatically sucks the hot air away from the laptop. A cooling pad is less than $20 and you can get them anywhere computer supplies are sold (here’s a nice one for $15 on Amazon).

Laptop care




3. Don’t lift up just one side of the laptop. This is something I see all the time. When a laptop is brand new, the connection that the power cord has when plugged in to the back of the laptop is nice and solid. But if you tilt up the laptop from the front (to retrieve a piece of paper, or to look under it, etc.) the power plug is stressed. Doing it once might not matter, but when you do that more than a few times, eventually it will mean that the power cord plug won’t make contact with the power jack inside the laptop. That’s when you have to wiggle it or hold it a certain way in order for it to make contact and provide power. You can eliminate most of that problem ahead of time though – if you want to get under the laptop, just lift up the whole thing at the same time.


4. Thunder or lightning? Unplug! In our house, whenever we hear thunder or see lightning, we unplug all of the computers as well as the big screen TV. You should unplug anything you would not want to have to replace. Voltage surges can happen anytime, but they are usually the worst during an electrical storm. And don’t tell me, “It’s okay, I have a surge protector.” If lightning strikes nearby, your little surge protector is no match for it. The nice thing about a laptop is, assuming your battery is good, you can still keep using it even during the storm. I also leave my Verizon FIOS modem plugged in, so I can still go online with my laptop. If the modem gets fried, Verizon will just send me a new one.

laptop care


5. Remove the battery for extended periods of non-use. If you’re planning to not use the laptop for 30 days or longer, it’s best to just take the battery out during that time. Depending on how strong the battery is, it might be low (or dead) when you put it back in, but just let it charge up and start using it again.


6. Keep liquids away! It’s always a shame when someone brings me their computer after it’s had something spilled on it. Coffee, beer, milk, Coke, Kool Aid – it’s all bad and has the potential to permanently destroy your expensive laptop. If you’re going to spill anything on it, spill water – it’s the least destructive and at least it will dry completely. But if it short-circuits something on the motherboard, even spilled water can mean you’re about to replace your laptop. And it’s so easily preventable! If you must have a drink nearby while you’re working on your laptop, make it something like a bottled water that has a lid. Replacing the lid each time you take a drink is a whole lot better than replacing your laptop!

laptop care


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March 14th, 2016

Wanted to add another important point that applies to smokers. Do not smoke while using or around your laptop. The nicotine and smoke accumulate inside the laptop and that can cause trouble. Look at the walls in whatever room you smoke in, walls can be washed unlike the inside of your laptop.

Suzanne van der Merwe
March 15th, 2016

Hello Scott!

I have not been well lately and to write on the laptop is just too hard .
My arms and fingers can’t keep it up.

I have just read what you said about how one can ensure a long life for your laptop by applying the six tips.

Thanks—I was surprised at myself —I have been doing quite well with that.


March 23rd, 2016

Thanks alot about Laptop computer – I just gave my daughter one and she needs to know things like this so I won’t end up giving her another one
Look forward to hear from you every monday.
Thanks, In Advance