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How to Make Your Laptop Last as Long as Possible

March 31, 2009

in computer hardware

by Tina Gasperson

If you’re fortunate enough to have a laptop computer, you know it’s an expensive piece of equipment. Laptop computers are just as powerful as desktop systems, but come in a specially engineered portable package so you can take your data with you wherever you go. Because they’re easy to carry, laptops are also more susceptible to damage – and they’re more difficult and expensive to fix if something goes wrong. Here are some tips for keeping your portable laptop computer working well past its warranty expiration.

First of all, make sure you have a sturdy case for your laptop. It’s the number one thing you can do to protect your computer from bumps, dirt, dust, and liquids. It’s understandable to want to get a great deal on a laptop case, but you should spend as much as you can afford to get good protection. Keep your laptop in its case whenever you’re not using it, even when you’re at home.

Keep your laptop cool. Whenever you use it, make sure it is in an area that has good ventilation. Don’t let it sit on a bed where the covers can block the fan vent. If you use it in bed, raise the laptop by placing it on a tray with legs. Always remove the laptop from its case before you turn it on.

Be very careful with the laptop display. Since it is attached to the rest of the computer and not separate like the monitor on your desktop system, if your laptop’s LCD monitor gets damaged, the whole computer is damaged. Your laptop display gets a lot of use since it is also the lid that closes on top of the keyboard. When you open and close the laptop, make sure you are gently grasping either the corners or the very center of the edge of the screen and slowly lifting or closing it. An unbalanced grip or too rough handling can break the hinges or even cause the monitor to stop working.

Don’t leave your laptop running when you’re not using it. Because it runs hotter, it’s better to turn it off or put it into hibernation mode. Shut it down and pack it into its case, then store it in a safe place. If you follow these steps, you’re much more likely to get several years of use and enjoyment from your laptop computer.

Tina Gasperson (, affectionately known as Computer Lady by her family, has been writing about IT, home computing, and the Internet for more than a decade.