5 Ways to Make Your Laptop Last Longer

Laptop users are familiar with two scenarios: the excitement over opening a shiny new computer, and the sinking realization, after a few years, that the machine has run its course and it’s time to get a new one. But many users forget that the way they use their laptops can greatly determine how long it lasts—and we’re talking a difference of at least two years. If you want your laptop to last as long as possible, read on for some practical tips.

Keep it dry. This means not drinking while using the laptop, if you can avoid it. There’s the obvious danger of spilling hot coffee all over your machine, but little drops here and there can also add up. The damage can be as simple as a stuck key, or a short-circuit that renders some interior parts permanently unusable.  At the very least, invest in a drink holder that will prevent cups and glasses from tipping over.

Work on a flat surface. Despite their name, laptops are really best used on tables. Resting them on beds, pillows, and yes, your lap, blocks the heating vents on the sides and bottom. This makes the computer heat up faster and the inside parts work harder. If you work on your bed or couch a lot, invest in a computer mat and a cooling pad.

Be gentle with the DC adapter. A lot of people tend to ram the DC jack into the laptop, and yank it out with as much force. The jack is connected to the motherboard with delicate solder joints, and if you’re not careful these can crack and damage your power supply. This is often the reason a laptop starts charging more slowly or isn’t able to hold as much power after a couple of years.

Clean regularly. It goes without saying that laptops, just like desktop computers, benefit from regular cleaning. Use a compressed air bottle to remove dust from your keyboard and the heating vents—this helps it cool down more efficiently. You may have to open up the laptop to access these parts; if you can’t figure it out, bring it to the shop or have a computer-savvy friend help you out. Do a cleaning once a month, or more if you transport your laptop regularly.

Protect the system. An antivirus is essential. Most computers now come with one, but it’s always good to look around if there’s something better. The best ones are seldom free, but it’s a good investment. Set it to do regular checks, and make sure it updates the database frequently.