Like many Americans during COVID, you might find yourself working from home and on a tight budget this summer. Whatever the circumstances, you’re probably trying to stretch your current laptop and electronic devices' lifespan.
We know it’s frustrating that tech devices are costly and not always long-lived. In fact, a laptop's lifespan is much like that of humans - a healthy mix of genetics, responsible behaviors, and good old fashioned luck. While some machines meet their demise sooner than others, some just won’t die, only to slow down to a turtle’s pace.
The first rule to remember is always, always, always backup your devices. If you fail to do so, the inevitable will happen - system failure. The longer we have our devices, the more irreplaceable data we accumulate. So before you address any issues or clean your device, make sure to back up all your data safely.
A little TLC can go a long way with tech devices. Here are some basic rules:
- Avoid letting devices sit in hot sunlight.
- Keep kids and pets at bay and don’t leave devices unattended. Put them in an inaccessible place so that keyboards and screens remain intact.
- Avoid eating around your devices.
- Regularly wash and sanitize your hands to help minimize oils and dirt that transfer to keyboards, which build up over the years.
- If you don’t regularly use your devices, put them in a safe, dust-free area.
- Even despite devices being in sleep mode, automatic updates mean that they will do just that - automatically update. Avoid placing devices in containers or areas that don’t have any airflow.
- Avoid leaving devices plugged in for 24/7.
- Don’t ever smoke around tech gadgets.
Not only is it important to keep the fan vents clear and dust-free, but you need to clean the keycaps, keyboard or touchpad surface, hinge, speakers, ports, vents and screens.
To clean your laptop, you’ll need:
- A microfiber cloth
- Mild dish soap, such as Dawn
- A can of compressed air
- Rubbing alcohol
- Unplug your laptop and power it down. Mix a couple of drops of Dawn with warm water, dip your microfiber cloth in the mixture, wring out the excess water and wipe down the lid and bottom panel first. Rinse the cloth with clean water, wring it out again, and wipe it down a second time. To help avoid water streaks, wipe down one final time with a dry microfiber cloth.
- The keyboard is a little tricker. You cannot let any liquid drip down under it. Using a can of compressed air, remove any crumbs that are in the crevices between the keys. Then dab a microfiber cloth in rubbing alcohol and gently rub the keys.
- If your laptop has side vents, you’ll need to use the can of compressed air to blow any dust or debris out.
Lighten the Load
Every few months, browse through files, applications, programs and services and eliminate any that you don’t need. If you need to wipe the hard drive and restore the operating system, consult the manual or resources online for step-by-step instructions, and don’t forget to back everything up before going down this un-doable road.
To help avoid unnecessary wear on laptops, consider using an external keyboard and mouse. If you continuously move between desk locations, get a dock or hub for external devices to reduce wear and tear from plugging and unplugging.
Most computers come with standard operating systems and hardware unless you opt for custom-built models. Consider choosing an internal memory or storage upgrade, if possible, as this can help increase your devices' lifespan.
Sometimes external upgrades can be more cost-efficient, such as an external storage drive. Additionally, always upgrade operating systems to help avoid harmful viruses and malware that can infect and wreak havoc on your machines.
Hopefully, by taking care of your devices, you can increase their lifespan, and while there are no guarantees, we believe that proper maintenance and care can help.