How to take care of your laptop: Everything you need to know

How To Care For Your Laptop

Knowing how to take care of your laptop is crucial if you want it to last more than a year or two. And even though some devices are more durable than others, you can perform several steps to keep your computer in check – even if you have one at the lower end of the pricing scale.

Laptop maintenance can, however, seem overwhelming sometimes. And for many people, the process can be quite tedious. Nonetheless, the benefits you’ll see if you keep up with a routine will make any effort worthwhile.

If you want to learn more about laptop care, you’re in the right place. This article will provide several tips for making a laptop last longer. You’ll discover the top dos and don’ts for taking care of your device and the specific things you should do during your regular maintenance sessions.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

How To Care For Your Laptop

How to prevent laptop hinges from breaking

You probably don’t think much about your laptop hinges daily.

However, they’re essential for ensuring you can work from your screen without too many issues. And because they control whether you can close your screen lid, these are important for protecting your screen and keyboard.

If you want to stop your laptop hinges from breaking, you can try several things. The simplest way to keep these in check is to use your laptop on a stable surface. If you use it while sitting on the sofa, you can use a hardcover book to provide extra support.

If you’ve got small children, it’s also worth keeping your device away from them. Moreover, it would be best if you did whatever you could to prevent drops – as we’ll talk more about in the next section.

How To Care For Your Laptop

How to protect a laptop from drops

The most common reason people need to replace their laptops earlier than they should is because of drops. Not all forms of dropping your laptop are created equally; some are more catastrophic than others. It also depends on your device’s build, as some can survive harder impacts.

Regardless of the device you have, one of the best forms of laptop care you can do is to prevent your computer from a drop. To do this, you can try several things – such as only carrying one thing at a time.

Carrying your laptop and multiple books might seem a wise option for saving time, but you’ll regret it if you drop everything.

You can also protect your laptop from drops by only using it on a stable surface and, ideally, a table. On top of that, you can buy a bag to put your device in.

How To Care For Your Laptop

How to open a laptop

How you open your laptop can also determine whether it sustains physical damage or not. Many modern laptops, such as the MacBook Pro, simply require you to open the lid. You shouldn’t need to do anything different, and we do not recommend jamming anything to try and open your device if it gets stuck.

If your laptop has something that resembles a switch (i.e., it clicks when you close it), you’ll need to think a bit more wisely. Slide this lock so that it opens without making a clicking noise; if you don’t do that, you risk potentially causing damage to your device’s outer shell.

How To Care For Your Laptop

How to keep a laptop on

When learning how to take care of your laptop, it’s worth looking at what you can do when your device is switched on. One of the most brilliant things you can do is only use your charger when necessary; doing so can help preserve the long-term health of your battery.

If you want to use your laptop for an extended period, consider setting an automatic lock time for your screen. Whether your device runs on macOS, Windows, Linux, or something else, you should find a setting that allows you to choose this.

Doing so will stop others from using your laptop.

When using your laptop, think about only opening the apps you need to use at any given time. Having multiple tabs or programs open is not only annoying; your device will also need to work harder. Moreover, your battery will drain faster if you have more apps running.

How To Care For Your Laptop

How do I maintain my laptop?

Maintaining your laptop requires effort, and there are multiple things to do. Initially, your best option for laptop care is keeping things simple. For example, you can clean your screen and keyboard every week – or whenever too many fingerprints and other nasties appear.

Another easy way to maintain your laptop is by regularly emptying your Trash folder. Some devices will automatically empty these after 30 days, but you don’t need to wait that long. Consider emptying this folder every fortnight or so.

You can also maintain your laptop by regularly checking for signs of changes to how your device runs. Looking for physical damage is a good idea, but you shouldn’t worry about cosmetic ones like scratches.

Listen to how the fan sounds, consider whether your device is overheating too quickly, and so on.

How To Care For Your Laptop

How do I keep my laptop clean and healthy?

Besides being essential for your laptop’s overall health, cleaning it is brilliant from a hygiene perspective. The first thing you should remember is to use only a microfiber cloth on your screen. Regular towels might seem tempting, but you’re going to make it much easier for your device to begin scratching.

You should also refrain from using water to clean your device. Instead, you’ll find plenty of fluids designed for this specific reason. You also don’t need to worry about going to a specialist electronics store, as you’ll often see these in supermarkets.

It’s also worth buying tools that can help you remove dust from your device, such as a dedicated cleaner or a dust blower. Note, however, that you should not deconstruct your laptop to do this; if you do, you’ll likely void your warranty.

How To Care For Your Laptop

Do’s and don’ts for laptops

Now that you know a little more about laptop maintenance basics, let’s consider some useful do’s and don’ts. We’ll start with the things you should think about doing before moving on and discussing those that you should avoid where possible.

Do’s

Do keep your laptop’s software updated

When looking at how to take care of your laptop, you should ensure that your device’s software is always up to date. Not keeping your laptop software updated can cause several problems, such as reducing the level of performance that your device is capable of.

On top of that, you could leave yourself open to malware and other security threats.

How you update your laptop software will depend on your operating system. For example, if you use a Mac, you can opt to receive software updates automatically. And even if you don’t, you can install updates by going to your System Settings.

Generally speaking, your device will send a notification when you’ve got new software to install.

Do buy protective casing for your laptop

It might seem tempting to keep your laptop how you bought it, but getting a protective case for your device is a good idea. Although these won’t guarantee that your computer will survive every fall, they will provide an additional layer of protection.

When looking for a protective case, try not to skimp on price. Beyond a certain point, you’ll begin sacrificing quality – which would make buying a protector pointless.

It’s also worth thinking about purchasing a screen protector. Besides stopping potential cracks if your device suffers a heavy impact, you’ll keep annoyances – such as scratches – away.

Do keep your laptop well-organized

The more you use your laptop, the trickier it will become to keep everything organized. You’ll inevitably download multiple files and folders and save things on your desktop. But while it can seem tempting to do all of this in a carefree manner, doing so benefits nobody.

When you get a laptop, you should make a conscious effort to keep everything well-organized. You can, for example, create different folders on your desktop. Doing so will allow you to divide everything as you feel is necessary.

You should also empty your Downloaded folder regularly, as beyond a certain period, you’ll often only need a few of the files that you see in there.

Do use high-quality chargers and adapters

You will find plenty of third-party chargers and adapters for your laptop. And while it can be tempting to use some of the cheaper ones, we don’t recommend doing so. Like with cases and protectors, you’ll experience a trade-off beyond a certain point. 

Using cheap chargers can also result in your battery life degrading, which is not suitable for the long-term health of your device. If you use a third-party charger, you should conduct extensive research before purchasing one. 

Do turn off your laptop properly

One of the most common laptop care mistakes is not turning off their devices properly. Instead of shutting their device down by going to the dedicated option on their computer, they hold the standby button on their device. Doing so can cause several problems, such as corrupting files.

The only time you should use the standby button to switch your laptop off is if your screen has frozen. It may feel laborious to turn off your device by clicking a few extra buttons, but it’s worth it for the long-term health of your computer.

Do use the right type of cleaning tools for your laptop  

We’ve already mentioned the importance of cleaning your laptop regularly, and we can’t stress enough how crucial it is to use the correct cleaning tools.

Do not use soap, water, or spray to wipe surfaces in your house. Doing so can cause significant problems and result in you needing to replace your laptop quicker than you would have wanted.

Don’ts

Now that we’ve looked at some of the most important things you should do with your laptop let’s look at some of the most important things not to do with your laptop.

Don’t download apps from websites you’re not familiar with

Cybercrime is a huge online risk that has existed for decades. But if you think this kind of thing only occurs to big businesses, think again; anyone can become a victim if they aren’t careful. The good news is that you can do several things to ensure you’re not on the receiving end of an attack.

One of the easiest ways to avoid cyberattacks is to be careful when downloading apps. Generally speaking, you should be okay if you download something from your operating system’s app store. Online, however, things can be trickier.

The best way you can keep yourself safe is by only downloading apps from official websites. For example, Notion and Spotify don’t have apps on the Mac app store – but you can download these from their sites.

Don’t take your laptop apart

If you’ve noticed something is wrong with your laptop, it might be tempting to begin deconstructing your device. Similarly, you might think that doing so is a smart option when performing regular cleaning. But in both cases, we strongly recommend against doing so.

Unless you know what you’re doing, you could cause irreparable damage to your laptop. Moreover, you will often void your warranty, meaning you’ll need to pay more if something goes wrong.

If you need to take your laptop apart, take your device to an official repair shop and allow an expert to do the heavy lifting.

Don’t drink beverages next to your laptop, unless you can close the bottle lid

If you’re like many knowledge workers, you spend a lot of time sitting at your laptop each day. And, of course, we’re not going to tell you to avoid staying hydrated. What we will say, however, is that drinking anything from a cup is not how you take care of your laptop.

Spillages are so common around laptops that they’ve become a meme in many cases. And, needless to say, liquid tends not to mix too well with electronics.

If you must drink water, coffee, or something else next to your laptop, use something that has a lid. You’ll find plenty of flasks that can help keep your coffee warm for longer, along with a whole host of water bottles.

Don’t remove external hard drives without ejecting them

Another common laptop care mistake many people make is not ejecting their hard drives. Again, we understand why; it’s much easier to pull a plug from your laptop than to right-click and select “Eject.”

Sure, you can get away with doing this in many cases – but you’ll probably run out of luck if you keep doing it regularly.

Not ejecting your hard drives can result in your files getting corrupted, which causes significant problems. You might need to wipe everything and start again, and you’ll also likely lose essential files.

Take the extra few seconds to eject your external drives properly; trust us, it’s worth it.

How To Care For Your Laptop

What regular maintenance should be done on a laptop?

Considering that this article talks about how to take care of your laptop, we decided to include a section on what you should do for regular laptop maintenance. Below is a selection of things to consider.

Cleaning your keyboard and screen

The first thing you should do for your laptop maintenance is clean your keyboard and screen. Doing so will help remove dust and other things you don’t want on your device and get rid of germs. Ideally, it would be best if you cleaned your laptop with the correct fluid around once per week.

If you want to keep your screen clean, think about wiping it around twice weekly. You can make your job much easier by not eating food around your computer and washing your hands regularly.

Checking for malware

Malware can cause several performance-related issues for your laptop, and it’s also a problem for your security. Because computer viruses evolve daily, you should check for malware every day if possible.

The best way to check for malware is by using an antivirus solution, such as Malwarebytes, Norton, or McAfee. When you use software of this kind, the program will automatically check for potential threats – and you can choose to quarantine them.

Common signs that your laptop might have malware include:

  • Overheating for no reason
  • Suspicious apps being downloaded on your device
  • Slower performance

Deleting any apps that you don’t use

When learning how to take care of your laptop, you should keep everything as streamlined as possible. Often, we can allow apps to accumulate over time – even though the reality is that most of us only use a select few at any given time.

For regular maintenance, go through your laptop and delete any apps you don’t use. You may be limited in this respect; you won’t be able to remove some that were pre-downloaded. But for anything you can get rid of, do it.

Regularly update your software

Operating systems receive multiple updates throughout the year. While Windows doesn’t announce huge changes as often as macOS, you should still download anything that gets released.

As we mentioned, you’ll typically receive a notification when you’ve got a new software update for your device. Once you see this, we recommend downloading it as soon as possible.

One side note when updating your software: Have your charger handy, as these can often consume significant amounts of battery life.

Clear out files and folders

Over time, you’ll gather a lot of unneeded files and folders on your laptop. Some of these might be things that you once needed but no longer do, such as Word documents and some PDFs.

Others, on the other hand, might be annoyances like duplicates; this will especially be the case if you’re a photographer or something similar.

If you want to keep your laptop in tip-top condition, going through your files and folders around once per month – and getting rid of everything you no longer need – is a good idea. Many laptops have tools that help you find bigger files and folders that might consume more storage space than you’d like.

Remove old passwords

As you visit more websites and download more apps and services, you’ll start saving many passwords on your device. Over time, however, it’s worth changing these regularly. Moreover, you should remove any services that you no longer use.

When performing your regular maintenance sessions, we recommend looking through your old passwords and removing any that you no longer need. Many modern laptops have a place where you can store your passwords, and you should be able to get rid of them quickly in this area.

Now you know how to make your laptop last longer through regular care

Having read this article’s end, you should now have a better understanding of how to take care of your laptop. When buying a new device, you’ll need to consider several factors if you want it to last longer – and even if you’ve had your computer for a couple of years, you can still maximize its lifespan. 

Some of the ways to keep your laptop for longer are simple. For example, you shouldn’t drink or eat close to your device – unless your drink has a sealable lid. Similarly, you should ensure that you clean your computer regularly. 

In some cases, you can eliminate a lot of the manual work to ensure your device runs smoothly. One of the best examples of this is using a malware solution. And once you’re ready to start looking for a desktop replacement laptop, you can check out our article.

Fabrik: A branding agency for our times.

Danny Maiorca
Content writer
Danny Maiorca
Content writer
Danny is a senior writer and regular contributor to the pages of Brand Fabrik, where he creates resources, guides and reviews to assist readers from the creative services community. Adding sparkle and clarity to his content, Danny allows our brand personality to shine.

  • Sign up for updates

    Sign up for your regular dose of Brand Fabrik and be the first to receive insights and inspiration.

  • Sign up for updates

    Sign up for your regular dose of Brand Fabrik and be the first to receive insights and inspiration.

Explore