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Laptop Maintenance Basics

Laptops are everywhere. They're on planes, at work, in sports bars, or at home with the kids. These computers used to be heavy, awkward, and generally unpleasant to move around with. As time has gone on, they have become smaller, lighter, and more versatile.

With these new technological developments, however, came some costs. One of these costs was that many laptops, while more technologically advanced, have retained their fragility and sensitivity to all sorts of problems. And since these objects can be so expensive, it's important to understand how to take care of them and extend the lives of these pieces of important equipment.

Warranties and Insurance

The warranties and insurance that protect laptops are a crucial part of maintaining them. It's very important to know for which circumstances your laptop is covered. Some warranties have time limits and other parameters that dictate the contexts in which you're liable to get your money back for your machine. Read carefully!


Laptops are usually operated by hand (in case you didn't know, there are laptops with software that let you use voice activation.) Your hands have all sorts of nastiness on them: dead skin, random bits and pieces of stuff from throughout the day, and germs of all sorts.

Since laptops are capable of getting so dirty due to your typing, it's important to take several surface areas into consideration. The primary areas of laptops that need cleaning are the keyboard, the screen and the mousepad. Each section is either touched directly by your hands or consistently comes into contact with surfaces that do.

Cleaning the screen isn't complex but there are rules if you want to keep it clean and avoid destroying your computer.

  • Turn the computer off.
  • Use a soft cloth or material (a paper towel works if you're in a bind.)
  • Dampen the cloth (notice that it says dampen, not wet, you don't want this thing dripping.)
  • Clean.
  • Dry.

You can use a can of compressed air to help clean the keyboard. Cans of compressed air allow you to drive out dust and other hard-to-reach contaminants when you can't just reach in with your finger. You can also use a paper towel to sweep the keyboard but make sure the computer is off when you do it and be careful.

Cleaning the mousepad is also important. Since the mouspad comes into contact the most with your fingers, cleaning it regularly is your best bet. Use a paper towel to sweep, possibly when its very lightly dampened and if you find persistent grime, using for fingernail to scrape it off can be a good way to handle things.

Lastly, one trick for preventing the accumulation of dirt on either side of the mousepad can help you keep those surfaces clean. Use two post it notes where you're likely to rest your hands while typing. The post it notes will keep the dirt and debris from your hands from ending up collecting on the surface of your computer.

Remember that protecting your laptop can be expensive and technical when you're not careful. These are some tips and tricks for keeping your laptop clean and maintained but know that you'll have to do your own research based on the make and model of your laptop to keep it in the best condition possible. Good luck!

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