In a bid to help users who encounter problems with their laptops, I wrote "<strong>Seven Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Laptop</strong>" last year, sharing some suggestions that I hoped would help users keep their laptops running. With laptops gaining a majority of the market share and the trend set to only increase, I wanted to continue from there and write a follow-up piece to help users get the most out of their laptops.
I've been using a laptop as my primary productivity machine for more than six years now. Below are some pointers I'd like to share:
Use an external mouse
Don't get a new laptop battery
A common temptation when buying a new laptop is to purchase an additional battery "just in case" you need the extra juice. The truth, however, is that most of us simply don't need the additional battery to lug around. In addition, the chemistry of modern lithium-ion batteries means that they essentially start dying the moment they are created. Old batteries do not hold the same charge as brand new ones, even if they are doing nothing more than lying unused in the drawer.
Mind the heat
One of the main laptop killers that I've observed over the years is heat. Excessive temperatures cause electronic circuits to fail faster, as well as dramatically shorten the productivity lifespan of a battery. Laptops that were designed to properly dissipate heat generally don't have this problem, though not all brands are equal in this regard. You can purchase a laptop base with a built-in fan if you detect hot-spots that trouble you, but I personally don't use one.
Invest in an additional power adapter
One item I highly recommend buying is an additional power adapter. Its advantage here is mainly about convenience-the original power adapter can be left in the office for one less item to pack. Of course, getting the original brand of power adapter is usually quite costly, which is why third-party ones are preferable. I use a model from Kensington that offers an additional USB charger for my iPad. I personally leave the slim power adapter in my laptop bag so I never forget to bring it out, and its replaceable power tips mean that it should be able to support my next laptop as well. (Note: Laptop power adapters are generally usable around the world with an appropriate adapter.)
Protect from physical damage
I find it ironic that folks will spend thousands of dollars on a brand-new laptop, only to cram it into an unprotected bag with power adapters and other knick-knacks. Invest in a proper laptop bag (with some padding at least) to protect it from the occasional knocks.
Do you have any suggestions on how to get the most out of your laptop? Feel free to share them here.