Getting the Most Out of Your Laptop

Paul Mah
Slide Show

Extend Your Laptop's Longevity

Follow these practices to stay far away from the repair folks.

For a while now, barring special requirements or reasons for wanting a desktop, most of us would simply buy a laptop. The portability of a laptop does mean that they are inevitably subjected to heavier wear and tear, though. On that front, I recently wrote a number of tips that should help prolong the life of your laptop.

 

Today, I have some recommendations to help you get the most out of your laptop.

 

Use a Proper Laptop Bag

 


The key to protecting your laptop investment while on the move is to get a proper laptop bag that will shield it from the worst knocks. There is usually no need to spend a fortune on special cases, however, as long as there is some form of padding. It's almost equally important, though to avoid stuffing the laptop compartment full of loose items such as power adapters, pens or flash drives. They will shift around to scratch or even damage your laptop. Put these items in another compartment instead, or place them into another pouch first.

 

Upgrading? Considering Switching to an SSD

 

From my experience, the average useful life span of a laptop is between two to three years. Instead of shelling out for a new laptop at the end of two years, however, you might want to consider upgrading to a solid-state drive (SSD) instead. While hardly cheap, the few hundred dollars for an entry-level SSD is still far cheaper than a new laptop. And the unique performance of an SSD when coupled with Windows 7 might surprise you yet.

 

Back up Your Data in the Cloud

 

It's always a good idea to back up your data, especially since laptops get lost or stolen all the time. Rather than constantly worry because you haven't been back to the office recently to back up your data, you might want to consider cloud-based backup solutions that replicate the latest changes to your work documents over the Internet in real time. And while you're at it, make sure to use full-disk encryption such as BitLocker to protect the data stored on your hard-disk drive.

 

Get an Additional Power Adapter

 

Unless your laptop never leaves your desk, I would advise you to purchase an additional power adapter to keep in your laptop bag. Get a generic laptop power adapter like the Kensington Wall / Air Ultra Compact Notebook Power Adapter that I'm using at the moment, which is lighter and thinner than the standard adapter that came with my laptop. It's a worthwhile investment since Kensington supplies a variety of power tips that will allow me to use the same power adapter with my next laptop.

 

In return, you get a (slightly) lighter laptop bag, and can also leave the original power adapter plugged into the socket at home or in the office. This reduces the hassle of packing and unpacking the same adapter daily, but also helps ensure that you don't forget to bring it along.

 

Use 'Hibernate' or 'Suspend' Modes

 

It sometimes surprises me how few people actually use the "hibernate" and "suspend" functions. "Suspend" mode basically puts your laptop to sleep while allowing you to get back to your work in just 1-2 seconds. It is perfect for moving from one end of the office to the next, or to conserve battery while waiting for your client to arrive.

 

On the other hand, "hibernate" allows your laptop to power off completely, consuming zero power. Returning from "hibernate" mode will bring you back to the same prior desktop state. In addition, waking up from "hibernate" is also faster than from a cold boot in most instances.



Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Jul 12, 2010 3:31 AM Lydia Seah Lydia Seah  says:

Hi Paul, your information and insights have been helpful.

Reply
Jul 5, 2011 4:48 AM Chriss Chriss  says:

Great points about how you can make your laptop more useful for yourself.. Thanks for this great info...

Reply

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