Do’s and Don’ts for Laptop use.

Like a lot of our clients you may be using a laptop as your “main” computer. The speed and power of these devices are getting better all the time, but as speed and power increase so does heat! Too much heat can kill a computer! If you are old enough you may remember when computers had to be refrigerated so they wouldn’t overheat. Here are some basic rules to follow to get the best performance and longevity from your laptop.

#1 – Turn it off! Simply closing the “lid” on your laptop does NOT turn it off (unless you have gone into the setup of the laptop’s power settings and changed the configuration to “shut off” when cover closed). The default action (what the laptop does right out of the box) is go into standby mode. This makes for very fast startups when you lift the lid but the computer is still running which not only is wasting power it is also contributing to #2 on this list. To turn off your laptop use your on screen SHUT DOWN control. For instance on a Windows machine select Start then click on shut down. If you want to be Ultra Green remember that the charger/power supply for your laptop is ALWAYS drawing power when it is plugged in, so either unplug it or connect it to a switched outlet on a power bar so you can simply flip a switch to totally shut it down.

#2 – Remove your battery! Most laptop computers do not need to have the battery in the machine in order for it to turn on and operate. If your laptop sits in one place in the home and stays plugged in all of time take the battery out. Rechargeable batteries have a finite number of times that they can be recharged and when kept in the laptop if it is plugged in it is constantly being recharged, just a little, but enough to drastically effect the number of times that battery will be able to recharge. Also the control program that determines whether the battery needs charging can “overcharge” the battery over time, effectively boiling the battery. Put the battery in a drawer and when you know you will need to go unplugged reinstall it and give it a charge.  The battery will last at least 10 times longer!

#3 – Learn how to do routine maintenance on your computer. Operating systems by default set a time for the computer to perform automated required service on your computer. Normally this is done without you even knowing that it is happening, unfortunately, this maintenance is set by default to take place at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning, a carry over from when all computers were desktops and were running 24-7. You can change these settings, but it is important that you learn how to perform these tasks manually. Things like disk cleanup and defragmentation, online updates of the operating system and hardware of the computer. You should do this at least once a month if you want your computer to work up to spec. Go to your help menu and type in maintenance and your computer will teach you how and what should be done.

#4 – Get a GOOD anti-virus program for your computer. There are plenty on the market but what I use, and one of the best ones out there is free if you are running a Windows computer with Windows Vista or Windows 7 and that is Windows Security Essentials. This program is included with Windows 8 and the new Windows 8.1. Download it and learn how to use it! There are also very good products from companies like MacAfee, Symantec, and Eset to name a few. Stay clear of the “Suites” solutions you don’t need them and they tend to slow down your computer – just get the anti-virus program. This applies to Mac users as well, there have been some pretty nasty virus’s for Apple products lately! Steer clear of internet service provider’s internet security “packages” that charge you a nominal fee every month to “protect” you and your family while on line – THEY ARE A WASTE OF MONEY – PERIOD! There are also plenty of “fly-by night” online – we can fix it websites out there that will take your money and usually not get rid of the problem you may be having. Consult an expert. Practice safe procedures when on line and opening emails… you know the routine!

Remember that Wired 1 Consulting also offers expert computer diagnostics and repair (in home) in addition to Custom Home and Commercial Electronic solutions. Please let us know if you need our help!


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