Mar 03, 2014

What are the biggest threats to laptop longevity?

What are the main things that can be avoided/done to help laptops last longer and save on laptop replacements and repairs? Laptops, on average, don’t survive nearly as long as desktops at my company. Replacing them adds up pretty quickly, as does repairing them, which is not nearly as cheap or easy as repairing a desktop. Obviously not dropping them would be a good move. This is a common cause of failure, even though it is also common to get a “I don’t know what happened” when there is clearly damage from a drop. Aside from telling people, “No, really, don’t drop it,” what will help them last longer?

I agree with dthomas, keep the vents clear. That can be a huge help. Also, beware of spilling liquids into them or dropping them. I almost had mine go tumbling off the top of a portable stand I had on top of the washing machine! I caught it at the last instant, I was horrified at the thought of it smashing into the floor. Ouch! Talk about a lucky catch!

Aside from being treated like a basketball, the biggest laptop killer is heat. Clean the vents. Tell people that laptop does not literally mean to put it on their laps, which generally blocks vents and causes overheating. Baby the battery a little. If they are plugged in all the time, either make sure that laptop has a power management system that incorporates a power scheme for that, pull the battery, or unplug it occasionally and use it on the battery down to the low charge warning. The last bit may be a touch of snake oil, but it seems that I have had the longest battery life when I do it. Fortunately, most laptops come with better power management than they did 5+ years ago.

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