A laptop which is well looked after should give years of happy and reliable computing. Even second user ones should get the same treatment as brand new ones. By following some simple steps you should be able to delay or avoid repair / replacement costs.
Screen:- Laptop screens are made from rather flimsy flexible plastic and what you see on the screen (LCD) is made up of hundreds of thousands of pixels generated by individual transistors. Avoid poking the screen with your finger or other object. You should also be careful that when you close the lid, nothing like a pen or other object is left sitting on the keyboard. If your screen needs cleaning, it is far safer to use a proper cleaner made for the purpose. You should never use soapy water or other detergents as these may react with the screen, resulting in failure or permanent misting.
Battery:- There are two main types of battery used in laptops but their life span / charging cycles are similar. You can normally expect that the battery will last from between 2 to 3 years. Each time you charge the battery it loses a bit of its life span. You can help maximise its life by doing the following:-
If your laptop is connected to the mains for long periods, then remove the battery. The laptop / netbook will function normally even when the battery is removed ! Leaving the battery in at these times will constantly charge and discharge your battery shortening its capacity when using the battery only.
Lithium Ion batteries should be recharged when the capacity is around the 10% - 15% of time remaining. However, Ni-MH batteries work better if charged after allowing it to fully discharge. The type of battery in your laptop will normally be printed on the battery casing.
The hotter your battery gets will also shorten the life span. Keep it as cool as is possible by using it on a surface that freely allows air to circulate. Avoid using it on surfaces like bed covers or carpets as these will restrict air to the vents. Besides hot temperature affecting the battery life it can also damage the laptop itself.
Breathing:- Keep the air vents clean and dust it down on a regular basis. Keeping the vents clean will help to keep the machines temperature cool. Dusting it often will mean that all the keys will work well and you will be able to view the screen without a layer of dust etc on it. Use a very soft brush or light air to get any debris out from between the keyboard keys and never use a vacuum cleaner as your keys are likely to disappear up the pipe!
Always store your laptop away from other electrical equipment as the magnetic fields they have can damage the laptop.
Keep your laptop out of the kitchen. It sounds obvious but this is particularly important when not using it as it wont take long for tea and coffee cups to be placed next to it and for small granules to find their way inside the laptop.
Keep it packed away in a proper laptop bag when not in use. Never stand anything on the laptop when the lid is closed and don't put it where someone is likely to sit or stand on it.
If you are leaving your laptop anywhere, including in your house then do not leave it in clear sight of thieves. Laptops are easy stolen and very easy to re-sell.
It is a bad idea to leave your laptop in the boot of the car overnight. Temperatures in the boot can vary wildly and this will not do your laptop any good at all.
Be careful about eating and drinking. Spill anything on your keyboard and you are likely to need a new keyboard if you are lucky. If you are unlucky then the spillage could destroy a lot more, including the motherboard. Say goodbye to lots of money or the laptop altogether!
Germs:- We all saw the adverts about flu germs etc being passed on by touching surfaces after others. Keyboards are no different. You can guard against these by cleaning the keyboard with antiseptic wipes. Just clean the keys by wiping very gently.
Finally:- do not leave your laptop plugged in when not in use.
Caring for your Charger:- Under normal conditions laptop chargers generate some degree of heat. This is normal and is not a cause for concern. To maximise the life of your charger and safety, we recommend the following:-
Use the charger if necessary, only while using the laptop.
Do not leave the charger plugged in and connected to the laptop all the time.
At night always remove the charger plug from the mains socket. If the charger develops a fault at night, it could cause a fire or poisonous fumes.
Ensure that you provide adequate ventilation to stop it overheating. In extreme cases this can even pose a fire risk.
For maximum safety always make sure to keep your charger away from external heat sources, such as a room heater. The charger should have plenty of ventilation at all times. Don't cover the charger with anything, especially items that are easily flammable (papers, magazines etc.).
Select a hard, flat surface that is heat resistant and away from all liquids.
Please think safety - Your life may depend on it.
Disclaimer: This guide has been compiled purely to offer advice. We accept no responsibility for any loss or damage by following / not following any part or parts of this guide.