Laptops. As robust and high tech as they may seem, we all know that all it takes is a spill of coffee or a particularly malicious virus to destroy your hard drive for good. And with the average student laptop costing around £560 to replace*, that’s a financial burden you’re unlikely to want to bear when all it takes is a quick bit of maintenance or a software update to keep your laptop in working order.
If you’re unsure where to start when it comes to laptop maintenance, here are five easy ways to look after your laptop and extend its life expectancy.
*Endsleigh student lifestyle survey 2017-18
1. Install security software
The first thing to do when you get a new laptop is to make sure you have robust security software installed on your device to protect it from viruses and malware. Sometimes anti-virus software will be included with the laptop when you first buy it - but if not, it’s best to download some virus scanning software straight away.
2. Regularly clean your hard drive
It can seem like a lot of hassle to clean and defrag your hard drive, but it’s actually really important to make sure you do this regularly - if for no other reason than to make your laptop work a lot faster!
Defragging is a maintenance task that essentially consolidates ‘fragmented’ files, creating space on your hard drive and allowing your laptop to run more efficiently. However, even just a quick clean-up of your hard drive, manually going through and removing any unused or unwanted files, will help to improve performance dramatically.
Bear in mind that if you have a solid-state drive (SSD), no defragging is necessary (as the way the hard drive works doesn’t result in fragmented files) - but you may still want to have a general clean-up of any old or unused files.
3. Keep an eye on your surroundings
If you’re logging into your laptop from a remote location - such as an internet café, coffee shop or library - keep an eye on what’s going on around you. Not only can connecting to a public Wi-Fi network make you more susceptible to hackers, but pretty much anyone will be able to take a quick glance over your shoulder and learn your account password.
If you’re working in a public place, keep an eye on your surroundings (picking a spot where your back is against a wall, ideally) and be particularly careful when connecting to unknown networks or plugging into unfamiliar sockets.
4. Physical security
Aside from the general software updates and hardware maintenance you’ll have to go through when you buy a new laptop, it’s a good idea to physically protect it as well. Purchasing a suitable case and screen protector will help to keep your laptop safe from spills, drops and scratches.
5. Have a backup
Even if you do everything right, downloading all the right protective software and maintaining your hard drive every month, things can still go wrong. That’s why it’s a good idea to have more than one copy of your computer memory, either on an external hard drive, online cloud (such as Google Drive or iCloud) or a shared space (such as SharePoint or Drop-box).
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