By Linsay Narayanan, Product Specialist at Toshiba Southern Africa

Your laptop computer is your key to corporate success: it’s the tool you use to do your job every day, and it stores the wealth of information that keeps you on top of your game. It makes sense, then, to take good care of your device – and following these simple laptop-care suggestions will help make sure that your laptop last longer, and needs minimum maintenance.

Keep liquids and food away from your laptop

As tempting as it might be to drink coffee, water or any other liquids near your laptop, accidents can happen all too easily. Spilt liquids may cause electrical faults to the laptop, and may even damage it irrevocably.

Eating while you’re working is also not a great idea: food crumbs can get in between the keys in the keyboard and provide an invitation to bacteria, and they may also cause the keys to become sticky or jammed. It’s simply best to keep food and drinks away from your working area.

Play it cool

Your laptop generates a lot of heat, especially if the processor unit or hard drive usage is always running high-powered applications. Keep your laptop in a well-ventilated position and don’t block the fan grilles on the sides. Laptop coolers are also a great accessory to help extend the life of your computer – they have several fans to help reduce the heat and heated feeling on your thighs and hands. It also helps if you store your laptop in a well ventilated area.

Protect your LCD display

Always close the laptop lid when you are not using it to protect it from dust and dirt, and make sure there are no small items such as pens left on the keyboard before you close up, that will damage the screen when shut. Avoid touching the LCD screen, as this can leave fingerprints. Regularly clean the screen with soft cloth or an anti-static monitor wipe to keep your visual experience to the max.

Don’t drop it

As we spend more of our time on the go, it is very easy for laptop to be bumped or dropped when you’re moving around or travelling. A good durable carry bag that suits the size of your laptop perfectly, and that holds additional files and papers and the laptop’s power supply cables, will keep your laptop – and your documents – safe.

Battery life

To increase the battery life of your laptop, ensure that all chemicals in the battery are fully activated by cycling the battery (fully charge, then fully discharge) three times when you first take delivery of the device. If you are using your laptop for the first time, charge your battery for 12 hours continuously. This procedure is also recommended if you have stored the battery for a few months. Remove the battery pack and keep it in a cool place if you will not be using the laptop for a long period.

Keep accessories in good condition

Do not connect devices with damaged connectors/cables to your laptop as these may also damage your machine. If you use your laptop as a desktop replacement, do not leave it plugged in when you’re not using it, as this may have a detrimental effect on your battery life. Should you keep the cables plugged all the time without depending on the battery, remove the battery and store it safely, as this will help it last longer.

Back up your data

Back up all data that is sensitive or cannot be easily replaced to a safe location on the corporate network, or on an approved standalone hard drive. You may even consider backing up to one of several free Cloud-based services, if corporate policy allows. After confirming a successful backup, delete all data—both work and customer related that is not essential for the job being performed. Be sure to empty the Recycle Bin as part of the process too.

Clean up your system

Make sure you have the latest patch for your operating system and latest definition for your anti-virus. For Microsoft® Windows®, go to http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com.

If this webpage doesn’t open Windows Update automatically; click the Start button, All Programs and then click Windows Update. For other software, go to the manufacturers’ websites. Take the time to ‘defrag’ your hard drive – this not only speeds up data access, it also improves performance.

Remove unused programs and other components that only consume memory. Clear your temporary Internet files folder and cookies. Delete duplicate files or any large files you no longer use so that you can free up space.

Data Protection

Never write down or leave access numbers or passwords in the laptop carry case. If a laptop is stolen, immediately do the following: report the theft to the local police and to Corporate Security; if customer data was on the laptop contact your manager; change the password associated with the corporate user ID and if you cannot do this, contact your helpdesk for assistance. To avoid a virus, ensure that the latest antivirus software is loaded and running on your laptop. Also, you will want to make sure the firewall on your computer is turned on.

For maximum security, use a strong password on all local accounts, especially the Administrator Password. For a protected screen saver, you can use a password-protected screen saver set which activates after a maximum of 15 minutes of inactivity.

If you are a registered Toshiba laptop owner, you will be able to receive updates and information specific to your machine. This includes driver and download alerts and information about options and accessories created for your laptop. Toshiba laptops are covered by one, two or three year standard warranties depending on the model, effective from the date of purchase.

To ensure optimum service and support, registration of your standard warranty needs to occur. Toshiba also provides warranty extensions which allow you to extend your standard International Limited Warranty up to four years. During this period, you can take or send your defective Toshiba laptop to a Toshiba Authorised Service Provider, and all service parts and labour costs required to repair the Toshiba laptop are provided free-of-charge, subject to registering the unit online.

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