By Stephanie Faris
Over the years, electronics manufacturers have found innovative ways to protect laptops from damage. Thanks to conformal coating, laptops are protected against moisture and corrosion in small amounts. While this certainly doesn’t mean a consumer should work in the bathtub, most laptops can sustain a minimal amount of humidity and exposure to water.
However, there are some behaviors that can significantly reduce the life of a device. Many of these behaviors can happen in 10 seconds or less, leading to a loss of years of documents. To save yourself the cost and headache of replacing a laptop that should have lasted at least a couple more years, here are a few things you should never do.
Keep drinks nearby
Everyone at least knows of someone who has spilled soda on a keyboard. When that keyboard is connected to a desktop, it can usually be replaced for less than $20. But if the keyboard is part of a laptop, the damage can be devastating. The best practice is to keep any beverages on a separate surface from the laptop. At the very least, it should be far enough away that if it should spill, the liquid won’t reach the laptop. If the worst should happen and your laptop should come in contact with liquid, turn it off, remove all peripherals and the battery, and turn it upside down to allow the liquid to drain off the keyboard before it reaches any important circuits.
Drop it on a hard surface
One of the most dangerous things about mobile devices is the fact that they are so easily movable. Smartphones and tablets can be tucked into briefcase pockets and purses while in transit, but laptops must be stored in dedicated bags. When going from your home office to your bedroom, most users won’t bother with a laptop bag, putting the laptop in danger of being dropped. To prevent drops, make it a practice to always store the laptop in a bag when moving it.
Use it on your lap
The very word “laptop” implies it’s meant to be used on a lap. However, resting a laptop directly on a lap, blanket or bed can block the vents, causing it to overheat. Over time, this overheating can cause hard drive problems and, eventually, complete hard drive failure. For best results, make a small investment in a lap desk or cooling pad.
Use it as a table
Laptops aren’t meant to bear the weight of seven thick school textbooks. In fact, piling things on top of it could result in a cracked screen, which usually results in costly repairs. It’s important that laptop users—especially those who are younger in age—understand how delicate laptops are and treat them accordingly and not as a surface.
Computer insurance can help protect against accidental damage, but it’s important to check to make sure coverage extends to damage through negligence. Younger users are more likely to have an “oops” moment, but busy professionals may be just as likely to accidentally drop or spill something on a laptop in the course of a workday. A few cautious measures can help extend the life of a laptop to five years or longer.