We all want our computers to last forever, but if yours seem to die early, your habits could be to blame. Here are some behaviors to avoid. Nothing lasts forever, especially technology. But if you behave well, your computer can last you a few years. If your laptop tends to deteriorate earlier than you think, you have a chance to help it. Especially with some bad habits. Here are some of the worst things you can do to a PC without even realizing you’re doing something wrong.
Leave your laptop on a soft surface (and other overheating issues)
Heat is the deadly enemy of your computer. If your computer gets too hot, the processor may slow down, strangle itself to maintain reasonable temperatures, or even shut down completely. Running at high temperatures for extended periods can reduce the life of your processor, fans and battery, not to mention that your computer sounds noisy and sizzles to the touch.
For desktop computers, the solution is quite simple: make sure your housing has adequate airflow, with enough vents and fans to keep fresh air moving through components. That means keeping it away from cramped cabinets and other heat-trapping spaces. You probably want to clean the dust from time to time with an electric duster (more on that below). And if you’re overclocking, be very careful to monitor those voltages and temperatures.
Laptops, on the other hand, require a little more care. Its portability leads to many bad habits, such as putting it on a blanket or other plush surface. This blocks airflow under the laptop and potentially through the laptop (if the blanket covers the vents).
When possible, use your laptop on a flat surface (where rubber legs usually lift it from a desk). Or at least make sure your lap is free of blankets and other things that can block airflow. Portable desktops are a good way to make sure things stay fresh.
Other than that, the same rules apply to laptops as to desktop computers: don’t leave them in hot places (like a car on a sunny day) and dust them out from time to time.
Letting Dirt, Dust, and Liquids Run Wild
All computers accumulate some dust over time, heating components and making fans work harder. While cleaning it regularly can help, you also want to prevent things from entering your computer in the first place.
For example, cigarette smoke and pet skins will aggravate those problems, and if you place your desk PC on the ground, you’ll make sure more dust, hair and debris are absorbed by the entrance. And if you have carpet on the floor, you’re probably blocking the power supply input fan. Keep your computer on a desk or other elevator, if possible, and make sure there are filters on your input fans.
Second, don’t eat or drink near your PC, or at least be careful when you do. Having crumbs on the keyboard is not only disgusting, but can also damage switches or make certain keys harder to press. And I’m sure you’ve heard enough horror stories about people spilling coffee on your laptop, which can destroy the machine.
Even well-intentioned movements, such as cleaning your screen with Windex, can introduce liquid where it shouldn’t be (in addition, Windex is too hard for your monitor). Spray your soft screen cleaner on a microfiber cloth, not on the screen, and don’t go crazy, a little yields a lot.
Handling Your Laptop Carelessly
Again, while desktop computers have the luxury of sitting comfortably in your office, laptops are subject to all kinds of abuse. I’ve seen people take the laptop across the screen, open the hinge on one side too hard and throw the laptop at the couch from across the room. (Sure, a sofa is pretty soft, but one day, you’ll fail and hit the table or the floor, and you’ll regret it.) I’ve even seen people use closed laptops as coasters for their drink. which makes me grit my teeth anxiously.
Laptops are designed to be portable, and some can be quite durable. But the more you abuse them, the more likely you are to damage something. At best, you’ll only have to deal with a worn laptop hinge or a crack in the case. But if your laptop has a traditional rotating hard drive instead of an SSD, shaking or shaking the computer. Especially if the drive is active at that time. It can even cause your head to dislodge or touch the surface of the disk. It’s not common, but if that happens, you’ll have a bad day, especially if you haven’t backed up your data. Your laptop is an expensive property: treat it as such.
Wrong handling of your old battery
Just because your laptop’s battery starts with “eight hours of battery life” doesn’t mean it will stay that way forever. Batteries degrade over time; you can get eight hours on a full charge when you first buy them, but after a few years, that can degrade to six or seven hours. There’s no way to escape this decline, but you may be degrading it faster than necessary if you always use your laptop at 0 percent.
To prolong long-term battery health, it is best to perform surface discharges and recharge it frequently. Don’t get too stressed about this, of course, if you’re on a plane and need to work, an occasional discharge won’t kill your battery, but over time, it’s better to sin from charging regularly than running. down to empty.
However, you should worry if your battery is swollen. If your battery is so bulky that you are pressing against your laptop case, creating a space between the panels, you should stop using your computer now and replace the battery (safely), so you don’t encounter an explosive fault.
When replacing the battery, do not buy a cheap imitation from eBay. Buy it from the manufacturer or from a respected external store. Low quality batteries, at best, will not maintain the charge very well and, at worst, can be dangerous. The same goes for third-party chargers. Just stick to the manufacturer’s official offer or, in the case of laptops that are charged via USB-C, a certified USB-PD charger.
Ignore electrical safety
Your PC consumes a considerable amount of power and is susceptible to surge damage: small temporary voltage increases that reach through the power line. These can occur after power outages, after turning on another high-powered device in your home or an unreliable power grid in your city. The power supply inside your PC includes basic surge protection, but you’ll get more durable protection from a dedicated surge protector.
Note that this is different from a plug strip, which provides multiple outlets without surge protection. Be sure to replace it every three to five years, as that protection wears out over time; if yours is old, it’s very likely that it won’t offer protection. Keep in mind that surge protectors won’t protect against high-voltage spikes (such as lightning), but they can protect you from smaller surges and extend the life of your PC.
If you have a few more dollars to spend, you may even want to get an unbroken power supply (UPS). This device contains a backup battery that prevents your PC from losing data during a sudden blackout.
Finally, laptops require a little more care because of their portability. While a desktop’s power cord can remain stationary for years, your laptop cable accompanies you everywhere, subject to twists, loud wall pulls, and other mis-handling. Not only can this make the cable unreliable, but it can also pose a fire hazard, so always pull the charger off the plug wall, not the cable, and don’t roll it too tight.
Tighten cables and ports
While damaging a USB port or cable is not as dangerous as misper handling the power adapter, it can still cause avoidable damage to your computer. This may seem obvious, but don’t force the cables into the ports if they don’t slide properly (I once met someone who inserted a USB cable into a FireWire port and broke both).
Similarly, if you leave something plugged in, be careful not to bend it; If you have a flash drive in your laptop’s USB port, using it cross-legged can bend the flash drive and damage the drive, port, or both. . And with USB ports at such a high price on today’s laptops, you definitely don’t want to ruin one of them.
The same goes for your wires. If you constantly make sharp curves back and forth, it is more likely to break the internal connection, which can make the cable delicate or useless. Keep them away from hungry children and pets that can chew plastic, and when you roll them up, avoid wrapping them too tightly. Fortunately, a damaged cable is cheap to replace compared to your PC, but why waste money when you don’t need to?
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Browse the web without protection
Contrary to popular belief, “common sense”, while very valuable, should not be your only protection against malware. Even legitimate sites can become infected with malware, transmit those problems to you, and browsing carefully won’t save you. You need to use antivirus on your computer.
Fortunately, Microsoft’s built-in Windows Defender feature has become pretty good, after a few years of below-average ratings. Leave it on and let it do its job. However, if you want additional protection, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is a little more aggressive with its protection, and I discovered that it detects many things that Chrome and Windows Defender overlook.
The free version is good if you only want to run an occasional scan, but the paid version includes always-on anti-exploit features that block potentially harmful sites before they reach your screen. When used in conjunction with a traditional antivirus such as Windows Defender, it will be quite well configured in protection.
On top of that, other basic security practices continue to apply: keep your software up-to-date (both Windows and the programs you use), use a good password manager (rather than using the same password on all sites), and learn how to detect phishing scams. Do not hack software (which often contains malware) and keep your home’s Wi-Fi network secure with a WPA2 password.
It may seem trivial, but a bad piece of malware or ransomware can cause you a lot of damage, so check out our guide to staying safe online for more tips.