How to make your new laptop last longer

Tuesday, 16 June, 2020

The last three months has provided millions of Britons with a crash course in working away from the office.

And laptops have been central to this revolution.

Whether you’re freelancing on a Chromebook, creating visual media on a MacBook or running a small business from a Dell or HP laptop, portability has become crucial.

Offices up and down the country are full of redundant desktop computers, while the limitations of tablets are cruelly exposed over a 35-hour working week.

Many people have either been given a new laptop, or invested in one privately.

These shiny new devices will never run faster, or be in better condition, than they are when they emerge from their boxes for the first time, covered in clear film and polystyrene.

And since they often belong to our employers, who are effectively trusting us to work from home while hoping we don’t let them down, it’s crucial to preserve and protect these devices.

That means doing everything possible to make your new laptop last longer, including the following…

Invest in a protective case.

Laptops often have sharp corners, which generally react to sudden contact with hard surfaces by splintering or cracking.

And while solid state storage is far more robust than traditional spinning-disc hard drives, internal components could still be damaged by impacts or shocks.

A wraparound cover offers some protection against liquids and moisture, while reducing exposure to port-clogging dust. It also reduces scratches on the chassis or screen.

Avoid installing non-essential software.

A quarter of smartphone apps are only used once. You should only ever download and install essential or desirable software, and this philosophy also extends to laptops.

Every added program occupies part of the available device storage, and it could be consuming system resources while running silently in the background.

Each new install brings additional passwords, extra device permissions, and a higher risk of conflict with either the operating system or other software.

Minimise heat.

An easy way to make your new laptop last longer involves regulating its temperature.

Devices which have to work in hot conditions or direct sunlight experience more fatigue and premature failure than computers kept at room temperature in the shade.

Ensure protective cases will permit the fan to continue performing optimally, since even slimline laptops have to vent the heat that’s generated by their components.

Run regular updates and malware scans.

A constantly evolving array of malware threats circulates in cyberspace, with technology firms endlessly racing to plug newly-discovered holes and repair vulnerabilities.

This is why real-time updating of software and operating systems is critical. Without it, your system could be hacked, held to ransom or permanently corrupted.

Windows 10 now comes with antivirus software built-in, but it’s still important to permit every requested or required update from this, other programs and other antivirus utilities.

Use external peripherals.

A docking station can be an invaluable investment if you want to make your new laptop last longer.

It redirects everything from keyboard and mouse inputs to monitor and speaker outputs through external peripherals, reducing daily wear and tear on the laptop’s built-in components.

If your laptop is primarily used in conjunction with a protective cover and a docking station, it could resemble a new product – physically at least – for many months.

Neil Cumins author picture


Neil is our resident tech expert. He's written guides on loads of broadband head-scratchers and is determined to solve all your technology problems!