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Six New Years Resolutions for Your Laptop

Posted in Tips for Devices
at 2010.01.12


This year will be different and you’ll take extra good care of your laptop, right? Here are six pointers to keep your laptop humming at top speed and to protect your email, files and data.

Don’t Drink and Drive.

If you have liquids near your laptop, you increase the chances of a spill. Always keep beverages a good arms-length away from any computer equipment.

Give Your Email a Work-out

Pick a day each month (perhaps your day of birth) to review your emails and file, archive or delete the messages that are more than two months old. If this is too tedious, you can automate the archiving process in a relatively painless way. In Outlook, click ‘File’ and then ‘Archive’ to set the configuration. Archiving helps keep your PST file (which stands for “Personal Information Store” and contains all your outlook data) under two Gigabytes. If your PST file grows too large, it can cause Outlook to slow down considerably and even make it crash. So, give your email a monthly work-out and reduce it.

Get File Insurance

Unlike life insurance, ensuring the safety of your files is cheap and does not require an agent other than yourself. Put simply: Back-up your files. The process seems like such a chore, but it only takes a few minutes every week. Do not put your data’s safety on the back burner. Schedule a time each week to do your data backup to an external Hard Drive. If you have extremely important data, the best way to be absolutely certain that all your data is safe is by using an online backup. Online backup really is the wave of the future. LaptopMD suggests Mozy.com with an unbelievably cheap data backup solution that anyone can afford. For $4.95 per month, you receive unlimited, instantaneous online backup. If your laptop is lost or stolen, or your home is damaged by flood or fire, your data will be safe and sound on a server and accessible at all times from any computer in the universe. Whether you choose online back-up or manual, do it every week.

Keep Your Email Free

Use web-based email such as Yahoo, Hotmail, or Gmail. These free accounts are preferable because they are accessible from anywhere on the globe and they are compatible with every operating system. At LaptopMD, we often assist clients with email accounts from Verizon, TimeWarner, or Earthlink who find themselves tied to a specific service provider. If they move and the service provider is not in that area, they are forced to change their email address, which is a big pain. Using a free web-based provider makes the transition between providers easy and painless. Plus, there is no need to back up your email, because it is always stored on a safe server with enormous storage space.

Check Out the Flashing Maintenance Light

Like the Check Engine Light on a car, your computer has a way of signaling you. An updated antivirus is the cornerstone of any healthy computer. When you are notified to renew your subscription, do not wait – update it as soon as possible. Consider it health insurance or preventative medicine, which is definitely worth purchasing once a year for $30-$70. If your laptop does become infected, it can be costly to remove the virus from your system. Your updated antivirus will protect you from 90% of the viruses online. Keep in mind that you still need to be conscientious of your web surfing and stay away from torrents, and programs like limewire. There is no antivirus that can protect you from every single virus, but smart web browsing and an updated antivirus will pretty much guarantee your safety.

Let Your Laptop Breathe

It’s best to rest your laptop on a hard flat surface so its air can circulate. When laptops were named “Lap Top Computers” there were no fans inside and air flow was barely necessary for healthy usage. As faster processors and higher quality graphics cards became standard equipment, laptops required fans with heat-sinks to disperse the heat from these components. Blocking the air vents surrounding these fans can effectively render the fans useless. This causes the cpu and gpu to run incredibly hot, and eventually burn out. When that happens, you will most likely need to replace your motherboard, which carries a hefty price tag. If you prefer to work on a couch or bed, make sure the vents are unobstructed; especially the vents around the fans. If you feel the laptop getting especially hot while watching movies, you can purchase a relatively inexpensive laptop cooling fan which will guarantee your fan to have the best air circulation possible.

If you follow at least two of these tips, you can be sure your laptop, email, files and data will be secure. If you follow four or more, we at LaptopMD might wonder why we don’t see you around anymore.