The laptop is the main work tool for many of us and since everything requires basic maintenance that may be immersed in the daily struggle that we do not do and that is required as a regular task that has numerous tasks Benefits in terms of performance, efficiency and safety.
If you’re enjoying the Christmas break or have some time to spend on your computer, in this post we’re going to remind you of a series of steps to set up your laptop. We will mention some essential “cleaning” actions and others that are recommended in both hardware and software areas. An “investment” of time that can save us a lot of headaches and perhaps money by avoiding future operational problems.
Laptop maintenance – hardware
The screen is one of the most sensitive components of our laptops and therefore cleaning it must be done with the utmost care. It is recommended to use special products such as foams and soft cloths for cleaning and drying so that there are no traces of liquid. The best way to do this is to spray the cleaner on the cloth, then use it to wipe the screen and rub gently in one direction. Avoid products that contain acetone, ethyl alcohol, toluene, acid acetate, ammonia, or methyl chloride. Using any of the chemicals mentioned above can permanently damage the screen.
It is an easy task to use special products or others that we all have on hand. Simply warm, slightly soapy water and a well-wrung, lint-free microfiber cloth. Take particular care that no liquid gets through the ventilation slots. There are many kits for sale on the internet that are very inexpensive and also suitable for the screen and contain certain wipes and liquids. Remember without ammonia or alcohols.
Clean the keyboard and trackpad
First, we remove dust and debris between the keys with a can of compressed air and / or a special mini keyboard vacuum cleaner that usually includes a cleaning brush for access to difficult areas. In extreme cases the keys can be removed. Then we would do the cleaning the same way we did the chassis to prevent moisture from seeping under the buttons and affecting the electronics.
Clean the ventilation slots and connections
This is an important section as the dirt or dust in these openings can affect the performance of the device, keep fans connected, and turn off the device if the temperature rises above the safety limit. In the end, the service life of the components is reduced. For cleaning we can use a mini vacuum cleaner and a can of compressed air that blows into the ventilation slots and into all ports of the laptop. Pay attention to the pressure so as not to damage the components.
If your laptop allows it, and you think dirt has gotten into the interior as well (you couldn’t believe how some of these are) the panels can be removed for better access. If you are knowledgeable and have no problem with the warranty, annual disassembly and general cleaning is great. Here we would include changing the thermal paste into the CPU and cleaning the internal components, especially the fans. The mini-vacuum cleaner for the keyboard and the compressed air tank (watch out for the pressure to avoid damaging the components) are the materials to use. Block the fans before applying the compressed air, because if they go crazy they’ll make noises for a lifetime.
And let’s not forget peripheral devices like mice, headphones or optical pens, which in addition to cleaning, also require disinfecting a solution of water and diluted bleach and a microfiber cloth that runs across the entire top and bottom surface, the keypad and the wheel of scrolling and be careful with the ear pads.
Laptop maintenance software
Just as important as the physical cleanliness of the hardware is the digital cleanliness of the software. One thing leads to another and should be performed as a regular maintenance task. Some basic questions.
Operating system update
The operating system is the software base of our devices and we need to make sure that it is updated to the latest compilation, or at least the latest security patches have been released. If the versions are older, there is a higher risk of being attacked by cyber criminals who find vulnerabilities in the program. All operating systems have automated programs for updating versions or manuals by downloading the latest version.
Just as important as updating the operating system is that of the applications. The new versions of the applications we have installed offer more performance and stability in most cases. In addition, malware has a preferred method of infection by exploiting software vulnerabilities. Particularly critical applications such as web browsers, their extensions and plug-ins, Flash, Java etc. The same applies to driver updates, especially for graphics cards, which should be kept up to date with the latest version from the manufacturer.
Backups are an essential maintenance measure that must be carried out by any professional or user in order to protect their data. A computing device can fail at any time because of a hardware problem in some of its components such as the storage device or memory, in the system software and applications, or because of a virus that deletes files or prevents access to the device. Loss of our work or personal files can be costly and sometimes without recovery. Therefore, it is important to perform this backup task regularly. Use this “technical stop” to do so.
Another task in the maintenance of laptops is to improve their security. If you have the latest version of your security solution installed, download or run “cleaning” and scan the system for malware, including external hard drives or USB sticks that you also use regularly. For persistent malware hidden in the system, there is nothing better than using “Live CD / USB” antivirus, which is created on removable media and can be started without affecting the installed operating system.
Change your passwords
By completing the Security section, you can take the opportunity to renew the access passwords for your devices and services. This is an important matter that should be done on a regular basis. Keys have to be long and complex. Dictionary words and names should not be used. It is also recommended that you combine non-alphanumeric characters, uppercase and lowercase letters. A recommended option is to use a ‘password manager’ which, in addition to protecting our identity, avoids the need to create and store multiple passwords.
Remove unused programs
You likely have a good number of apps that you no longer use. It is a good time to remove these programs that are taking up memory and space in your professional laptop and slowing down its operation. All systems have a program deinstallation function. In Windows via the control panel or the general configuration tool.
Reduces the starting load
Windows operating systems have a system configuration feature called “msconfig” which, in addition to the advanced services, allows us to select the applications that will load when the computer starts, which will reduce usage and improve performance. You can access it by the name of the msconfig command from the run function. In Windows 10, you can use the “Task Manager” to manage startup items.
Enable system restore
System Restore is a system restore tool that you can use to undo changes to operating system files, settings, preferences, drivers, registry keys, or installed programs. System Restore is a tool that can “save our lives” in the event of a software failure, virus penetration into our computer, or the simple installation of drivers or an application that is not working properly and sometimes destabilizes the operating system.
The battery is another of the most important components of a laptop. Although it is a consumable item that we must replace before its useful life reaches the end of its useful life and compromises our autonomy, a number of steps can be taken to maximize the health of the battery, its performance and its lifespan, starting with checking the status and performance of the calibration, including maintenance work.
Other laptop maintenance tasks
There are other tasks we can do to complete the setup of the equipment such as: RAM check. Your mistakes can drive us crazy because they usually happen randomly when doing different types of tasks. Another task is the defragmentation of hard drives. The fragmented data is reorganized on a volume. (This is not required or recommended for SSDs). Finally, advanced users can clean up the system registry, the database that stores information about the configuration of devices, hardware, and software. This increases over time and slows down the devices.
This type of maintenance should be part of the regular tasks that need to be performed from time to time. Invest a little time because it makes numerous contributions Benefits in terms of performance, efficiency and safety.