Behind an automobile purchase, consumers spend more money buying computers, laptops, and netbooks than on any other product category. Yet, unlike automobiles, PC laptops and netbooks often break down or underperform due to neglect. Keys on the keyboard become stuck, screens collect so much dust they distort images, and the chassis collects an inordinate amount of grime. As with the monthly tune-ups that car owners perform, laptop and netbook owners have a substantial list of weekly and monthly maintenance tasks that ensure their machines run smoothly and quickly.
Laptop and netbook owners cannot only shop for machines in person or online, that can also find the products they need to maintain their machines at the same venues. Of all of the choices for shopping, the best option, the one that provides the widest selection on netbooks and laptop accessories, is eBay. Before consumers go online to enhance the performance of their laptops and netbooks, they should first learn about how to clean and protect their machines, as well as learn the maintenance steps to perform on a weekly and monthly basis.
How to Clean PC Laptops and Netbooks
The smudges, dust, dirt, and even crumbs collect without users even knowing it. Multiply one day's worth of filth by seven or 30 days, and laptop and netbook owners have a serious problem on their hands, or at least they should remove the problem with their hands. Neglected laptops and netbooks, especially used models, cannot only underperform if left dirty, they can also break down. Here are three ways to clean a laptop or netbook before the British Department of Health pays a visit.
Wipe a dry microfibre or cleaning cloth over the chassis to remove smudges. Microfibre cloths of varied strength are available at electronics shops and on eBay. For tougher stains and embedded dirt, mix one part mild dish soap with five parts warm water. Set the cloth in the soap solution, wring out excess water, and wipe the chassis exterior. After using the soap solution, finish cleaning by wiping the chassis with a clean, damp cloth. Some screen cleaners work as well, but ensure the cleaners are not abrasive.
Laptop and netbook users can find a number of screen cleaners, often from the manufacturer's website. Spray screen cleaner on a microfibre cloth to wipe fingerprints, dust, and smudges away from a laptop or netbook screen. Move the cloth gently in circular motions until the entire screen has been covered. If needed, apply slight pressure to remove stubborn smudges and fingerprints. If a standard screen cleaner does not remove the difficult stains, prepare a cleaning solution of distilled water and white vinegar. Make sure to turn the laptop or netbook off before applying the stronger cleaning liquid.
Keyboards are sensitive laptop and netbook components, often constructed with delicate keys that can stick, or worse, fail to make impressions on the laptop or netbook screen. Compressed air does a great job of dislodging the particles that cause keys to stick. Rubbing alcohol applied to microfibre cloth is the best way to remove the grime that builds up in between keys. Shutdown the machine before using rubbing alcohol to clean the keys. Most computer shops, as well as eBay sellers, offer the equipment required to clean laptop and netbook keyboards.
How to Protect a Laptop or Netbook
Cleaning is just one element of a laptop or netbook maintenance programme. Users also must take protective measures as part of the maintenance programme. The following chart lists several ways to protect laptops and netbooks.
Protects laptops and netbooks from extreme heat and cold, as well as from dents caused by mishandling
Constructed with different material options
Small children may think the computers are toys
Place on tables out of reach
Store on smooth surface that is level
Do not leave in automobile or locker
Never slam a laptop or netbook on a hard surface
Carry without wildly swinging arms
The greatest threat to laptops and netbooks
Intense heat can shut down the motherboard
Lithium batteries especially susceptible to heat damage
While manufacturers continue to discover ways to strengthen laptops and netbooks to provide more durability, the companies cannot discover ways to protect these machines from damage caused by careless neglect. Laptop and netbook users must take the lead when protecting their expensive investments.
Weekly Laptop and Netbook Maintenance
Weekly laptop and netbook maintenance helps prevent the loss of unprotected data and secures important personal information. Companies that employ mobile employees should include the following tips in their weekly maintenance policies, although the advice is also pertinent for casual laptop and netbook users due to increasing cyber attacks. Weekly maintenance for laptops and netbooks is essential for users who frequently visit Wi-Fi hotspots.
The most important PC laptop and netbook maintenance task involves checking for viruses. Make sure to keep antivirus software up to date, and preferably, choose to run a paid antivirus program. Free antivirus programs tend to perform perfunctory searches for computer viruses. A good time to perform weekly antivirus updates is on Monday mornings, before the start of the work week.
Firewall Program Updates
Hackers have easier access to laptops and netbooks, and for this reason alone, users should ensure firewall programs keep up with rapidly changing hacker methods. Laptops often protect both personal and company data, which makes weekly firewall updates doubly important. Mobile professionals are the most susceptible to unauthorised access because of the nature of their work. which is mostly performed through wireless connections.
Backup Essential Data and Email
The advancement in backup device technology has created USB flash drives that can store abundant data. Use a USB flash drive to backup important data and emails on a weekly basis. A weekly backup plan provides the information required after losing a laptop or incurring a hard drive crash. Backups prevent the loss of work projects, company presentations, school papers, and personal financial data.
Monthly Laptop and Netbook Maintenance
A few laptop and netbook maintenance tasks can be performed monthly. The tasks are mostly enhancements that ensure optimal performance. Unlike cleaning a laptop or netbook, the following monthly maintenance tasks start by the click of a keyboard stroke, and thus, allow users to multitask while their laptops and netbooks receive tuneups.
Clean the Hard Drive
Just as dust collects and impedes the performance of keyboards, excess data collects and slows down the performance of laptops and netbooks. Over the course of one month, myriad unnecessary files grow into a mound of laptop-clogging sludge. Set aside some time once a month to examine all of the files in the hard drive and determine which ones need to be saved and which ones need to visit the recycling bin. Many professionals download software programs for work-related projects, but end up not using the software as other software becomes more relevant. Uninstall these programs to produce a smoother running hard drive.
Defragmentation of the Hard Drive
Hard drive defragmentation is another monthly measure that improves laptop and netbook performance. Most operating systems run defragmentation operations from a drop box. For instance Windows operating systems run the disk defragmenter programs from the "System Tool" drop box. Defragmentation is akin to putting the file puzzle back together. Defragmented files hinder processor speed and cause programs that have defragmented files to freeze.
Full Back Up
Users should conduct full backups once per month. A full backup entails backing up every file in the hard drive. This can be a time consuming task, so anyone who uses a laptop or netbook at work should plan to use either a desktop PC or alternative laptop. Users should have a secure, hacker-proof location to store full backups. One of the benefits of a full backup is to have replacement system programs ready in case of theft or damage.
While antivirus and firewall updates occur weekly, users can wait a month until they update their software. Many software updates address security issues that include encryption updates. Software updates also upload the latest features that software companies introduce to enhance user experiences.
Buying Laptop and Netbook Maintenance Products on eBay
The best way to find the right buyer on eBay is to utilise eBay's powerful search engine. Type keywords into the search engine, and then review the seller results that match your search criteria. Remember the mantra that "specific keywords are better". For instance, type "Fellowes" or "Monster" laptop cleaning equipment to search for your cleaning products by brand. Another way to find the right eBay seller is to search by product, such as "cleaning swab". Once you find a group of potential sellers, then the next step is to visit each seller's product page.
Besides all of the helpful information found on seller product pages, such as delivery terms and accepted payment methods, you may find a seller who bundles laptop or netbook cleaning equipment at discounted prices. A seller may throw in cleaning supplies if a buyer purchases a used laptop. The point is to find the best deal offered by your eBay seller finalists. In case of a tie, review the customer feedback that eBay compiles on seller product pages. You may find a pattern that sways you to a specific laptop or netbook maintenance product seller.
What are the benefits of maintaining a laptop or netbook? The first benefit that pops into mind is the improved performance in terms of processor speed and visual clarity. However, the greatest benefit of performing regular maintenance on a laptop or netbook is the money saved by not having to buy laptop replacement parts or even purchase a new netbook. Consumers should understand the importance of maintaining their mobile computers, but do they understand how that is done?
Laptop and netbook maintenance requires regular cleaning of the important components, such as the keyboard, chassis, and screen. Cleaning eliminates unsightly grime and prevents damage to vital component parts. Protection of laptops and netbooks is another essential maintenance task that involves storing the machines in cases to prevent dents and scratches, as well as avoid leaving laptops and netbooks in hot rooms or outside on a summer day. Laptop and netbook owners also must perform weekly and monthly maintenance tasks that include updating antivirus and firewall programs, cleaning out hard drives, defragmenting hard drive disks, and backing up every file stored on the hard drive.