Knowledge Base

Laptop care guide


It is important to take care of your laptop to keep it in good shape; issue prevention is always better than cure. There are a number of easy things that you can do to keep your laptop in great shape. Many are common sense and some have higher importance to help to ensure that your system meets it's lifespan with few issues and will requires limited maintenance. As an added bonus, many of the steps will also maintain your laptop's speed. More detailed troubleshooting, should you require detailed support, can be found on our Support Site by searching by topic and/or system model. Our product support pages host Top Solution articles for many of the standard queries, as well as your user guides/manuals.


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As tempting as it might be to drink coffee, soda, water or any other liquid near your laptop, accidents can happen all too easily. Spilled liquids may damage the internal components or cause electrical injury to the laptop. This can corrupt data or even permanently destroy parts. The solution is very simple : Keep your drinks away from your computer. Even if you're careful, someone else might bump into your desk or you. Alternatively you can use a cup with a cover on it, so even if it does spill, the liquid doesn't go anywhere!

Even if you know what you download and trust it's source, it may contain a virus that can lead to an issue with your system hardware, slowness in the software and loss of data.

Don't eat over your laptop. The crumbs can go down between the keys in the keyboard and provide an invitation to small bugs. The crumbs can also cause damage over time. Worse, it makes the laptop look dirty if there are crumbs and food stains on it.

Clean hands make it easier to use your laptop touchpad and there will be less risk of leaving dirt and other stains on the computer. In addition, if you clean your hands before use, you will help reduce wear and tear on the coating of the laptop caused by contact with sweat and small particles that can act upon the laptop's exterior underneath your wrists and fingers.

A dirty keyboard can cause scratches on the LCD screen when the lid is closed.

Some hand lotions or hand cleaners may contain chemicals that will adversely react to the computer chassis or keyboard. Over time, hand lotions or hand cleaners like these can cause abnormal system wear and tear.

It is not recommended to use a household cleaning agent to clean the system or LCD screen. Microfiber or a very soft cloth is the best option along with an approved computer or LCD screen cleaner.

When you shut your laptop, make sure there are no small items, such as a pen or small ear-phones, on the keyboard. These can damage the display screen when the lid is shut; the screen will scratch if the item is rough or crack if enough pressure is applied. Close the lid gently and holding it from the middle. Closing the lid using only one side causes extra pressure on that sides hinge, and over time can cause it to bend and snap.

If you lift your system by the screen part alone, you could damage the display or the hinges attaching the display to the base. The display is also easily scratched or damaged by direct pressure – avoid placing pressure on it. (Commonly dark splotches on the screen are the result of pressure from fingers or from a thumb.)

Tugging your power cord out from the power socket rather than putting your hand directly on the plug in the socket and pulling can break off the plug or damage the power socket. Also, if you have the power point near your feet, avoid constantly bumping into the plug or you could loosen it and eventually break it.

To learn more about Dell AC adapter care and usage, please view the video on our support site.

Stick the cord onto your desk with tape or a special computer cord tie which can be easily undone when you've finished using the laptop. Always try to keep most of the cord away from the floor or your legs; sometimes you can be so engrossed in what you're doing that you move your legs and forget the cord is there.

Always look at the symbols on the laptop carefully before inserting devices. Jamming a phone line into an Ethernet port or vice versa could damage the sockets, making it impossible to use them again. Also ensure you have the connector orientated correctly to fit into the port. It is very important to observe these steps.

Floppy drives or CD drives that have been removed from your laptop can easily get crushed, dropped or damaged if you are careless. Put them straight into a bag or a storage box / case for safe keeping if you are not putting them straight back into the laptop.

Pushing the wrong drive into a socket, or at an angle, or even upside down can jam or damage it.

Media such as CDs, DVDs or floppy disks should not have any loose label parts that might jam inside the laptop drive. Never insert undersized CDs, as these can damage the disk player permanently.

When bringing your laptop indoors during winter, don't turn it on immediately. Instead, let it warm to room temperature first. This will avoid any potential for damage to the disk drive from condensation forming inside the machine. Avoid heat from direct sunlight as well.

Not only do the insides of cars experience large temperature swings that could damage a laptop, but a laptop (or laptop bag) is an inviting target for a smash and grab thief.

Get this done by a computer professional. If dust accumulates, the system cannot cool itself correctly. Heat can destroy the motherboard and dust can clog and burn out moving parts.

This can push the LCD screen into the keyboard, and will eventually damage it. Also, the CD-ROM insert will also be put under excess pressure and, eventually, will break.

Whatever you use to carry your laptop around in, be it a case, a bag or something you have made yourself, make sure that it it large enough to contain the laptop. This will avoid scratching, squeezing or even potentially dropping it.

Many breaks happen because of laptops being dropped or bumped. A bag designed for laptops greatly reduces the risk of damage.

When you are using your laptop, do so in a place that has a constant air-circulation. Lots of people ruin their laptop by using it in an enclosed area and thus making the laptop overheat. It also helps if you store it in a well circulated area. Ensure the vents on the laptop are clear and aren't blocked because of where you have it sitting.

If that gets plugged up, air flow is diminished and overheating can most certainly occur. You do not want to push dust further into the laptop, if you have multiple fans consider the direction of each ones airflow.

This prevents damage to the laptop. This step can be hard, particularly if you are going out with your laptop, but if there is a flat surface available to put your laptop on then do so.

Repeated use of the laptop on the bed will cause the fans to suck up the dust and further debris which lies in the bed, ultimately this can as with dust, cause trouble to internal parts of your laptop.

Allowing time for the computer to sleep, hibernate or shut down properly will allow the read/write head of a mechanical hard drive to be parked. The sleep, hibernate or shut down process can be triggered manually from within the operating system or the operating system can be set to perform one of these tasks when the lid is closed. Before moving the system, it is not recommended to set the system for the "Do nothing" power option when the lid is closed as this can result in the system being moved with the hard drive in an active state.

The mechanical hard drive (as opposed to a solid state hard drive) is a mechanical device and can suffer damage to the rotating platters inside if the read/write head is active while the system is being transported. Damage like this can result in data loss or permanent hard drive failure. It is always a best practice to have a data backup strategy in place and to perform system backups on a regular basis.

A Solid State Drive (SSD) has no moving mechanical parts and may be a good option for systems that are frequently transported.

Shocks to the system may cause harm to system components over time. Avoid any sudden movements or drops to prevent shock induced damage to the hard drive or other mechanical components. This type of damage can result in the system becoming inoperable or possible data loss on the hard drive.

For example, do not use the computer while driving. Observe all local laws regarding the use of portable devices in moving vehicles.

An unusual sound from the system can be an indication of impending hardware failure. Hard drives, fans or other internal system devices will often start making a new noise as an indication that something has gone wrong.

All portable systems have a design limit to how far the LCD screen can be rotated open. If the LCD is rotated beyond this limit damage to the LCD, Hinges or System will occur. Avoid forcing the LCD screen beyond this limit once resistance is felt.

Dropping the system any distance, onto any surface, before it has gone into a Sleep or Shut down state can damage the hard drive and result in the loss of data.

Accidental drops may physically damage the system and/or cause data loss.

Notebook systems are not designed to sustain being stepped on or impacted by other bags etc. System damage and data loss may occur.


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Article ID: SLN119326

Last Date Modified: 02/26/2018 05:25 AM


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