Laptop Mistakes Almost Everyone Makes

Brian Lipscomb
Jun 17, 2020 01:29 PM ET

Laptops became the computer of choice several years ago. Power combined with portability has relegated traditional desktops to offices and specialty needs such as heavy video editing.

As great as laptops are, many people make several common mistakes with them that can shorten their life. Here is a list of things to avoid.

Never shutting it down

I personally know people who absolutely never shut down their laptop. When they’re done with it, they just close the lid, which puts it in sleep mode. While sleep mode is fine and results in a faster startup, it can cause issues when waking from sleep, such as forgetting the WiFi network. Sleep mode also uses a small bit of battery power, so when you wake it, you may notice that the battery has less of a charge than when you first put it to sleep.

If you’re walking away from your laptop for a bit to get a coffee or run some errands, putting it to sleep is fine. But at the end of each day, shut it down. This will refresh the memory and clean up any memory garbage left behind from using apps.

One more note: when shutting down, wait until it has completely turned off before closing the lid. Closing it too soon can cause it to become confused and get stuck in a form of “limbo” where the processor keeps running and gets very hot. This can cause permanent damage and in some cases can even start a fire.

Keeping it plugged in all the time

Batteries, like humans, need exercise. Without it, they get tired and lazy. By keeping your battery plugged in all the time, you actually shorten its life. At least once a month, unplug and use the laptop until it gets to about 15% capacity. This will help keep the battery healthy and make it last longer.

Eating over the keyboard

In my travels I have seen some truly nasty keyboards. Food particles and crumbs can get under the keys and cause all sorts of trouble. Liquids are a no-no as well, since most laptop keyboards are not spill proof. Keep food an beverages away.

Not using a padded sleeve

A laptop is an investment. Nobody wants to pull their trusty laptop out of a bag and find the screen cracked. Buy a good sleeve to provide protection when carrying it with other items. Also, do not pack the power cord into the sleeve with the laptop. The tight pockets in most sleeves are not make for that kind of bulk and can end up allowing too much pressure on the laptop’s case. Again, nobody wants to discover a broken screen.

Buying the cheapest laptop they can find

The old saying “you get what you pay for” is very true when it comes to laptops. Generally, the cheaper it is, the slower it is, and the more frustrated you will be with it. Take a look at my Laptop Buyer’s Guide before buying a new laptop so you can get the right model for your needs.

Your laptop can and will serve you well if you show a little care. And that’s what we all need right now, isn’t it?