LaptopWhether for business or personal use, a laptop is a useful tool. It’s an expensive piece of kit too which is why it’s important to look after it properly.

Laptop computers have come a long way since the early, bulky models. You can now get a powerful machine in a compact package that you can use anywhere. But being portable also makes laptops uniquely vulnerable so it’s vital to look after your computer if you’re going to get the maximum benefit from it.

Like any computer system a laptop collects junk as you use it. Cached webpages, temporary files and all kinds of other material accumulate on the hard drive and ultimately this causes the system to slow down. It’s therefore good to have a regular clean up routine to ensure that your laptop continues to deliver peak performance. There are tools built into Windows to allow you to clean up junk files and defragment the hard drive, or there are plenty of third-party tools available if you prefer. Cleaning up every couple of months should be enough to keep things running smoothly. Keeping it in tip top condition means that you’ll be better off when it comes to trade in laptop systems.

Keep it Secure

Security   in terms of defending against viruses and other threats   is important for any PC but laptops present unique problems. If you attach to Wi-Fi networks whilst you’re out and about then you need to make sure you have a good firewall on your machine that can distinguish between private and public networks and set rules accordingly. When using a public network try to avoid signing into secure sites like your bank and be careful that no one can see the screen over your shoulder if you’re doing anything confidential.

Of course with laptops you need to consider the physical security of the machine too. Don’t leave it unattended and if you’re using it in an office consider locking it down with a cable   most modern machines have a Kensington lock point to allow you to do this.

Keep it Safe

If you carry your laptop around a lot then it’s vulnerable to physical damage too. A good quality bag is vital, the best ones will have enough padding to protect the machine against minor knocks. If you don’t want to make it obvious that you’re carrying a laptop try a padded briefcase or backpack instead.

Protect the system with a password, one that’s not easy to guess, so that if it does fall into the wrong hands your data is safe. If it’s particularly sensitive you might want to use encryption software too.

It’s worth attaching a label with your name and address so that you have a chance of getting the machine back if it’s lost. You could even offer a reward for the finder.

If you look after your machine you can ensure that when you need to trade in laptop computers you get the best price. Even if it’s damaged though it will still have some value – so don’t just write it off completely.

AUTHOR BIO: Alice Aires is a freelance writer specialising in information technology. If you’re looking to read more technology news, he recommends visiting a site like Xcel Soft.