Laptops have become so common, and we carry them everywhere. Nevertheless, they are still expensive pieces of electronic equipment that can easily be damaged or rendered useless by avoidable accidents. Here are some suggestions for care of your laptop:
- Safe Positioning: When your laptop is on your desk make sure it is not hanging over or right at the edge. In this position it is far too easily bumped and dropped from the desk.
- Cord Safety: Make sure the power and Ethernet cords are out of your walking path. Laptops have also been pulled off desks when the power cord was tripped over. Also, while the laptop is connected via Ethernet cable, do not move it. If the cord is pulled enough, the Ethernet port can be pulled right off the circuit board. Repair requires an expensive replacement of the entire circuit board, and is unlikely to be covered by the warranty.
- Food & Beverage Safety: We've heard it a million times and think, "it won't happen to me, because I'm careful." But liquid does get spilled into laptop keyboards often enough that you reconsider drinking in close proximity to your laptop. Water is the least damaging liquid, while coffee with sugar and cream, or other sweetened beverages, can cause havoc. If you spill any liquid on the laptop, shut it down immediately and turn it face down so that the liquid is less likely to get into the computer's electronics. Do not turn it back on until you have had it inspected, and cleaned by someone in the IT department. (Faculty or staff should call the Help Desk at x5418, and students should call the Student Computer Diagnostic Center at x6602.) Food crumbs and residue can damage a keyboard as well as other parts of the computer.
- Temperature Extremes: Do not leave your laptop in a hot or cold car for more than a very brief time. If it has been out in the cold too long, give it time to return to room temperature before turning it on. If it has been left too long in excessive heat, the laptop can be permanently damaged.
- Screen Care: Open and close the screen gently and do not force. Make sure nothing is lying between the screen and the keyboard: forcing the screen down on a pen or other object can permanently damage the LCD screen. Replacement of the screen is nearly as expensive as a brand new laptop.