Protect Your Bundle of Joy (and Hardware)
The more you clean and protect your electronic baby, the longer it will live, so you can avoid calling Geek Squad.
By Jasmin Suknanan, Stony Brook University
Whether you’re a take-notes-on-good-old-fashioned-pen-and-paper kind of person, or you’ve got fast fingers on the keyboard, a laptop is an essential item for every college student.
Laptops certainly come in handy when your campus is covered in two feet of snow, and you don’t want to leave your dorm room to type your eight-page paper on a library computer. Like most other students, my entire life is on my laptop, and I’m not just talking about my sentimental, but horribly taken, photos; I’m talking about essays, musings and drafts of everything I’ve ever written.
It gives me the ability to blog anywhere at any time. Like anyone else, I could spend all night talking about how I would burst into flames if my laptop were to suddenly stop working or get damaged, so you’d think I’d take really good care of my electronic baby, right? Wrong.
Let’s be real. College students can be really bad at taking care of shit. You don’t love your makeup brushes enough to properly clean them weekly, and you don’t love your Xbox controller enough to avoid getting greasy potato-chip fingers all over it. I cringe at the amount of money I spent on the things I have and how poorly I take care of them.
Look around your dorm room or your bedroom at home. One of the most expensive things is most likely your laptop. You probably paid a fortune (or what broke college students consider a fortune) for it. Though students hope to avoid re-purchasing, or even fixing, electronics, neglecting to care for your devices will land you a one-way ticket to the repair shop, and worst-case, back to Best Buy for a new purchase.
Aside from feeding its battery life and setting it down to nap when you aren’t using it, here are some laptop parenting 101 refreshers to help you be a better mom or dad to your little bundle of hard-earned money.
1. Invest in a Keyboard Protector
Some people aren’t fans of silicone keyboard protectors because they love feeling the keys beneath their fingers as they clack away on their class notes. A great way to ruin your keys is to let crumbs from your bag of chips get under them.
Keyboard protectors are useful for keeping crumbs, dust and liquids off your keyboard, especially if you like snacking while you watch another episode of your favorite show on Netflix. Some aren’t expensive, and they often come with a laptop cover. Typing on top of a keyboard protector feels strange at first, but you can easily get used to it after about a week of continuous use.
2. Keep It Clean (Internally)
Don’t give your laptop a bath in the kitchen sink, but when was the last time you re-organized your desktop or deleted files you accidentally downloaded twice or no longer need? Clutter takes up memory on your hard drive, not to mention it’s simply unnecessary.
It’s much easier to find the last draft of your essay when unneeded files are no longer there. Furthermore, be sure to wipe down the screen with quick-dry electronic cleaner every once in a while, and don’t forget to wipe down the surface of your laptop from time to time as well.
3. Clothe It
Protect not only your keyboard but also the laptop itself. Invest in a plastic cover to guard your laptop against dust, oils or liquids. Some people also enjoy dressing their laptops in funny, quirky stickers (guilty as charged).
If you don’t want to miss an opportunity to subtly show off your personality, invest in a laptop sleeve, so your device stays snug in your backpack when you aren’t using it, and it won’t be bombarded by any elements you don’t want near it.
Pro tip: Make sure you buy a sleeve that actually fits the size of your laptop. A certain someone (me) once purchased a really cute sleeve, knowing that it would be too big for her laptop, and let’s just say, it became a hassle to use and is now collecting dust at home.
4. Keep the Potato-Chip Fingers Away
Perhaps the worst, and most common, laptop crime is handling your laptop with greasy, sticky or cheesy fingers. It’s just as bad as when you wear makeup and naturally touch your face throughout the day, and then subconsciously touch your laptop right after.
Sometimes it’s inevitable, but try to be aware of what’s coming in contact with your device. If you’ve ever seen parents of infants stroll around with hand sanitizer in the baby bag, it’s for a good reason. If you just finished a bag of Doritos, run to the bathroom and wash your hands or whip out the sanitizer before you continue typing.
5. Scan for Viruses Regularly
Antivirus software is like a babysitter for your device. You don’t want to take any chances where the health of your laptop is concerned.
Most devices come equipped with antivirus software, but make sure you actually use it. If you’re too busy to scan your computer yourself, schedule weekly or biweekly scans, so you don’t have to lift a finger.
6. Back-Up Everything
Back-up your files on an external hard drive. It will save you so much pain in the future. If your files get deleted or your computer gets messed up, at least you’ll have less to cry about knowing that you saved most of the important stuff on a hard drive.
Accidents can happen, even if you don’t think they’ll happen to you. Plus, moving files and documents to an external hard drive can make deleting much easier. Backing-up files can keep you, as the parent, more confident about being able to preserve anything valuable.