Want to improve your computing experience? Or simply looking for better ways to take care of your laptop? Here are 10 computer pro tips from the experts:

1. Turn off your laptop properly

Most people just close their laptop’s lid once they’re done for the day. It’s super quick, the laptop goes to sleep, always ready for you once you open it up again. But you might want to turn it off properly rather than keeping it on sleep mode all the time. And when we say properly, we mean shutting it off from the system interface. Not holding down the power button until the screen goes black.

When you put your laptop in sleep mode, RAM data from your previous session stays cached and does not completely reset until you turn the laptop off. It all just stays there even after the laptop wakes up, and the RAM then has less memory capacity to work on.

Turning off or restarting your laptop can reset this cached data and give you a clean slate to work on again. You might also be able to resolve a number of software bugs or issues when you restart it again. That’s why you might want to think twice before you roll your eyes to the IT guy when he asks “have you tried turning it on and off again?”

2. Back up your data

back up external hard drive plugged in

You never know what could happen to your laptop, unavoidable accidents and hardware failures can happen and possibly ruin your day. Safe and secure data storage is key to preventing lost data tragedies. Any type of data backup is a great place to store your files.

You can choose from online cloud based storage services like Google Drive or Dropbox, or even subscription-based ones if you have a lot of data you need regularly backed-up. If you’d rather have everything offline on an external hard drive, that’s good too! You can either drag-and-drop your files onto the drive, or set up a backup from Windows backup or Apple Time Machine.

The hard drive on your laptop can fail after 3-5 years. That doesn’t mean the whole laptop is dead, it just means you need to get the hard drive replaced. To avoid paying more for data recovery services, better make sure all your important data is backed up.

3. Disk cleanup

There’s a handy tool on every Windows computer that can help you find and free up space on your hard drive and it’s called Disk Cleanup. Unfortunately for Apple MacBook laptops there aren’t any built-in tools for disk cleanup, but there are a number of external apps that you can install and use to clear up space.

You can find Disk Cleanup by right-clicking on your local C Drive and click on ‘Properties’. From the ‘General’ tab you’ll find the capacity of your drive, and you can use Disk Cleanup there.

Disk Cleanup can find old Windows updates installations or temporary files that you don’t need anymore. If you’re looking to free up some space on your laptop, try using this tool first. Then you can move on to finding large files that photos or videos that you can move to an external hard drive or simply delete them.

4. Disable apps on startup

If you want your laptop to boot up quicker with no interruptions, you may want to disable some of the startup apps. These apps are set to automatically open once you turn on your computer. When your laptop has additional things to work on while it is starting up, it could slow down the whole process.

You can always start the apps you need after the computer boots up, it’s just a matter of convenience. Startup program apps on Windows laptops can be disabled from Task Manager, and System Preferences on Apple MacBooks.

From the Startup tab of Task Manager, you can assess the startup impact of each program and choose to disable them from starting up automatically. You should also consider how important these programs are beforehand.

Startup programs in Apple macOS are known as login items. You can find them from System Preferences > Users and Groups > Login Items.

5. Improve your accessibility with keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts can make things easier for you with just a few key combinations. With some of these shortcuts, you won’t have to bring your mouse to where you need, or even go through different windows. Here are some useful keyboard shortcuts to make your life easier:

Locks your computer: Win + L (Windows) / Cmd + Ctrl + Q (Apple)

Minimises a window: Win + D (Windows) / Mission Control (Apple)

Closes a window: Ctrl + W

Undoes a closed browser tab: Ctrl + Shift + T (Windows) / Cmd + Shift + T (Apple)

6. Use your laptop on flat and solid surfaces

Woman using laptop on study desk

Cozying up to your favourite TV show in bed is one of life’s great pleasures. But it can come with consequences. Using your laptop on fabric surfaces like your bed or sofa is not recommended, as this can block the vents of the laptop.

This kind of blockage can put a strain on the cooling system of your laptop. Blocked vents make it harder for the hot air to disperse out of the laptop. This increases the risk of overheating.

7. Clean the insides of the laptop

Compressed air is a quick and easy-to-use solution for laptop cleaning. You don’t need that many tools for the whole process either.

You can get a can of compressed air from any major hardware or electronics store. They usually come with a small nozzle that can reach the small gaps between components on a laptop. All you need to do is unscrew the bottom cover of the laptop and blow out any crumbs or dust trapped inside.

Cleaning your laptop is an important computer care habit to keep. Not only are you keeping the laptop clean, you’re also reducing the risk of laptop overheating. When you have a lot of dust accumulated inside the laptop, the dust can trap heat, putting a lot of stress on the fans.

8. Use a keyboard cover

Using a keyboard cover is more of a preventive method of keeping the laptop clean. You might not notice it, but dust and crumbs can get inside the laptop easily through the gaps in the keyboard. So these keyboard covers can stop that from happening.

9. Gentle taps, not clicks

Windows laptop keyboard and touchpad

The moving parts of a laptop are more prone to breaking due to our continuous use. That includes the touchpad of a laptop as well. Try tapping on the touchpad, instead of clicking down on the pad. By not using its moving parts so much, you can certainly lengthen the touchpad’s lifespan.

10. Turn down your screen’s brightness

Every laptop’s screen is lit by its backlight. It’s usually an LED light that will possibly burn out somewhere along the laptop’s lifespan. To conserve the backlight’s energy consumption and lifespan, you might want to turn down the screen’s brightness whenever you can.

Expert repairs at Safemode Computer Service

We’re here to help! At Safemode Computer Service, our experienced technicians are always happy to help with any computer issues all around Sydney. From Apple MacBooks to Windows desktops, we can assess and repair computer issues that you have.

Thinking about upgrading your laptop or desktop computer? We can also offer advice on how you might want to go about that. Book an appointment at our Inner West store or give us a call today.