The first thing to ask yourself when planning for disaster is, “What can I do to avoid or prevent a disaster, right now?” Disasters are not always a result of Mother Nature’s nasty temper. In fact, according to The New York Times, tech support pros report that half of computers that need repairs need them because of user error. While your first step should be to take regular backups of your computer, something as small as the way you use your computer can affect how the hardware functions.
People can be mean to their computers. Seeing only the rigid plastics of the laptop’s exterior, people may easily forget that inside are tiny and very delicate instruments. Companies with bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies have employees bumping and shuffling electronics to and from work daily. Before you scream at your computer for suddenly breaking, ask yourself how you’ve been using it.
Here’s what not to do:
– Don’t use your laptop on your lap.
It sounds silly, it’s called a laptop, right? Well, your computer, like you, needs to breathe to function properly. Overheating is a major cause of hardware malfunction. The air vent can be muffled and insulated by your thighs or couch, so a desk or table is the best location for your laptop.
– Don’t move your laptop while the hard drive is spinning.
This is especially important for an external hard drive that may carry your backup data. Your quick jog to the ten o-clock meeting can easily affect the precise movements of the hard drive. Many hard drives contain gyroscopes that stop the spinning when it senses movement, but these are not always reliable – you can easily damage the hard drive before movement is detected. Solid-state drives won’t be harmed from light jostling, but they can overheat a machine if they are not shut down before you store it.
– Don’t leave your laptop plugged in.
Leaving your computer plugged in can diminish battery life and affect the performance of the machine. It is also not a good idea to completely drain your battery and leave it without a charge for an extended period as this can affect the amount of charge your battery can hold.
– Don’t yank the power chord.
Keep power chords out of your way so you don’t yank them from the wall tripping over them. When removing the chord from either the computer or the socket, be sure to grip it by the end, not by the cable. Grabbing it by the cable can stretch the wiring inside which can ruin a power cable or bend the pins inside your computer’s power input dock.
– Don’t let your computer get too dusty.
Enough dust in your computer can cause freezing and slow-down – this is especially an issue for stationary desktops. That adorable kitty sleeping on your keyboard can clog your computer with his fluff, and if you’re a smoker, all sorts of gunk can get into your computer’s fan. Experts recommend cleaning out your computer once a year. You can use a gentle vacuum, compressed air, cotton swabs, or have it professionally cleaned.
If you are nice to your computer, it will be nice to you. With BYOD policies growing in proliferation, it becomes more important to approach transport and usage policies for your employee’s machines in order to keep hardware functioning, and your business running. Backup your system and data, but be nice to the devices that work to build the backup so hardware and software remain intact.