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Tricks & Tips

Posts Tagged ‘Laptops’

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Overheating is a common problem with laptops. All electronics run better (and faster) at cooler temperatures.

Head over to HowToGeek to learn how to diagnose and fix common overheating problems.

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How to Buy a Netbook

June 16th, 2009
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The world seems crazy over these small/mini laptops, AKA “netbooks”.  Before you jump, read PC World’s How to Buy a Netbook.

Then have a look at Battle of the Netbooks for a good round up of the top options.

Remember, a netbook is an inexpensive, ultra-portable laptop.  Not to be confused with a laptop replacement.  They’re low-performing and for me, often too small to get anything done besides browsing the web and checking email.  However, this is all you need while on the go sometimes.

In the news…
Have you seen Microsoft’s new search engine, Bing?  I’m still a Google fan, but it’s pretty interesting.  Try it here.

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By Terry Kirby

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They’re costly to replace, so follow these guidelines to keep your laptop battery healthy and happy:

  • The most important thing is to USE your battery.  Do NOT leave your laptop plugged in all the time. Allow it to run from battery sometimes to keep the battery in good shape.  Fully drain and fully charge the battery every two to three weeks.
  • Fully charge new batteries before use.  New batteries need to be fully charged and discharged a few times before they can condition to full capacity.
  • Remove the battery from the notebook and store in a cool, dry place if the battery will not be in use for more than a few weeks.
  • Avoid exposure to extreme temperatures. Leaving your laptop in your car during summer or winter months will reduce its life.  This is so easy to do.  But don’t.  😉
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By Terry Kirby

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Here are 10 ways you can greatly extend the use of your battery’s charge while on the go.  Extend, as in 30 minutes or more!

  1. Reduce screen brightness – This is huge.  The lower, the better.  Check keyboard icons for which buttons modify this. Probably hold the Fn key while pressing up or down, or one of the F keys (F6/F7?).  It all depends on your model.
  2. Tune the radio off! Most laptops have an external switch to turn off wireless and Bluetooth radios.  Again, probably an Fn + F key on the keyboard.
  3. Limit usage of external devices such as USB connected devices.
  4. Don’t open many applications at once.
  5. Exit programs you aren’t using. Programs that start with your computer are just pulling away at your battery.  Exit things like QuickTime, MSN Messenger, Google Desktop, etc.
  6. Keep it cool.  Increased heat it puts more stress on your laptop and starts up the fan.
  7. Use hibernation when not in use vs sleep mode.
  8. Use light programs such as Word, Excel, or internet browsing. Stay away from graphic intensive applications or even media players.
  9. Avoid playing games, music, or DVDs.
  10. Mute your sound.

Solid state drives are available in some new laptops.  They’re basically a huge flash drive instead of a hard drive at all.  As they don’t have any moving parts, some manufactures advertise up to 18 hours of usage.  Look for this option on your next purchase.

Need power while stuck in an airport?  A Microsoft employee started this wiki to detail power outlet locations.

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How to Protect Your Laptop Screen

November 18th, 2008
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It is easy to damage your screen, or loosen the hinges, by improperly opening and closing the lid.   Follow this simple guide to ensure a long, secure life of your laptop’s screen:

Things to remember:
1.    Open and close the lid by holding both sides of the screen, or from the center. Closing the lid from just one side causes increased pressure on that hinge and it will bend or break over time.

2.    Lift or hold a laptop from the base, not the screen directly. This also will cause damage to the hinges.

3.    Avoid exposing your laptop to extreme temperatures, like leaving it in the car.  Extreme temperatures can damage the screen and/or other hardware in the laptop.  It can also shorten the battery life.

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We’re often asked, what is the best way to clean a laptop (or other) screen. Here are two great resources I found:
http://www.wikihow.com/Clean-a-Laptop-Screen-With-Household-Products
http://www.bizwaremagic.com/clean_lcd_screen.htm

In brief, I found the two following tips useful:
 – Using a 100% cotton cloth or shirt alone, without the alcohol mix, can sometimes produce the same smudge-free results without going to the trouble of mixing your own solution.
 – Shut down any devices before cleaning them.

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