How to Extend Your Laptop’s Life

Don’t you just hate it when you are about to dump your Notebook or Laptop just because it’s no longer in working condition. Reason could be anything, starting from hardware to software. In last few years laptop prices have dropped considerably but they’re still a expensive pieces of equipment which might cost you anywhere in between $600 to $3000.

Years ago, it was virtually impossible to replace a laptop’s hardware and you are forced to buy a new machine. However, in recent time we had revolutionary achievements in respective field which provide us options to reconsider our old machines. Here in this Article, we’ll look at some fine tips by which you can significantly extend the life of your laptop.

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Simple Ways to Extend Your Laptop’s Life

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There are some common ways which help your laptop’s life last longer. However, by following these way it might possible that you cannot able to see results immediately but you still able to achieve your goal.

1. Know Your Laptop Properly

instantShift - How to Extend Your Laptop’s Life

It’s always necessary to have enough information about your notebook and related applications which includes both hardware and software. For example, you should know most memory is located under a panel in the bottom of the laptop. Sometimes it’s found beneath the keyboard. All laptop comes with a detailed manual which is not meant for just keeping into laptop box after you done purchasing your laptop. Try not to avoid reading the manual properly. At lease the part which shows the complete assemble of your laptop. It helps you a lot when you get into minor troubles.

2. Give It Enough Brain to Think and Remember

instantShift - How to Extend Your Laptop’s Life

Try keep your laptop’s memory always above your requirements. Generally windows XP requires 256MB (megabytes) of memory to run quite comfortable. But 512MB is always better for odd situations. If you are a designer and developer like me and you do photo or video editing or play games, go with 1GB (gigabyte) or more.

This will allow you to process more with the memory your laptop has, rather than relying on virtual memory. Virtual memory results in hard drive use, and is much less power efficient. Note that adding more RAM will consume more energy, so this is most applicable if you do need to run memory intensive programs which actually require heavy usage of virtual memory.

You also can refer some online memory guides like Crucial, Kingston and PNY which offers quite a good online memory assistance guide. You just need to enter your laptop’s make and model in the configurator and it will automatically show which memory to buy and your laptop’s capacity. These type of upgrade start at $50, but could exceed $200 or more according to your requirements.

3. Keep It Chill

instantShift - How to Extend Your Laptop’s Life

It might be possible that you never aware of the fact that the hotter your notebook runs, the more likely it is to suffer some kind of component failure. And if you routinely plop down on a bed or couch with a pillow as your table, you may be blocking the machine’s air vents—thereby causing it to run even hotter which can leads you to more damage than you ever imagine. Although there’s not much anyone can do to cool a notebook from within, but you can definitely tackle the problem from without.

You can take a page out of the extreme gamers’ handbooks, and have your system perform more optimally by keeping it cool. Make sure your air vents (inflow and outflow) aren’t blocked by anything, which often occurs by poorly positioning your notebook on your lap or bad. Use a can of compressed air to blast the dust from all your notebook’s air vents once a month or so, to allow the fans to operate at peak efficiency. Also try using cooling pads, which draws heat away from the system via two or more USB-powered fans. You can pick good cooling pads for around $30, from Antec, DataStor, or Targus. As a bonus, your notebook’s internal fans won’t have to run as long or as often, so you’ll be extending their lifespan.

4. Boost It Up With Quality Hard Drive

instantShift - How to Extend Your Laptop’s Life

When i was in my 3ed grade i love superman and so his mythos. I still remember “Kryptonite” which generally has detrimental effects on Superman. In any computer, the hard drive is an Kryptonite, which you can’t avoid on any cost. When you bought your computer, the hard drive may have seemed vast. But your favorite movies, music files and video clips chew space. So replace your current drive with a more capacious one. Also if possible than try replace it with a solid-state drive or SSD because a single knock or drop can put a drive out of commission. And of course, standard hard drives generate quite a bit of heat. And Of Course, you don’t want to caught yourself in the situation when you need to say bye bye to your all the important data. These SSD drive built with non-volatile flash memory, in which there is no moving parts, meaning they generate significantly less heat. And most importantly they’re much less susceptible to shock, vibration, and extreme temperatures.

The only fallback here is that SSDs currently come at a premium and have lower storage capacity. Also you have to pay more in compare to normal hard drive. They approximately cost around $15 per gigabyte and top out only at 128GB.

An external hard drive is an alternative. These hard drives plug into USB or FireWire ports. Expect to pay about a dollar per gigabyte.

Swapping hard drive is simple task. But moving your data can be a hassle. Apricorn ( and Hitachi ( offer upgrade kits. These kits include a drive, an external enclosure and data exchange software.

5. Optimize the Battery Performance

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I really get irritated when i am using my notebook or laptop and suddenly I get the message on my screen that my battery is ‘critically low’? Don’t you? Laptops tend to lose their charm quickly when you’re constantly looking for the nearest power source to charge it up. You can make your laptop run longer on its battery by turning off or reduce all the things that expend power in your computer. If you planning on going a long trip, or just taking your notebook to a local coffee shop, try use some optimization tips to help your laptop’s battery power last longer. Here are few easy tips to do so.

  • Try to Defrag your laptop regularly
  • Switch off the wireless card if you do not plan to access your network or Internet connection while you going out.
  • Adjust your power options on your laptop to “power saver” or “balanced” mode for maximum performance.
  • Turn down the LCD’s brightness level as low as you possibly can without needing to up your glasses prescription.
  • Cut down on programs running in the background like ITunes, Winamp, Desktop Search, etc. which turn your laptop to do Single-task, not multi-task. The more you are doing at the same time with your PC, the more memory and CPU usage increases. Both of which directly use up battery.
  • Turn the volume level down, or even mute it, if you do not plan to use it.
  • Try Disabling Bluetooth, If you don’t use this device.
  • Don’t use any external devices like USB (including your mouse), PC-Cards and an external drive which use your battery to function.
  • Try Avoiding working in extreme temperatures as batteries rely on basic chemistry and will die faster at extreme temperatures. Try to use the battery at room temperatures.
  • Avoid using CD and DVD drives as Optical drives consume large amounts of power to spin up CDs and DVDs. Try to avoid applications that keep your hard drive or optical drive spinning. If you store a copy of data you need on an optical disc, copy it to your laptop’s hard drive or a thumb drive before traveling. Also try to run them on virtual drives using programs like Demon Tools, Alcohol 120% rather than optical ones.
  • Try Hibernate, Do Not Suspend or standby. Hibernating a PC will actually save your PC’s state as it is, and completely shut itself down. Means standby mode doesn’t save anywhere as much power as the hibernate function does.
  • Turn off the auto-save function for applications like MS-Word, Excel and Adobe products. These functions are really great but because they keep saving regular intervals, they work your hard drive harder than it may have to. So Turning it off helps a lot in saving good amount of power.
  • Use a cooling pad when using a notebook on your lap.

An Extra but Important Tip For Battery

How much you can increase the life time of battery depends on how well you care for it. According to an Expert advice from Batteries Plus, a typical notebook battery lasts for around 500 charge/discharge cycles—between 18 months and three years of normal use. If you want to get as close as possible to the latter number, remove the battery whenever your notebook is plugged into an power outlet (as when you’re working at the office, home or the local coffee shop). If you leave it in, the AC power could cause the battery to overheat and overcharge which is the most common cause of premature failure. When running on battery power, try use your machine until you get a low-battery warning bubble, then let the battery recharge fully. That’ll keep the total number of recharges (which is about 500) to a minimum.

6. A Good Replacement Always Available for Each Part

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Many of us dump our laptop just because it’s unusable due to some specific parts like keyboards, touchpad or webcam. Remember, there is always a good replacement available for any part of your laptop in market. Try not to fret if a key no longer works. You can replace your keyboard. Sometimes you snap out the old keyboard and slip in the new. But don’t expect to find a wide variety of choices. You’ll probably have to go through your computer’s manufacturer.

Also, If you don’t care for your touchpad, use a mouse. Any USB or wireless mouse will work fine. But mice designed specifically for laptops are smaller as they’ll take less space in your laptop’s carrying case.

Do you use your laptop as a desktop replacement? Then go get a docking station. These devices plug into your laptop’s USB port. You can then plug a keyboard, mouse, printer and other accessories into the docking station. When you take the laptop out, everything remains connected, awaiting just for your return.

Find Something Missing?

While writing this article, it’s always a possibility that we missed some other great tips. Feel free to share it with us.

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  1. Nice set of tips… I always had that temperature problem and now i had few solutions. thanks guys.

  2. Useful stuff… in past 5 years i had to change my 2 Notebooks due to heating, slow processing and upgrading problem. Now i know how to control heating and how to make it fast. Although i still had one of my old Notebooks still with me… i’ll surely going to apply these tips on it.

  3. Just in time, this the kind of stuff i was looking for :)

  4. Well i never knew that there is so many ways to extend your battery life also. quite amazing… great list. I love you guys.

  5. Some points are good some are not. Still bookmarked.

  6. I always like your selection of images, also you ppl going better every time. looking forward to see more guides like this.

    how about a guide for freelancing (what to know!, what to avoid!)??


  7. At the moment I don’t have a laptop. I am planning to buy a laptop. Nice tips Daniel. Hope these tips will improve my laptop efficiency a lot in future. You are right. Most of the guys who are using laptops weren’t aware of all these tips. They all should read this article.

    Sankar Datti

  8. Where do you guys shop? You can get an external HD for as low $0.11 (11 cents) per GB. That’s for the larger form factor. It’s about $0.18/GB for a 2.5″ form factor.

  9. Great tips! I try to run a basic defrag on my laptop at least every other week, and a full one once a month. Will now look into purchasing a cooling pad, which are actually on sale this week for $10 (what a deal, haha).

  10. I once got into an argument with someone when I told them that it’s bad for the battery if you use it while the laptop is plugged in. They argued that it wasn’t true, and they were quite rude about it. I’m tempted to print this out and mail it to them. (:

    These are great tips and I urge everyone to follow them! I’m going to pick up one of those air cans and get rid of all the dust. I’ve had my laptop for about two, maybe three, years and everything is still in great working order. I haven’t had to replace anything. I do, however, need to upgrade my RAM; working with CS4 on just a GB of RAM is rough!

  11. Great tips ! I wish I read this long ago. My laptop is “dying”. And it’s been only one year that I bought it.

  12. Those above tips are all good , if possible apply them regularly, I have an 8 8 years old Dell Lattitude laptop and still running fine ..

  13. I have an Acer Aspire 3613WLCi laptop and has been upgraded with WINDOWS 7. I’m missing the video controller though and was looking for some help. Could anyone give me some advice on where to find a free download for it?

  14. You might consider “Preventative Maintenance”. I’m on my first laptop after going through a couple of “economy” desktops, down here in Mexico. When I got my new laptop, the first thing I did was download Advanced System Care (free) and run it faithfully last thing every day. When finished, the program turns off your system.

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