Caring for your Laptop

Common Concerns

  1. Keep backups. A word of warning: Nobody keeps backups until after they've lost some important data. How much you lose will depend on you. You should keep a backup of your data files that are in the laptop's C:\My Documents folder or on the College's H: drive at a minimum. Once again, it will happen.
  2. It takes a long time to learn to use a computer efficiently! You have to work at it. It is a journey of a thousand small steps.
  3. If your computer program locks up on you, before you turn your computer off and then back on in order to clear it, try the following: strike the Esc key, strike the Ctrl+Alt+Delete keys. If none of these work, then turn the laptop off by holding down on the power button until the screen goes black.

Laptop Care

  • Always turn off your laptop before placing in the carrying case.
  • Do not drop or set anything on top of the laptop. A fall from even a few inches or dropping something on top of the laptop can cause damage to the computer.
  • Extreme temperatures will damage your laptop computer. Never leave your computer in a car since the interior of a car can be extremely hot or cold. Your computer may need to come to room temperature before it will function normally.
  • Clean your computer/display with a soft cloth with that has been dampened with water. Do not use any chemical cleaners (i.e. Windex or ammonia) or aerosol cleaners which may contain flammable substances as they might damage computer components
  • Do not scratch, twist, hit, push or user sharp objects near the display. The display is the most expensive laptop component. This type of damage is considered non-warranty damage.
  • Do not use your computer in a wet environment. Keep the laptop dry by avoiding spills. Do not place beverages near your laptop.
  • Don't eat around the laptop. Even if you don't get crumbs on your keyboard, you'll have sticky fingers and they'll spread to your keyboard, disks, monitor, printouts, etc.
  • Never turn on a wet computer. If your computer gets wet, take it to the Help Desk for service.
  • Always use the provided carrying case to carry the laptop. Place the laptop in the bag and fasten the Velcro straps. Keep the laptop cords in the bag when not in use. If cords are bent or tied in knots it will break the tiny wires inside the cord and it will not connect to the network.
  • Do not attempt to disassemble the laptop or access its internal components.
  • Be sure that nothing rests on your adapter's power cable and that the cable is not located where it can be tripped over or stepped on causing the laptop to be pulled to the floor.
  • Place the AC adapter in a ventilated area, when you use it to run the laptop or to charge the battery. Do not cover the AC adapter with papers or other items that will reduce cooling; also, do not use the AC adapter inside the carrying case.
  • Do not push objects into air vents or openings of the computer.
  • Unplug the power when a storm is approaching. Lightning can strike power lines and cause damage to the computer.
  • Run your laptop plugged into electrical outlet whenever possible.
  • Avoid static electricity. Static is the enemy. It can ruin your system.
  • Avoid magnetic fields. Be careful with the TVs, speakers and phones. Both can cause problems for laptop and diskettes.
  • Make sure the laptop is insured. Some homeowner's/renter's policies cover computers. Does yours? What's covered? How much will you pay if something happens? If not, you should consider adding a rider to your policy. You are responsible for the $500 deductible for non-warranty damage.

Avoiding Theft

  1. Theft deterrent kits can be purchased from various sources. Riverland Community College assumes no responsibility for negligence resulting in theft, loss, or damage to laptop computers. Most thefts occur when property is unattended.
  2. Do not leave the laptop visible or unattended in a car. If the computer must be left in a car, lock it in the trunk. Remember to lock your car doors also, as many car models allow the trunk to be opened from inside the car. It may be appropriate to carry the laptop with you wherever you are going. Theft from an unlocked vehicle is usually not covered under insurance.
  3. Never leave the laptop carrying case unattended. Laptop cases are easy to spot and are prime targets for theft.
  4. Do not use an auto-logon program on the laptop. This will prevent exposing network resources if the laptop is stolen.
  5. Never lend the laptop to anyone. If it is stolen while loaned to another user, insurance will not cover the loss.
  6. If you are traveling with your laptop, when passing through the airport security, send the laptop through the x-ray machine, not the metal detector. The x-ray machine will not damage the laptop. Keep a close eye on the laptop as it travels through the x-ray machine. Never place it on the conveyor before you are ready to pass through the metal detector. Airport security personnel may ask you to turn the laptop on to prove it is a functioning computer. Never put the laptop in checked luggage. Always carry it on with you and store it under the seat.