Laptops are getting smaller, lighter, and easier to carry around. So it may be tempting to just drop them down in a largish purse or a tote bag, along with your other necessities and hit the road…
Don’t do it!
Laptops, although a common piece of equipment, are still delicate. They may put up with some abuse, but their tolerance is limited. If you want to protect your laptop and keep it working for you in the future, you should start by selecting the best protection for day-to-day transport.
Laptop bags, backpacks with laptop sleeves and sling-bags designed to also hold your precious baby, are often designed more for fashion than function. To determine if the bag you want to use is the best bag, you need to do a little investigation. Most laptop bags have decent padding on the sides, not as many have good padding where you need it the most… on the bottom.
How do I know? I bought a great, highly rated, brand name bag for my little laptop and trotted around with it all proud and feeling (falsely) secure. That is, I felt secure until the first time I set it down a little too hard on a tiled concrete floor and HEARD the laptop hit the concrete. When I opened the bag, my brand new little baby had a dent on one corner — which happened while it was inside my *supposedly* protective laptop bag.
Even if you already have a bag, you need to check the padding on the bottom (and the bottom corners) of the bag. If you find it lacking, but don’t want to buy a new bag this second, you may be able to add your own protection (if you have a little room in the bottom) by adding a rolled up piece of bubble-wrap cut to size. It works, I’ve done it. You will need to check the wrap occasionally to be sure it’s still in good shape, and it does require about an inch of extra space in the bottom on the bag.
Another option is to purchase a good laptop sleeve to fit down into an existing bag. Again, you will need to test the edges and bottom as well as the sides for good protection before making the purchase.
Don’t close it and immediately put it in the bag. It’s tempting to close the top and stick the laptop in your bag and run out the door. Doing so could prove disastrous. If your machine doesn’t properly shut down, it will overheat in that confined, well-insulated space. You could cause your baby to literally “cook” itself from the inside out doing damage to the delicate device. The fan can’t cool in such tight quarters and the battery may overheat and could possibly explode! Also, jarring a moving hard drive is asking for trouble.
Doing so places undue stress on the hinges. Instead, open from the exact middle (when using one hand) or from BOTH corners when you have two hands available.
Don’t grab it by one corner (especially over an optical drive) and use the squeezing “clamp” hold to move it from place to place.
This will cause overheating and may even warp your computer (especially dangerous to plastic-clad laptops). If you have it in your lap, be sure you have a hard surface between you and the laptop for proper air flow. Ditto for any other padded surfaces.
The screen is not a handle. Using it as such will destroy the hinges, or the materials surrounding the hinges, and will ruin your laptop.
Some laptops are made with a glass covering, others are designed for touch-screen operation, but most are still soft and easy-to-damage. Keep your fingers and everyone else’s fingers off your screen. Aside from the opportunity for physical damage, greasy fingerprints are hard to clean from the plastic membrane “skin” that covers this type of screen.
When you are preparing to transport your laptop, never EVER leave the powercord attached. This will strain, flex and eventually break the plug on the adapter or the port on the computer. Also avoid tightly wrapping the cord around the power supply block. This will strain where the cord goes into the block with the same results.
Instead, wrap in a circle or S shape, loosely, invest in a velcro strip to hold the cord (a rubber band will work in a pinch) and carefully place it in the storage compartment. If your cord will unplug from the power “block” do so before wrapping to avoid straining the connection.
Just a little care and tending will make your little laptop last for months, or even years, longer! Now that’s good news 🙂