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Laptops are replaced every few years. We crave fancier hardware, novel features, and maybe our old device has become unresponsive and suffered some damage over time. Consequently, most laptops get thrown out prematurely.

Unless you are looking for a silly excuse to buy a new and shiny device, you will love to hear that there are many ways to make your laptop last longer. Apart from delaying the headache of setting up a new computer and moving all your files over, this will also save you money in the long run. So let’s see what you can do to turn your laptop into an electronic Methuselah.

1: Treat Your Laptop With Care

Laptops can be fragile. I should know; not long ago I broke my laptop screen Busted - How To Deal With a Broken Screen On Your Laptop Busted - How To Deal With a Broken Screen On Your Laptop Over the past couple of years I have traveled a lot and took my work with me wherever I went. I worked from the most ridiculous and beautiful places all over North America and Europe.... Read More (and fixed it). Besides this unfortunate accident, I have had my fair share of worn out keyboards, broken power supplies, and failed hard drives. Most components can be easily replaced, but something like a broken hard drive How to Diagnose and Fix a Dead Hard Drive to Recover Data How to Diagnose and Fix a Dead Hard Drive to Recover Data Several years ago, I experienced a hard drive failure. I was at work when my laptop suddenly started to act particularly strange. About half an hour later, the hard drive failed audibly and the laptop... Read More , with all your precious files on it, is a whole different story.

Hard Drive

Some wear and tear can be avoided simply by handling your hardware with care. Next to the display, the hard drive is the most fragile part of your laptop. As Matt writes in his article on how to utterly destroy your laptop 5 Ways To Utterly Destroy Your Laptop, Slowly But Surely 5 Ways To Utterly Destroy Your Laptop, Slowly But Surely A laptop is one of the most fragile consumer electronics devices you will buy. It’s a complex system packed with fast hardware, yet it also finds itself in constant use, which often mean constant danger.... Read More , move your laptop gently and try not to move it when the hard drive is performing intensive operations. Your hardware will thank you and last longer.

2: Regularly Clean Your Laptop Hardware

Computers are dirt magnets. Laptop fans seem to accumulate dust better than any vacuum cleaner and apparently keyboards are dirtier than toilet seats. So what do you do? You should give your laptop’s hardware a thorough cleaning A Spring Cleaning Checklist For Your PC Part 1: Hardware Cleaning A Spring Cleaning Checklist For Your PC Part 1: Hardware Cleaning With the arrival of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, houses across the globe get a nice cleaning to rid them of dirt and clutter that has accumulated over the past year. Dust and junk also... Read More every once in a while!

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Brushing Laptop Fan

Cleaning your computer hardware is not just a matter of hygiene. Especially when it comes to internal fans and heat sinks, it also prevents your laptop from overheating How To Fix An Overheating Laptop How To Fix An Overheating Laptop Read More . Keeping the hardware cool significantly increases its lifespan.

3: Keep The Operating System Snappy

The most common complaint about old computers is that they are slow. This is only mildly related to age and more likely due to bad maintenance or — as Apple fans will attest to — poor operating system and software design. Fortunately, you can speed up an old installation of Windows and with a few tricks, you can prevent a fresh installation from going stale too quickly. Conveniently, we have articles on how to speed up Windows 7 Speeding Up Windows 7: Everything You Need to Know Speeding Up Windows 7: Everything You Need to Know Read More and make Windows 8 work faster How to Make Windows 8 Go Faster: 8 Tips For Improving Performance How to Make Windows 8 Go Faster: 8 Tips For Improving Performance Whatever you think of Windows 8 (at MakeUseOf, our opinions are mixed), it’s certainly speedy. Windows 8 boots faster than previous versions of Windows, has lower memory usage, and has a desktop that feels nice... Read More .

Windows Task Manager

A lean operating system that responds quickly and doesn’t get in the way of you trying to get work done can go a long way. You won’t worry about the age of your laptop at all.

4: Run Regular Software & Operating System Updates

No operating system or program is perfect. But with every upgrade, issues get patched and new features are added. That’s why you need to run Windows updates 3 Reasons Why You Should Be Running The Latest Windows Security Patches & Updates 3 Reasons Why You Should Be Running The Latest Windows Security Patches & Updates The code that makes up the Windows operating system contains security loop holes, errors, incompatibilities, or outdated software elements. In short, Windows isn't perfect, we all know that. Security patches and updates fix the vulnerabilities... Read More and also make sure your installed software is up to date. The latter is not so easy because few software updaters support every program available. Aaron recently reviewed OUTDATEfighter, which can handle both Windows and software updates OUTDATEfighter: Keep Your Computer Updated And Bloatware-Free With This Fantastic Tool [Windows] OUTDATEfighter: Keep Your Computer Updated And Bloatware-Free With This Fantastic Tool [Windows] Do you ever feel like keeping all your software updated is too much of a hassle? OUTDATEfighter, created by FIGHTERtools, is a new program that allows you to scan for software and Windows updates, without... Read More for you.

OUTDATEfighter Software Update

If your operating system and your software are always up to date, you reduce the chances of security exploits. If you also run anti-virus and anti-malware scanners and checks, you should be able to keep your computer clean. Less junk and malware will ensure a smooth running system. And why would you fix or replace a perfectly operational system?

5: Upgrade Your Laptop Hardware

To most people, upgrading laptop hardware sounds impossible. But it’s not so difficult to install a bigger hard drive How To Install A New Hard Drive To Replace An Old One How To Install A New Hard Drive To Replace An Old One Read More — or better yet a solid state drive Should You Get A Solid State Drive (SSD)? [Opinion] Should You Get A Solid State Drive (SSD)? [Opinion] If you've kept up with some of the latest news about new computer parts, you may have heard about SSDs, or solid state drives. They are designed to replace your clunky, slow hard drive and... Read More (SSD) –, add more RAM How To Upgrade A Laptop's RAM, Step By Step How To Upgrade A Laptop's RAM, Step By Step Is your laptop old, slow, and has the hardware never been upgraded? Working on a slow computer can be a real drag. Before you buy a completely new one, however, you should consider ways to... Read More , or even put in a new display Busted - How To Deal With a Broken Screen On Your Laptop Busted - How To Deal With a Broken Screen On Your Laptop Over the past couple of years I have traveled a lot and took my work with me wherever I went. I worked from the most ridiculous and beautiful places all over North America and Europe.... Read More . When you can pinpoint the exact component that’s slowing you down, chances are there is an easier and cheaper fix 5 Ways To Give An Old Laptop A New Life 5 Ways To Give An Old Laptop A New Life Computers seem to become slower as they age. Operating systems tend to become more resource-hungry over time, hardware ages, and the exuberance felt during the first months of laptop ownership fades. This is why some... Read More than buying a new laptop. Here is a little laptop troubleshooting guide How To Troubleshoot & Repair A Broken Laptop How To Troubleshoot & Repair A Broken Laptop Laptops tend to have a rather short lifetime. They are outdated within weeks of being released, they are notoriously hard to upgrade or repair, and by nature they are subject to gradual decay or fatal... Read More to get you started.

Laptop RAM

A hardware upgrade How To Upgrade Your Laptop In a Flash: Add a New Hard Drive & Increase RAM How To Upgrade Your Laptop In a Flash: Add a New Hard Drive & Increase RAM Laptops are not as easy to upgrade as desktops. Many components are simply soldered on to the motherboard and others, though technically replaceable, are restricted by technical skill and cost. There are, however, two upgrades... Read More is a sensible way to fix up an aging laptop. You may be able to squeeze some life out of the device, before your laptop is ready for recycling Disposing Of An Old Laptop - What To Recycle, What To Keep Disposing Of An Old Laptop - What To Recycle, What To Keep Laptops are a treasure trove of parts that can live more than one life. Whether they continue a life as spare part or become the subject of a DIY tech project, you can get a... Read More .

Making Your Laptop Last Is Common Sense

Sure, we all want shiny new things, but what for? Will it improve your life? Will you work more efficiently? Will you be happier? Really? Well, then by all means do buy something new and invest into a quality product that will last you for a long time.

But if you just use your laptop for everyday tasks, then instead of buying a new one, your money would be better invested into an experience that will last longer than the latest fashion. Think about it. What do you really want out of life?

How long do you want your laptop to last and what are you doing to make that happen?

Image credit: Old Thinkpad via Gary Chang on FlickrBrushing Laptop Fan via Shutterstock

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