Caring for your laptop: Backup + upgrade

Caring for your laptop: Backup + upgrade

Summary: We mobile warriors subject our laptops to constant use and abuse (food stains anyone?).

TOPICS: Laptops

We mobile warriors subject our laptops to constant use and abuse (food stains anyone?). So we ought to take good care of our laptops to make sure they continue to run well, and prepare ourselves for some worst-case scenarios--when the machine is damaged, lost or stolen. Here are some tips on how to better deal with these unfortunate circumstances:

-- Upgrade your RAM: RAM is cheap, especially for older laptops. Bump up your laptop's RAM to the maximum it can handle. It's the most effective way to speed up your laptop.

-- Backup your hard disk: If you're running Windows Vista Business, Ultimate or Enterprise, use the built-in backup feature. On my Windows XP laptop, I use Norton Save & Restore to back up my hard disk to an external 500GB SATA hard disk. Large external hard disks are very affordable nowadays and they are ideal for fast backups. Remember to lock up your backup disks in a safe place, and use password encryption if the backup software supports this feature.

-- Upgrade your hard disk: I recently upgraded my laptop hard disk to an inexpensive 160GB hard disk with 8MB cache (the cache helps to improve disk access speed). I used Norton Save & Restore to copy the data from the old disk to the new disk and it worked painlessly, even through the new disk was bigger. After upgrading your hard disk, lock up your old hard disk in a safe place and keep it as a backup for your data.

-- Defragment your hard disk regularly: I use PerfectDisk because it has a useful offline mode that can defragment system files that are locked while your laptop is running.

Topic: Laptops

Lee Lup Yuen

About Lee Lup Yuen

Lee Lup Yuen is passionate about mobile phones and PDAs, as he is constantly buying new gadgets and programming them in J2ME, .NET, Symbian and AppForge.
He has developed commercial applications with mobile technologies like SMS, MMS, WAP, 3G video streaming and location-based services.

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  • Good tips! I follow most of them for my Dell XPS notebook. For defragging the drive, I use a 'smart' automatic defragmenter that defrags in the background as required, when the system is idling on AC power. Extremely convenient and effective since it's a zero hassle solution and unlike scheduling a defrag or executing it manually, the user has to do nothing. I've read that a defragged drive consumes less power due to fewer head movements and helps to conserve battery life too, apart from speeding up performance.
  • I am looking for a reliable source to purchase a good laptop for a teacher in Khon Kaen School System. Can anyone recommend a computer outlet in KK?

    Gery Wood
  • Interesting tip, Lawrence! I'll watch out for the smart defragmenter. I agree that defragmenting makes a difference - my laptop feels faster and more responsive now, and the bigger hard disk helps too.