Nothing bums out a hardcore gamer like a flawed laptop that crashes right in the middle of a crucial game stage. I am sure that you must have also experienced this at some point of time. It is rather perplexing that people want high performing gaming laptops but somehow, they assume that these devices might not require maintenance. Sorry to break it to you – every device out there needs maintenance, irrespective of the price tag or the build quality.
If you are not careful about checking it from time to time or using it correctly, then you could end up with a box with circuits and some fancy components. I am sure you would never want this to happen to you, right? It doesn’t take much efforts to ensure that your gaming laptop runs smoothly. Just follow these 10 essential laptop maintenance tips and you should be able to keep the issues at bay.
Laptop Maintenance Tips
Tip #1: Keep the Hardware Clean
Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But you would be amazed at the extent of carelessness that people can go. It’s not only about keeping the exterior parts clean. You need to periodically open up the covers and clean the dust and debris that has accumulated inside. Important areas that need extra attention include cooling fan(s), processor and heat sink around the graphic cards. Remember, excessive dust can cause overheating and in turn, damage the sensitive components in the laptop.
Tip #2: Make Sure the OS is Snappy and Updated
The operating system needs to be checked and updated regularly to ensure snappy performance and no lag at all. Irrespective of the OS (Mac, Windows, etc.), you need to ensure that everything is in perfect condition. Don’t worry, the OS developers won’t allow the software to go stale. They do bring out bug fixes and updates periodically. Just make sure that you get these updates and install them on time.
Tip #3: Update Your Drivers and Software
Drivers and software are the two most important components of any system which have a direct impact on the performance. A majority of the updates are targeted at security issues that may have been identified in the respective component / software. The need for possessing the latest drivers is that the newer games may have issues with their performance and stability. Driver updates target these issues directly and allow for a better gaming experience.
Tip #4: Never Keep the Laptop on a Soft Surface
Laptops do provide convenience and portable access, but this doesn’t mean that you should keep it anywhere. It is strongly suggested that laptops be kept on a hard or firm surface. The reason behind this is that hard surfaces allow the vents to expel air and prevent the system’s components from overheating. Even if you are careful, it is difficult to ensure proper ventilation when you place the laptop on soft surfaces such as cushions or pillows. You can keep it on a cooling pad to allow better cooling for the laptop.
Tip #5: Use a Good Antivirus Software
Viruses love digital devices, especially laptops and computers. You might not even be aware of its presence unless a significant amount of damage has been done. While viruses cripple your system, malware tend to take up a good chunk of your usable system memory, thereby affecting the overall performance. Moreover, you are also exposed to the loss of personal / confidential information due to the malicious attacks of the virus.
The best solution is to get a good anti-virus software that serves your needs and make sure you get a licensed version. This would help you to receive periodic updates, some of which contain information about latest viruses and malware. You can never be too careful about dealing with such infectious programs. As a preventive measure, try to avoid using pirated content or using pen drives without scanning them first.
Tip #6: Defragment the Mechanical Drives
There is a tiny option in your system tools, called “Defragment”. I am not sure how many of you use it or even know of its functions. But this is a really crucial and useful tool. The defragment option sorts out your data clusters and provides faster access with shorter loading times for your laptop. This should be done regularly, especially when you have a habit of moving your files around.
If you find it difficult to comprehend the working of the defragment function, then consider this scenario. Say for example, you have a song (mp3 file). You moved it to three different drives. Every time it changed its location, its reference address was modified. So every time you request the file to be accessed, the system needs to spend more time to locate the fragments and then load the required data. Defragmentation aligns all the fragments in a sequence so that the system doesn’t have to do a lot of hard work to locate it.
In the case of SSD, the “Trim” function takes care of this thing. This function immediately informs the OS about sectors that are no longer required. Post identification, the system irreversibly deletes these sectors so that new ones may take their place. This is much faster than defragmentation and is applicable only to solid state drives.
Tip #7: Check the Hard Disk for Signs of Errors
It is possible for the hard disk and the system to have bad sectors and / or file system errors. The best way to check and resolve such issues is to run the “check disk” utility and identify errors in the hard disk. If there are bad sectors, then the system will prompt you to initiate the recovery of the bad sectors. This helps to improve the overall stability of the system.
Tip #8: Avoid Running Programs in the Background
This is one of the most common mistake that every laptop user makes. Just because the system is capable of handling multitasking, there is no need to push its processing power to its limit. Games take up considerable memory and processing efficiency in order to deliver the high end graphics as well as gameplay.
Avoid running programs in the background. I am sure that if you are disconnected from social media for a few hours, then the world will not collapse or be subjected to a catastrophe due to your absence. Even if you have left programs running by mistake, just pause the game and close all background applications. This should provide a seemingly smooth and uninterrupted gaming experience.
Tip #9: Protect the Laptop from Power Surges
Use UPS / surge protectors for protecting your laptop from power surges. Such spikes can never be predicted and if not controlled in time, it could damage the internal components of the device. Moreover, ensure that you handle the power cables with care. It is common for the cable to get entangled and get tugged hard enough to damage the power socket. Try to arrange the connections in such a way that it does not come in the way. After all, you wouldn’t want to make unnecessary expenses for replacing components that could have been saved with a little precaution.
Tip #10: Handle It With Care
I agree that gaming laptops are sturdy and meant to handle even the most aggressive players. But this doesn’t mean that you can treat it like a piece of rock. Handle it with care and try to upgrade the hardware with time so that the device is able to deliver good performance consistently.
As a hardcore gamer, you would be aware about the different components in the market. Try to procure the ones that are compatible with your specific laptop and always insist on getting genuine components / software, even if it means spending a few more bucks. With periodic inspection, careful handling and timely intervention, you can easily ensure consistence in your gaming laptop’s performance.