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How to extend the life of your laptop

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The specialists give some suggestions for the care of your personal computer.

During the pandemic, many people bought a new computer to be better equipped for remote work and homeschooling. Computers are among the technological products that have moved the most throughout this pandemic.

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However, with good maintenance and regular updates, older devices can continue to be used. Christian Hirsch, from the German trade magazine c’t, explain what notebooks have a useful life of three to five years: “For users who use the device primarily for less demanding applications, such as browsing, streaming and office applications, use can take up to seven years.”

The number one wear part of a laptop is the battery, which weakens with each full charge cycle. For a proper use of this component, Hirsch advises: “The battery must be emptied every two or three weeks and recharged completely so that the electronic charging system can determine the real capacity.”

The import of computers grew 62.3% in the year of the pandemic

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Some units have battery management software that allows the electronic charging system to be adjusted so that the battery is not fully charged when connected to the mains. This keeps the battery in good condition for longer. However, despite all precautions, after a few years, the battery tends to wear out quite quickly and must eventually be replaced.

On the other hand, original replacement batteries are sometimes unavailable or too expensiveeven compared to the price of a new device. An alternative to save money are cheaper batteries from other manufacturers. The problem is that, in many notebooks, the original battery cannot be simply removed – a concession from manufacturers in favor of a slimmer design.

“Still, with a little expertise and with the help of online tutorials that explain how to do it, these batteries can also be replaced,” says Wolfgang Pauler, from the German trade magazine Chip, and explains that you have to cheer up and open the device. However, he cautions, this is only worth it if you are otherwise satisfied with the device, as many older laptops also lose speed over time.

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“This is a very typical ending for laptops. Applications are increasingly demanding; videos, for example, have an ever-increasing resolution. The computer, on the other hand, is always the same. As the years go by, it is barely able to process modern programs and therefore becomes slower and slower, ”Hirsch explains.

RAM is often the cause of this loss of efficiency. In the task manager of Windows devices, which can be opened with the key combination “Ctrl + Alt + Del”, you can check if the memory is already reaching its limits.

  1. If it is already at almost 100 percent of its performance, some of the processes will have to be outsourced to the internal hard disk, which is much slower. “In this case, it is definitely worth expanding the memory of the device “advises Pauler.
  2. For this you can use the RAM memory bars. “In some devices there is a slot where you can just insert another bar,” explains Pauler. In other cases, the old one must be replaced by a new one, if the first one is not firmly welded.
  3. If the hard drive is already very old or full, expanding the storage space or incorporating newer technology can add speed. If the device equips a magnetic hard disk, this should be replaced by an SSD disk. SSD memory chips are much faster than magnetic disks.
  4. And if an installed SSD is too small, it can be swapped out for a larger one, as laptops often have a free slot (M.2) for an additional SSD. “Or you can just connect an external hard drive or an SSD through the USB port. Data can be stored there and it is an easy alternative to increase storage space ”, advises Pauler.
  5. In the Windows Task Manager you can check the status of the processor and graphics card. These components, also known by the abbreviations CPU and GPU, cannot be interchanged. “Not all speed problems can be solved,” sums up Hirsch. “And investing money in the battery or the RAM is only worth it if the processor continues to offer satisfactory performance.”

Wolfgang Pauler also advises weighing whether there is a need to buy a new device or not, This will depend on whether there is only one problem that can be fixed at a reasonable price or if you are dissatisfied with the overall performance. The expert says: “It is always worth extending the service life, also from the point of view of sustainability.”

Laptop owners can take better care of their device with a few simple steps. “The fan needs to cool down, so it makes sense to clean the ventilation slots with a low-power vacuum from time to time. Otherwise, the processor will heat up and throttle performance downward, ”warns Wolfgang Pauler.

AND all laptops should be completely rebooted from time to time. “This closes the applications that are still open in the background or the ‘zombie’ programs that did not close properly,” says Pauler. After reboot, devices tend to work faster again.

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