Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Getting A New Computer, Part 4: How To Properly Protect Your Laptop


Sent to you by Chris Hunter via Google Reader:


via MakeUseOf by Aaron Couch on 3/15/13

how to protect laptopA lot of research is involved in choosing the right computer. Should you go with a laptop or desktop? If you decide on a laptop, how do you choose which one? In all of these decisions, I'm sorry to say that you're not even done if you've decided on a laptop and which one to get. This is the last article in the series which is preceded by articles about how to transition from your old PC to your new one, things you must do before you start to use your laptop, and essential programs to install and how to efficiently install them.

In this article we will cover the security measures you should take with your new laptop. I'm not talking about software here (although you should take those measures too, but that is with any computer). I'm talking about five things to ensure the safety and protection of it.

  • Get laptop insurance
  • Buy a sleeve and/or case
  • Security cable
  • Protect your screen
  • Portable surge protector

Get Laptop Insurance

how to protect laptop

Don't confuse "insurance" with the warranties sold to you by the big box stores or manufacturing companies, which Joel warns you about in his article about 7 mistakes to avoid when purchasing a new computer. I'm not talking about those. I'm referring to a reliable insurance company with a competitive rate that covers everything from hardware failure to your friend dive bombing onto your bed where your used-to-be laptop resided. Having to replace the laptop is enough pain as it is, why not let an insurance company take some of that pressure off your bank account. It's surprisingly affordable. In the article Tools & Techniques For When You Must Leave Your Laptop Alone In Public there is a section that covers laptop insurance and what companies are the best.

Buy A Laptop Sleeve And/Or Case

protect your laptop

A laptop sleeve, case, or better yet both, is another essential. Backpacks are nice, but they usually don't provide the same protection. Below is a picture of what happened to a laptop of mine while in a backpack I was wearing. A sleeve alone can't stop all damages, but it sure can help.

protect your laptop

I personally recommend purchasing them online. It allows you to choose from a much larger variety than a physical store might have.

Buy A Security Cable

A security cable is another must-have. You don't want your brand new machine suddenly stolen, whether you have insurance or not. This is another topic that was covered in depth in the article about tools and techniques for when you need to leave your laptop in public. If you're searching for more information, I recommend taking a look at that section. Where does this security cable go? In a port that looks like the one in the image below.

protect your laptop

Protect Your Screen

You could by a screen protector for your laptop and hassle with putting it on (which there's an awesome method to do for cell phones and tablets by the way), but laptops don't really need these in the same sense that cell phones and tablets do. And the laptop screen protectors may not be as optimized for touchscreen laptops, which are increasing in popularity with Windows 8 and will continue to do so. The solution? Keep that piece of film between your screen and your keyboard that came with your laptop. I didn't do this on my old computer and now I have a nice line across the screen.
how to protect your laptop

Portable Surge Protector

We probably all plug our laptops and other electronic devices into a surge protector whenever we're at home, but what about when we're on the go? Without one, we must rely on the power outlets of places like coffee shops, hotels and other people's homes and hope that nothing bad happens. Sure you might have insurance, but what if you could prevent a huge mishap less than $20? I say that's worth it.

Portable surge protectors come in various forms, from attachments that connect between the power pack and cable, to units that plug into the wall. Below is the APC surge protector that I use, which attaches between the power pack and cable.
how to protect your laptop
On Amazon.com there are quite a few decent options available:
Below are a few good options, although the only one which I've used personally is the APC surge protector, pictured above (which you can find on Amazon here).
Targus Mini Mobile Surge Protector
how to protect your laptop
Simran Universal 3 Outlet Travel Surge Protector With Overload Protection

Belkin Travel Surge Protector With Swivel Plug
how to protect laptop


In addition to each of these five security measures, there's one more: protect it from yourself. In the second article of this series,Things You Must Do Before Starting To Use It  we talked about habits you need to lose. You can take all the proper measures to protect your laptop from things which you'd otherwise have no control over, but you can't forget about what you do have control over.

Do you take the proper security measures with your laptop? Are there any other techniques or tools that you use to increase the physical security? We'd love for you to share them with the rest of the MakeUseOf community in the comments.

Image Credits: Black notebook bag close-up via Shutterstock, Targus Mini Mobile Surge Protector via Amazon, Simran Universal 3 Outlet Travel Surge Protector With Overload Protection via Amazon, Belkin Travel Surge Protector With Swivel Plug via Amazon

The post Getting A New Computer, Part 4: How To Properly Protect Your Laptop appeared first on MakeUseOf.


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