extract from laptop maintenance (save your laptop today)

Laptops are designed for use in typical office, school or home environments.
Under these conditions and following the guidelines in this document, your
Laptop should present no risk to you or its surroundings.
However, normal laptop usage generates heat and uses electricity, so proper
precautions should be taken into consideration to prevent personal or
property injury. This document outlines basic guidelines for proper use of a
laptop computer from my book Laptop Maintenance (save your laptop
While safety is an important concern, you’ll also want to get the most out of
your laptop and avoid costly repairs. Following the guidelines and
precautions in this document, your laptop can provide years of trouble-free
To reduce the possibility of heat-related injuries or of
overheating the computer, do not place the computer directly on
your lap or obstruct the computer air vents. Use the computer
only on a hard, flat surface. Do not allow another hard surface,
such as an adjoining optional printer, or a soft surface, such as
pillows or rugs or clothing, to block airflow. Also, do not allow
the AC adapter to contact the skin or a soft surface, such as
pillows or rugs or clothing, during operation. The computer and
the AC adapter comply with the user-accessible surface
temperature limits defined by the International Standard for
Safety of Information Technology Equipment (IEC 60950).
Environmental tips
You can significantly reduce risks to the laptop by paying attention to the
environment around it. Taking simple precautions, such as placing the laptop
on a hard surface during use, keeping it in a dust-free environment, and
using a cooling pad or an external fan, helps it function as designed.
Use your laptop on a hard surface, such as a desk, tray, or table.
Do not use the laptop on your lap or let its warm surfaces make direct
contact with your skin. If you want to use it on your lap, rest it on a hard,
flat surface, such as a lap tray specifically designed for laptops.
Do not use the laptop on soft surfaces, such as bed comforters, cushions and
pillows, clothing, or carpet. Such surfaces can block the air flow through the
vents, which can cause heat to build up within the laptop's enclosure.
Only operate your laptop in environments that conform to its temperature
and humidity specifications. Keep the LCD display (Screen) out of direct
sunlight for extended periods of time. Excessive heat can damage key
components in the system.
Under normal circumstances, the laptop is designed to automatically throttle
its activity when its internal temperature exceeds predefined levels. If its
temperature rises too high, the laptop is designed to shut itself down to
protect its internal components.
Do not leave the laptop in a hot enclosure, such as a parked car, or in direct
sunlight. Either of these can cause heat damage and warping.
Excessive cold can also prevent a battery from charging and operating
The typical Lithium-Ion battery used in laptop PCs cannot charge properly at
temperatures of 30 to 50 degrees F (0 to 10 C). At these temperatures, the
battery charges extremely slowly and cannot acquire a full charge before the
charging cycle times out. For proper operation, move the laptop to a warmer
environment where the internal temperature of the battery can rise above
50 degrees F (10 degree C).
If the battery is left in a low temperature environment for 12 hours or more,
you must warm the laptop and battery and then perform a hard reset of the
laptop. To perform a hard reset, unplug the AC adapter, remove the battery,
and then press and hold the power button for 15 seconds. Next, reinstall the
battery, plug in the AC adapter, and press the power button again to turn
the laptop on.
Use or store the laptop in a clean environment.
Do not use or store the computer in an environment characterized by high
humidity, dust, grit, or smoky conditions.
Laptops often have vents on the bottom and sides to allow air flow in
through the inside and cool the internal parts. If these vents become clogged
or the heat generating parts get covered in dust, the fan cannot cool the
internal components properly. Blow compressed air into the outlet vents to
remove the dust that has accumulated and keep the air circulating through
the device.
Use clean hands with the laptop.
Do not use the keyboard with sticky, dirty, or greasy fingers. This can leave
debris behind, which can easily contaminate the computer's internal
components. Debris on the keyboard can also scratch and stain the laptop
display when the lid is closed.
Keep all liquids, such as coffee, cola, water, or cleaning solvents away from
the keyboard. Do not eat or drink while using a laptop.
Do not use the computer in any wet environment, such as a swimming pool
or shower; it might be enjoyment for you but death sentence for your
laptop. Protect the components from liquid sources, including rain and lawn
Do not store a laptop at the bottom of a locker, in a bag full of books, or
under anything that can exert enough stress to crack the case or the display.
Use only the appropriate stylus or input device on tablet PCs.
Do not use a pen, pencil, or other object to input data to the screen. For
TouchSmart laptops, use only a finger.
This is just a tip of the iceberg, for more information on Laptop Maintenance
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