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We’ve all been there…the kids come home from school and there is something wrong with their laptop, something bad, and you just know this is going to be expensive.
Nothing Is Forever
When you purchase a laptop for school, you do so on the understanding that it will last. If the device meets a premature demise it can stretch the family budget significantly.
Often the salesperson tells you that it will see the kids through school. It is a statement with many assumptions. Specifically, that there are no accidents, spills, or other general misuse along the way. Unfortunately, that rarely is the case.
How To Kill A Laptop
In practical terms, and barring any manufacturing defects (or an act of God), you should expect to get between 3-5 years out of a good laptop but with mistreatment you’ll be lucky if it makes 12 months; so it is important to educate your kids on how to take care of their laptop, more on that towards the end of the article.
When it comes to laptop damage I’ve seen it all. Broken screens, keyboards, fluid damage, overheating, damaged/faulty power adapter, disk issues etc. all of which usually have a root cause.
With laptops, particularly when used at school, the most common causes include: accidental drops, kicking / punching / throwing (either during a tantrum or caused by a school mate), sitting on it, spilling liquid on it, or suffocating it (by using the laptop on dust laden surfaces like bedding or cushions – which is a fire risk as well); all of which will bring about an early demise for a laptop.
3 Ways To Protect Your Investment
A lot of people think, I will take out an extended warranty. Unfortunately, when it comes to extended warranties they are very prescriptive about what is/is not covered, and accidental damage is generally not included. You’re also not covered for data recovery, so it is important to keep a regular backup.
What can you do to minimize the risk?
- If possible try to ensure your kids laptop is covered under your home / contents insurance, that way if there is an accident, you should be able to recover some of the cost of repair or replacement.
- Purchase a good-quality laptop case / bag, or that your kids school bag has a padded and water-proof section for their laptop.
- Buy a backup drive and setup a regular backup
Message For The Kids: Please Don’t Bully Your Laptop
When it comes to taking care of your computer, and protecting your data, it is not that difficult. Your laptop is your friend so cherish it, don’t bully, and abuse it, and remember:
- Your laptop is fragile: Don’t sit on it, drop it, throw it, punch it, or kick it
- Computers do not eat or drink: Watch where you leave your drink and, and no matter how slow it is going, do not attempt to give it energy by feeding it
- Just Like You, Your laptop Wants To Be Cool: Laptops hate dust and can quickly overheat if left on a bed / cushion / pillow
- Use Protection: Decent Home Internet Security is important, but so is common sense so practice internet safety and avoid the bad sites
- Back it up: A regular backup will protect your important files
- Keep it up to date: Ensure you install relevant service packs / hot-fixes / drivers
Multiple Repairs Multiplies Your Repair Costs
Laptop repairs are not always cost-effective. The portable nature of these devices increases their vulnerability and can significantly shorten their lifespan, particularly if mistreated.
Common problems like broken/damaged: keyboards, screens*, power supply, or battery (in isolation) may warrant a repair. However if your computer has multiple faults the cost of repair can quickly escalate and become prohibitive.
* Some touch screen panels can be very, very expensive.
Some repair shops are happy to take your money, but we prefer to be up-front. We will provide a quote on repairs if we feel repairs are viable, and tell you if it is too far gone. And offer, where appropriate, an insurance report and / or data-recovery services. We can also help setup your new machine.
Final Word For Parents
Despite best intent, repairs are not always viable / advisable. It may be better to invest in a new machine, and educate your kids to head off any future disasters. But if disaster does strike, give Excalibur IT a call
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NOTE: This article is an update to an original post published January, 2018
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