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Computer Use and Care

Your computer is an essential tool.  To ensure your success as a student it should be maintained and cared for as any other tool would be.  We have compiled some useful information that will help you keep your computer in good condition.  In addition, if your computer is booting or running much slower than when it was new, you should visit SWAT for a cleanup or reformat.  Hardware is often blamed for software related problems. 

Preventative Maintenance

  1. Do not store in direct sunlight for long periods, or where the computer will be exposed to excessive heat (over 140° F).
  2. Avoid direct exposure to water, sand, dust and other environmental hazards.
  3. Make a habit of transporting and using it in a carrying case.
  4. Keep it away from food and beverages.
  5. Keep the covers closed on the connectors, doors and slots when they are not in use.
  6. Prevent heavy and/or sharp objects from falling onto or being put onto the display.
  7. If you are using a tablet, place it display side down whenever possible.
  8. Be careful to keep phone and power cables out of harms way when communicating or charging your computer in the home or office, to prevent people or pets tripping.

Caring for Your Pen (if applicable)

  • Always store the Pen in the storage space provided in the computer
  • Do not tap heavily on the display.
  • Avoid getting the pen dirty.
  • Use only the Pen provided, to write or tap on the display.

Cleaning Your Computer

To clean your computer display screen: wipe the screen surface gently using a soft cotton cloth dampened with denatured alcohol or a mild soap with no abrasive (i.e. Dawn). Do not use abrasive solvents.

Caution: Your computer is not waterproof. Do not pour or spray liquids directly on your tablet or wash your computer with a heavily soaked cloth.

Accidental Spills

If you do accidentally spill liquid on the computer:

  • Turn it off, unplug it, and remove the battery
  • Position it so that the liquid can run out
  • If the computer does not boot after it has dried out, call the SWAT Team.

Battery Care

Optimal battery performance in a computer is approximately 13 months, depending on usage.  After that, degradation will occur, requiring the battery to be charged more often. These hints will help you achieve a longer lifespan for your battery.

  • Always make sure you charge battery fully.
  • Clean battery contacts occasionally. Remove your battery and clean its metal contacts with alcohol, (ideally do this every two months), allowing it to dry thoroughly before replacing it. This makes sure the power transfer between the laptop and its battery is as efficient as possible.
  • Make sure the vents on the laptop are clean and free of dust. 
  • Keeping the computer cool will extend battery life.  Try to operate on hard surfaces as much as possible and avoid using the computer on your lap, pillows, or other soft surfaces which might interfere with airflow. Never store your computer in a hot car or in full sun.
  • Running a lithium-ion battery empty and subsequently giving it a full charge will keep a lithium-ion battery fit. (To completely discharge a lithium-ion battery simply run your laptop until it automatically cuts-off.) This will ensure your battery meter remains accurate.
  • Defrag your hard drive regularly.  The faster your hard drive does its work – less demand you are going to put on the hard drive and your battery. Windows 7 does this automatically.
  • Use the power management settings on your computer to the least draining. Using a laptop at lower power levels while on battery power will increase the lifetime of your lithium-ion battery 
  • Set your screen brightness to the dimmest that you are comfortable with.
  • When not using Wi-Fi, disable the Wi-Fi adapter.
  • Reduce the peripheral equipment.
  • Do not multi-task while on battery power. Stick to the project and do not have several applications running in the background. Do not have multiple screens up at the same time as this causes additional CPU usage, which heats up the computer causing the fan to run more, and for longer periods to cool down the motherboard and CPU.
  • Do not have a CD or DVD in the computer unless you must use it. Even if you are not viewing or listening to it, it will still spin occasionally and use your battery power.
  • Avoid purchasing spare lithium-ion batteries for later use. Observe manufacturing dates. Do not buy old stock, even if sold at clearance prices. Do not buy a replacement battery until it is needed.