Internet, Networking, & Security Around the Web 400 400 people found this article helpful Are You Really Taking Care of Your Laptop? by Catherine Roseberry Writer Catherine Roseberry is a former writer for Lifewire who has experience in technology consulting focused on mobile productivity. our editorial process Catherine Roseberry Updated on April 08, 2020 Around the Web Browsers Cloud Services Error Messages Family Tech Home Networking 5G Antivirus VPN Web Development Around the Web View More Tweet Share Email It takes more than being careful and traveling with a laptop case to keep your piece of personal technology running in tip-top shape. Monthly laptop maintenance ensures the smooth operation of your laptop and most importantly, keeps your personal data protected. The better you care for your laptop, the longer it will last, which not only saves you money but ensures that you will stay more productive with less downtime due to computer problems. Eternity in an Instant/The Image Bank/Getty Images Clean Your Hard Drive Over the course of a month, it is easy for the mobile professional to accumulate a lot of unnecessary files on their laptop hard drive. Take the time once a month to go through your hard drive and examine the files there. As you look over those files, determine which should be saved elsewhere for future reference and which can be trashed. This is also a great opportunity to back up your files on an external drive (see step 4 for more details). Additionally, if you download programs on a regular basis to try new things or to have access to new programs for projects, properly uninstall those programs when they are no longer needed. A cleaner hard drive is a smoother running hard drive. Defrag Your Hard Drive To defrag your computer means to defragment, which is a process that rearranges fragmented data so that it is easier to read, allowing your computer to work more efficiently. Not surprisingly, defragging your hard drive is another maintenance task that ensures your laptop will run as efficiently as possible. There is no need to defrag more than once a month for your programs to run more quickly and make better use of the space on your hard drive. When you defrag your laptop hard drive regularly, you should notice fewer software crashes or freeze-ups and programs will run better. Defragging can be as simple as using a defragmenter software. But note that if you have a solid-state drive (SSD) in your laptop, you do not need to defragment. Windows 10 will keep your hard drive defragmented automatically. There's no need to run the defrag app, but it never hurts to check periodically, just make sure. Keep Your Laptop Clean This time we’re talking about keeping your laptop physically clean. Cleaning your laptop helps prevent overheating and those nasty dust bunnies from building up inside your laptop fans and exposed ports that can cause issues. Cleaning the screen also means you'll always view your data clearly, it’ll be much easier on the eyes. Keeping your case free of dust and dirt buildup will help your laptop by preventing that dirt from getting inside the laptop. If dust does make its way in, you can blast it free with a can of compressed air. Full Back-Up Full back-ups should be conducted on a monthly basis. There are a variety of software and hardware options available. You should choose the method that is easy and can be done without fuss. It may require trying different methods before you find the best backup system for your needs. Most importantly, you should have a secure, fire-proof location to store your back-up. Performing a monthly back up is a surefire way of preventing data loss. Software Updates Just as you keep your anti-virus and firewall software up-to-date, you should also keep your all other software programs updated. For many programs, the updates address security issues that help keep your laptop and data protected while on the road. You can perform updates as they become available, but to avoid the disruption and use your time more efficiently, we suggest dedicating some time once a month to installing all new updates.