Laptop Care

Theft

Whenever you are traveling or living anywhere, there is a chance something might get stolen.  To help protect your laptop, use your Kensington lock to lock your laptop down, even in your house or office.  And don’t just lock it to a table or chair leg, where a thief simply just has to lift the table or chair and slide the lock cable over the leg.  That does you no good.  I drilled a hole in my desk to run my lock through the desk in a way that would require a thief to haul an awkward, 60lb. desk with them just to get my laptop.

Most laptops are designed so that their Kensington lock slots are built like a bumblebee stinger: you try to forcibly remove the lock and you are going to take some critical components with you.  Does it mean your laptop will break? Yes.  But it may also prevent sensitive data (credit card numbers, addresses, phone numbers, usernames/passwords) from getting into the wrong hands.  There is a ripe blackmarket for that information in Africa and everywhere else in the world, don’t think differently.

This is also another reason to make sure you never leave your laptop unattended, even in nice places like Dorman’s or Java House. And also to not let your laptop go on the roof or under the carriage on a bus ride.  Long story short, hold on to it.  These rules apply for which ever country you are coming from as well.

Backup Your Data!!!!

You see that, that’s four exclamation points!  Your computer will most likely die or suffer from some mishap over here.  Here’s a life lesson for you: computers can be replaced, data cannot.  Let that sink in.  You will appreciate the fact only after you have suffered your first major data catastrophe.  They aren’t fun.  Many a time I have seen people break down into tears, but it’s hard to feel bad after a while because backing up data is so simple!

What is a backup?  It is simply moving all of your data files (music, movies, pictures, documents) onto a physically separate hard drive from your laptop.  This is why you are going to bring an external hard drive with you.  If you want, back it up onto three hard drives, or four.  To put things in perspective, before coming here, I created three backups of all my data on my home personal computer, and locked one of those in a fireproof safe.  I kid you not.  I love my data and you should love yours.

Does this sound complicated? If so, people have made plenty of great applications to make the job easy.  Just go to this link from DownloadSquad or this one from CNet or even this one from Wikipedia. Backing data up is not intuitive, but neither are typing, surfing the web, or taking digital photographs, or joining the Peace Corps for that matter.  These are just things we learn to do for one reason or another.  Learn how to backup your data.  Become a data master.  You will not regret having this skill. I promise.

One response to “Laptop Care

  1. Noah Briggs

    Although your remarks are targeted towards the Kenyan expats and PCVs, 90% of your commentary is applicable regardless of where you are or what you are doing. Speaking as someone who has physically replaced a shat hard drive, plus a couple of drive reformats afterwards, everything you say is dead on. I back up regularly, plug into a power strip, and unplug during thunderstorms, and do regular sweeps to weed malware and excess crap from the drive.

    I remember one time many moons back you worked as a Best Buy? or computer repair geek, and you could tell when people were lying when they said, “I never used my laptop in bed”. The lint that clogged their vent tended to sing a different tune, as I recall.

    Time to invest in a Kensington lock.

    Your Coz

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