This is a beginner’s guide to help you, the laptop owner, choose the right protection for your laptop. You need to have both hardware and software protection for both your investment, as well as your information and security. Lucky for you, there are lots of options out there that provide these needs, many of which are very inexpensive or even free.
General Rules for keeping your Laptop safe
You much remember, your laptop is a very condensed high powered machine. It can get very hot on the bottom, so be weary of placing it directly on your legs for long periods of time. Crumbs and liquids should always be kept away from the keyboard. Unlike a desktop PC, a spilled drink won’t just ruin your keyboard, it can damage your entire machine. For cleaning the keyboard, use compressed air, never suction. While vacuuming the dust out of your keys may seem like a good idea, it can suck off keys and cause damage to the circuitry just below them. Also try to avoid using your laptop in highly humid areas, as moisture can collect inside and cause severe damage.
Physical protection and comfort, while not 100% necessary, are very nice to have. First you will need to consider where the laptop will be used. If you are many using your laptop for business, and taking with you everywhere, you will want a good case. You want a case with can handle the occasional bump or drop, but also be comfortable to carry. Most nice laptop cases or bags will be under $50. Also be sure to consider the feel of your laptop case. If you are using it in a variety of places, you will probably find yourself sitting the laptop in/on the case, since laptops tend to get hot on the bottom after longterm use. If you choose a case with a hard exterior, it may get uncomfortable when used on long flights or layovers. If your laptop mainly stays at home or for social activities, there are a number of inexpensive decorative cases or covers that can be found for cheap as well from maybe different online stores.
Now that the exterior of your laptop is in order, its time to focus on protection for your data. If you ever purchase things online, your credit card information could be vulnerable. If you have ever applied for a federal job online, your social security number could be vulnerable. This is why antivirus software is very impotant.
Most new laptops will come with a trial edition of various types of antivirus. It is not necessary to start paying for it after the trial period ends. All the antivirus you will ever need for a personal computer is out there for free online. When your trial edition time limit is over, they will try and scare you into buying there paid version. This is all marketing, and uninstalling their software will not cause your computer to fall apart or explode. For safety though, you will want to install your new antivirus before the trial period runs out.
If you are a novice computer user, or just new to online security, you will want a “set and forget” style antivirus program. AVG-Free Antivirus, “avast!”and Microsoft Security Essentials are good example of this. There are dozens of other options out there though, and a search will return many reviews and recommendations. Once the antivirus is installed, just come up with a time that the laptop is usually on, but not being used and set a virus scan time with the scheduler in your chosen program. Also make sure to have “Real Time Protection” enabled, so that it is always keeping an eye on your internet traffic.
There is a wealth of information around the internet when it comes to your security, never be afraid to look around! (After you have that antivirus installed.)