Two technicians give their top tips on computer maintenance

With most work being online these days, maintaining a computer is a necessity. Grace Fortier | Photographer

From prosecco to dog pee, Simply Mac technician Samuel Raisor said he’s dealt with all causes of laptop damage. Some of his most frequent customers? Students.

“The majority of instances where things go wrong just happens to be finals week,” Raisor said.

Raisor and another expert in laptop repair, Arron Spears, a technician at the Campus Technology Center, gave their top tips to prevent “90% of laptop emergencies” they see from students on a regular basis.

  • Don’t keep your laptop on your bed

“If you’re doing any sort of heavy, intensive work where the fans kick up, then I wouldn’t use it on the bed,” Raisor said. “The sheets can kind of smother the cooling, so it’ll overheat the computer and can cause a lot of wear over time.”

  • Invest in a surge protector

“We’ve seen, especially in the dorms where the wiring is pretty old, that anytime there’s a big storm, it will short out,” Raisor said.

Baylor also recommends bringing a surge protector when moving into the residence halls.

  • Mac users, don’t set your laptop to automatically update

“The smaller updates are always fine,” Raisor said. “You will want to do those because those will be bug fixes, but if it [the computer] has you go through a whole installer thing where you have to wait an hour to install, definitely don’t do that.”

You know that fan whirring sound coming from a personal computer? It could be a sign that the operating system is a little too new for the computer because of a recent macOS update.

  • Back up your computer regularly

“I do a lot of video work, and there’s a saying that if it doesn’t exist in three places, it doesn’t exist,” Raisor said. “So I have everything stored on my computer, on an external (drive) and in the cloud.”

“iCloud drive is a real-time backup,” Spears said. “A true backup would be to an external drive.”

How often should a laptop be backed up?

For students who use their laptops heavily throughout the semester, Spears suggests backups as often as weekly.

Raisor recommends utilizing the Time Machine feature, which, according to Apple Support, is the backup mechanism of a macOS. Time Machine creates a copy of everything that’s on your computer and can be stored on a single drive.

“If you were to lose your computer and buy a new one, you can just plug in the hard drive, and it’ll clone everything exactly as you had it,” Raisor said. “Almost every single student that comes in does not back up to everything.”

  • Keep liquids away

While this tip might seem obvious, both technicians named water damage as the leading cause of malfunction they see.

“The biggest tip is don’t eat or drink by your computer,” Raisor said.

Raisor said he recalled breaking his mom’s computer after only one drop of water hit its trackpad.

“I felt so bad because she thinks it was a virus, but looking back now, that was definitely my fault,” Raisor said.

The Campus Technology Center is located in the Baylor Bookstore and is open from 7:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.