advice for laptop users
Li-Ion battery lifespan?
My mother's laptop battery is showing decreased capacity at 5 years (used it like a desktop).
in contrast, my Nokia BLB-2 Li-Ion cell phone battery lasted 9 years before it died. The few months before it died, the cell phone acted real crazy. new battery fixed the problems.
I since learned it is best to remove the battery from a laptop when you are using it like a desktop and don't intend to charge it.
My advice for laptop users is, if you have a removable battery, and you intend to run like a desktop, remove the battery if your laptop power supply allows this, and then run like a desktop.
I had a laptop or access to a laptop once where one of the batteries went out. I don't think Li-Ion was out yet then, so it was probably NiCd. when it died, no charging was possible, and it was a load/short on the charging system. Today's charging systems may be set up to handle a dead cell hopefully.
Today's charging systems may get hot charging a battery (like my mom's Compaq Presario).
in pretty much every case, except for Toshiba GA-AV600 gaming laptops that are all metal and don't need cooling and are built like a brick, you may want to get a laptop cooler. They are typically USB-driven.
it's cheap insurance against crashes, lockups, and all-around computer weirdness and damage that happens when a laptop gets too hot. a 2-fan may be sufficient, but if you can afford a 3-fan, get one.
if your laptop gets positively molten, I suggest shutting it down and getting a fan with maximum CFM. typically those will have 3 fans I would think (I haven't seen one with 4 yet). don't run your laptop hot.
think logistically. If you use your laptop for work as well as at home, either bring your laptop cooler & USB hub with you, or buy a cooler & USB hub for each location you use your laptop
I also suggest you use a powered USB hub to power the fan to save your USB ports.
save your usb ports!
I also suggest you use a powered USB hub on all your USB devices in order to spare your USB ports (where possible, not all USB devices can be plugged into a hub - read the USB device's manual - MajicJack is one of those).
computer ports cost $400+possible OS(Windows/MacOS) reinstall! (you are replacing the motherboard, and possibly the OS along with the motherboard)
If you have a rigid stick-like USB dongle, invest in a short USB A-to-B extension cable. wrenching on your ports can make them flaky! (this has happened to my mother's laptop)
avoid plugging things into and out of the USB port a lot. too much use can physically weaken the port and make the connection flaky.
use an external monitor and keyboard
after about 5-6 years of flipping of the laptop screen, artifacts may be visible, such as vertical bars on the screen, or in some cases, a silver cloud is visible and the surrounding area is black or something else.
If you get the silver cloud, turning the laptop screen at a certain angle can switch you back to normal visibility again. If that is the case, you have a crack in the video cable and the screen needs to be replaced - suggest you buy an external monitor right away for now if you can't afford the exhorbitant fees for replacing screens (as much as replacing the laptop sometimes).
the choice to replace the screen or the laptop depends largely on whether your data is precious to you. mail? taxes? photos? music? In any case, there is a product from Apricorn.com called EZ Laptop Drive Upgrade which you can plug your old laptop drive into and plug this into your new laptop via a USB port. you just need to have your software installed to make your taxes or itunes or whatever work.