A gaming laptop is a powerful little machine. When you have downtime on long traveling journeys or just want the freedom to take your games wherever you please, it’s an expensive investment that’s worth it for the portability. The price point makes it all the more crushing when it starts to slow down, freeze and crash unexpectedly. Nobody wants to drop a couple of grand on a quality gaming laptop only to replace it two or three years down the line.
Thankfully there are ways of avoiding many of the stressors that decrease the lifespan of a good quality gaming laptop. Some may seem like common knowledge while others may be something you haven’t considered. Our laptop maintenance tips and tricks can keep your laptop going for years and years.
Maintain good air circulation
Gaming laptops come with high-performance GPUs and CPUs packed into a small space. For everything to be running fast and smooth, there needs to be good air circulation so nothing inside the machine starts to overheat. Overheating is one of the greatest enemies of the gaming laptop as it will severely affect performance in-game from frame drops to sudden crashes. This can be easily avoided by placing your laptop on a flat, solid surface where air can pass through the machine’s vents. Avoid using your laptop on your bed duvet or cushions that commonly block laptop vents.
Cleaning dust in the fans
When dust and lint start to collect around your laptop’s interior fans it can hinder their ability to draw in air and keep your gaming laptop at an optimal temperature. The only way you can get rid of this is by opening up your laptop and using a can of compressed air to get rid of any dust in your fans. Make sure your laptop is powered down and you remove the battery when unscrewing the bottom of your laptop (Also have a look at the manual and make sure you don’t damage anything that would void your warranty). If all this sounds above your expertise, then asking a friend or paying for a specialist to do it for you is never a bad idea!
Make space on your hard drive
One of the drawbacks of a gaming laptop is the hard drive is very rarely replaceable. In situations like these, having a lot of free space can help speed up your laptop and leave some room for any future game purchases. Uninstalling unused programs, emptying your recycling bin and deleting browser cookies can all help to get a good amount of free space on your hard drive. This can be done quick and easy by performing a Disk Clean-up:
- Navigate to your drive on file explorer and right-click
- Select ‘Properties’
- On the ‘General’ tab and select ‘Disk Clean-up’
For more hard drive space solutions: a free piece of software called TreeSize is also good for going into your various folders and seeing how much overall space they take up which helps for going in and getting rid of any image or video files you may not need anymore. Also having an external hard drive or cloud storage can save you a ton of space and take the weight off of your laptops internal hard drive.
Install antivirus software
One of the more obvious things to keep your gaming laptop in good shape is having decent antivirus software installed. This kind of software prevents and identifies any malware on your system, protects your data and stops slow-down caused by malicious viruses.
Windows 10 comes with its own antivirus software called Windows Defender which should work to catch most regular threats however, speaking from experience, has let some more devious threats fall through the cracks. We recommend a more roving antivirus software like Malwarebytes offers both free and paid premium versions or McAfee which offers a subscription as well as a free trial.
Investing in a VPN
When it comes to protecting your data, public wi-fi can be open grounds for your information to be taken for malicious intent by shady individuals. With a gaming laptop, playing games on the go means you’ll be using public wi-fi more than usual. Investing in a Virtual Private Network (VPN) can be a lifesaver in these situations. A VPN connects to a protected network that keeps your data private and anonymous. It also has the benefit of being able to bypass region restriction for streaming services if you find yourself taking a break from gaming to watch almost anything you can think of. There aren’t any free options for a decent VPN but NordVPN, ExpressVPN and IPVanish are all good choices.
Stop unnecessary startup programs
Ever had your laptop slow to a crawl when simply trying to open a browser or Steam or do any simple action when you first get to your desktop? Having a load of startup processes enabled is the common cause of this ungodly annoying issue. Thankfully it’s so simple to resolve:
- Open ‘Task Manager’
- Navigate to the ‘Startup’ tab
- Here you’ll see a list of programs with startup processes
- Right-click on everyone you don’t want and select ‘Disable’
Using a surge protector
A power surge is when the electrical current from a power outlet suddenly spikes and potentially causes damage to anything connected to it. While the power supply of a laptop can stop the current from badly damaging the laptop itself, you’ll still need to replace your power supply. This can all be avoided by buying a dedicated surge protector that limits the voltage supplied to anything connected to them. More commonly, you can buy power strips with surge protectors installed on them which always come in handy.
Gaming laptops can last a lifetime
By applying some of these tips when looking after your laptop, it can help it to last years beyond what you might have thought it was capable of. There are other easy tips to bear in mind like always carry your gaming laptop in a protective case, keep it away from any liquid, and just don’t drop the thing if you can help it. While new games will come out and your laptop might not meet their requirements, a well-looked after gaming laptop can keep you playing your favorite games for years to come.