MobileTech

Laptop care and repair

Laptops are fragile machines and when something goes wrong they can be expensive to fix, so what can you do to lower your overall repair costs? First and foremost is educating your workforce on care and transport. When handing a machine to a new employee, affix a sticker to the shell with safety tips. Such a list can serve as a constant reminder of steps they can take to keep their laptop safe.

Popular tips you can include:

  • Avoid eating or drinking directly over the laptop. Place beverages at a reasonable distance so they do not spill onto the machine.

  • Place the laptop on a solid surface away from the edge of a table or desk.

  • Store your laptop at room temperature. Avoid hot or cold environments that may cause condensation once the machine is moved.

  • When flying always bring the laptop along as carry-on luggage to avoid the rough and tumble treatment it would get as checked luggage. If airlines restrictions prohibit it as carry-on, store the machine in a locked down case and not loose within your luggage.

  • If your laptop does get soaked from a spill, disconnect it from the power source and any external devices. Dry it off with a lint-free cloth. If you use a blow dryer set it on the coolest setting possible and keep it at a reasonable distance from the machine. For soda spills, first use a damp cloth to wipe away any stickiness, and then dry.

In addition to the sticker, provide your workforce with a highly durable and padded carrying case. Employees are more likely to use a traveling case if one is readily available. It also reduces the risk of them using a case without the proper insulation or support. For the office, offer fully-stocked docking stations with monitor, mouse and keyboard attachments. This will reduce any unnecessary wear and tear on the machine when it is not in transit and preserve the picture quality on the screen.

But what do you do when all that fails and you still have to deal with the cost of a broken laptop? One service you can consider is Accidental Damage Protection Service or ADPS. This is a program devised by manufacturers and service providers that adds a layer of protection to product warranties.

Warranties only cover defective parts but ADPS takes an extra step by covering any accidental damage the user may have inflicted including, say, a coffee spill or a cracked screen. Typical notebook repair from such damage can cost in the range of $1000 but with ADPS you can lower your average repair fee to about $200.

A wide variety of brands and independent vendors offer ADPS agreements. Laptops, Tablet PCs and some high-end PDAs can all be covered under an ADPS plan. However, it is best to first conduct a risk-assessment on your devices to determine which products you want covered. An ADPS agreement will only be worthwhile for products that have a probable likelihood of sustaining damage so consider the conditions the devices will be exposed at the home, the office and on the road. A general rule of thumb is that the more a device travels from one location to another, the more likely that it will get damaged. It is why this type of agreement is essential if you are a company with a large mobile workforce.

The terms and conditions of your ADPS plan also should be reviewed carefully to ensure the service meets your needs. Engage your main IT provider to help better understand your agreement's fine print. Such agreements can vary by manufacturer. A standard exception in most ADPS plans is data recovery. An ADPS plan typically will cover repair or replacement of a damaged hard drive, but it will not recover the data contained on that drive. Third party data recovery services can be purchased separately from your ADPS warranty. It also pays to keep a log of all warranty expiration dates. Manufacturers typically do not allow repairs outside of the agreed upon timeframe.

About the author: Carrie Wachob is a senior technology services specialist who has been with CDW Corp. for eight years. She helps customers protect their technology investments with in-depth information on OEM services such as warranties, service-level upgrades and extensions. Wachob is a member of the CDW technology services specialty team, one of 10 CDW specialty teams in areas including storage, servers and security that help customers design, evaluate and purchase IT products and services.

About CDW, ranked No. 343 on the FORTUNE 500, is a leading provider of technology solutions for business, government and education. CDW is a principal source of technology products and services including top name brands such as Acer, Adobe, Apple, Cisco, HP, IBM, Lenovo, Microsoft, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, Symantec, Toshiba and Viewsonic.

This was first published in August 2006

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