Whether checking Blackboard or scrambling to write a last minute paper, we rely on our computers to go about our daily lives and finish whatever assignments we have. It supports you all throughout the semester, maybe a little slow but otherwise able to do its job, until suddenly something goes wrong and you can't even turn it on. From losing previous data to motherboard damage, I spoke with Christian, head technician at Geek on a Scooter Fixin' Your Computer, and asked what the average college student could do to prevent these issues.
Especially for those working on thesis papers, there is nothing more horrifying than your computer becoming infected with a virus. When I asked what could be done if this happened, he suggested a more proactive approach. "Use the Rule of Three," he said. "If it's important, save it in at least three places." Otherwise known as the 3-2-1 rule, the rule of three recommends utilizing cloud storage sites, flash drives, and emailing copies to yourself regularly. On top of this, he offered a solution to those who didn't use the rule of three as well. "If your work is saved in only on your device, save the project on a fresh flash drive or DVD at once," he recommended. "We discourage saving to the Cloud or emailing it to yourself after infection."
While more commonly discussed, viruses aren't the only potential threats our computers face. Many students use laptops due to their size and portability, but that portability is what makes them so susceptible to damage.
"They are not made to be tossed around, so be careful with them," he warned, "and if your laptop has been sitting in an extremely hot or cold area, allow the device to warm up or cool down to the area you'll be using it in. We've seen many cracked screens from this."
While some physical damage may be more annoying or aesthetically displeasing than an actual problem, such as damaged hinges can lead to long-term issues and expensive repairs. He suggests that carrying it in a bag, not tossing it in the back seat, and leaving it off the ground can help alleviate these risks.
"Where your power cord plugs into the device should be treated with extreme care," he also stressed. Though it looks relatively sturdy, that area could sustain damage and become "wobbly" -- especially if the cord is wrapped around your laptop while it's still plugged in. If damaged, internal components such as the motherboard may become damaged as well, causing a wide range of problems.
"This could [cost] anywhere from $75 to $800 [to repair]," he explained.
While less convenient when running from one class to another, he suggests unplugging the power cord from your laptop and putting it in a bag, making it more portable and less likely to sustain any damage -- and those extra five seconds could save you an entire month's rent.
So play it safe and be overcautious; it's the least expensive and most effective way for the poor college student to keep that computer running until graduation.