Caring for your laptop means more than keeping it in a bag and humping it in every night. It’s an advanced bit of kit, worthy of special care and consideration. That doesn’t mean looking after your laptop is problematic though. Clue yourself up on our ten must-know laptop maintenance tips, and we’ll keep your portable in perfect running order

1) Avoid dust at all costs
Dust is a laptop’s arch-rival, it’ll work its way inside the chassis and risks clogging fans and overheating your PC’s components. There are a few simple steps you can take to reduce the chances of dust finding its way into your computer though.

The easiest is to keep it safely hidden in a case or sleeve when not in use. If dust does work its way inside though, you can blast it free using a small can of compressed air, available from computer stores.

2) Use proper cleaning materials
Some laptop owners use household cleaners to give their PC a fresh sheen, but it’s an unwise move and could risk ruining that precious PC. Standard household cleaners can be damaging and dangerous to delicate screen coverings, and risk marring the plastic shells of portable computers too.

Resist the urge to use whatever’s already in the cleaning cupboard, and always use specific screen cleaners. They’re available as sprays or wipes. In a pinch you can use a damp lint-free cloth, but be aware that you’ll find it hard to attain a streak-free finish, especially on screens coated with plastic rather than glass.

3) Keep your laptop cool
Laptops generate a surprising amount of heat, and are engineered to extremely tight thermal tolerances. That means even the shortest period of lengthy heat can harm them. To best take care of your laptop keep it out of direct sunlight and away from heaters or radiators.

4) Beware of protruding connectors
Your laptop’s most vulnerable spot is also its most frequently used: the sockets along its side. USB, audio and network connectors will all jut out of its edge, making them prone to knocks and nudges.

Be careful though, since a sharp problem won’t just yank your accessory free from its socket, it could also damage the socket and the circuit board it’s connected to.

5) No smoking please!
If you smoke near your laptop, it’ll breathe in the same chemicals you do, and they’re just as bad for its health.

Over time the noxious fumes from cigarettes can clog up the innards of your PC. It’s almost as fast to cause damage as dust, so for the sake of your computer, and your own health, kick the habit!

6) If you can’t stand the heat..

Similar to smoke particles from nicotine junkies, those who use their laptop in the kitchen will find its sensitive air vents and fans get clogged much quicker.

Mid-air particles, moisture and more nauseatingly, grease, will soon find their way inside your computer if it’s used in the kitchen. What’s more, cleaning out the gunk afterward can be a tricky and time consuming process, often needing the attention of a professional.

The simplest solution is not to let your laptop venture into the kitchen in the first place.

7) Protect the power socket
Trailing cables can be easily yanked free from your computer, and the laptop’s power cord is a prime candidate for unintentional pulling.

Always stash it away neatly, to avoid passers-by tripping over it, but if it absolutely must snake across the floor try looping it around a table leg before plugging it into your PC. That way, any sharp yanks will be made to the table, not your valuable computer.

8) Pick a laptop with shock protection
Increasingly, laptops come with built-in shock protection. Many Toshiba PCs branded with EasyGuard certification have this feature, and are able to park the hard drive’s moving head as soon as they sense movement.

The result is a computer that’ll take a tumble, and live to tell the tale. If your laptop doesn’t have hard drive protection, you’ll need to be extra vigilant.

9) Stay  of viruses
The best form of laptop maintenance is averting any damage or wear taking place in the first place. We’ve covered that with cases, cable management and shock protection, but what about the software? Viruses are rife online, and as soon as your PC hooks up to the internet, it’s at risk.

Luckily, most Toshiba laptops come with Internet Security installed. You’ll find 30 days of free protection included, which you can extend to keep your computer completely virus free for life.

10) Backup your files regularly
This maintenance tip might not solve any problems straight away, but it’s the handiest insurance measure you have against an accident or virus wiping your data.

There are lots of ways to backup your files, from DVDs and Blu-ray discs to external hard drives, and more commonly used online backup services.