For Seniors: How to Protect Your Laptop from Damage or Theft

Your laptop’s portability is probably the feature that appealed to you most when you bought it, but that feature can also be its worse downfall. Thieves can steal your laptop, or you can drop it in an instance. Fortunately, you can protect your laptop from damage or sense by taking some common-sense precautions.

Because you can’t prevent each and every possible disaster, always back up your data so that you don’t lose it and consider getting insurance for your laptop.

  • Use a lock to deter thieves. When you travel with your laptop, you may have to leave it alone occasionally — perhaps in a cubicle in a branch office or a table at an Internet café while you step away to grab your latte. When that happens, a lock that you clip to your laptop (usually on the back or side, identified by a lock icon) and wrap around a table or desk leg may make you feel more secure.

    Don’t count on a laptop lock for a lengthy absence. They’re relatively easy to circumvent.

    Locks are relatively cheap, from about $5 to $30 or so. They’re also usually pretty easy to tuck into a laptop case without adding much bulk.

  • Utilize a fingerprint reader. Fingerprint readers use biometric technology that identifies you by a unique physical characteristic. Many laptops even include a built-in fingerprint reader for security, which keeps anybody but you from accessing data on your laptop. Some fingerprint readers allow you to log in to your laptop by simply swiping your finger over the reader, and some can also store passwords for your online accounts.

    If your laptop doesn’t have a built-in fingerprint reader, you can buy an external model (from about $40 to $200).

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  • Protect your laptop from damage. A well-made laptop case helps protect the laptop in the case of a fall and from things falling on it. Look for one with both good padding and slots for USB sticks and cords and DVDs, a power cord, and possibly a fingerprint reader or lock.

    Your laptop screen is one of its biggest vulnerabilities. If it gets scratched or damaged in some way, short of attaching an external monitor (which doesn’t do you much good if you’re on a plane), your laptop is pretty much a goner. You can buy a fairly low-cost screen protector, a thin sheet of plastic that you place across your monitor that can help prevent scratches and keep your screen clean.

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