Michael Horowitz
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[Formatted for Printing] From the personal web site of  Michael Horowitz
Buying and Owning a Laptop Computer
 The class is currently not scheduled 

Laptop computers differ from full size machines in many important ways, not the least of which is expense. Spend your money wisely, learn both what to look for when purchasing a laptop computer and ownership tips and guidelines.

Purchasing: The first class topic is "Do you really need a laptop computer?" and covers small form factor machines and assorted problems inherent in all laptops. Then there is an overview of the various types of laptop computers. Next we review return policies, prices, buying new vs. refurbished and warranties. Turning to hardware, the class covers issues specific to laptops regarding RAM, the hard disk and the processor. What to look for when buying an LCD screen is a large topic. The purchasing part of the class ends with an overview of 20 other features relevant to a new laptop computer. 

Owning: The ownership tips include testing the hardware in your new laptop, caring for and adjusting the LCD screen, surge protectors and UPSs and dealing with heat. Perhaps the biggest ownership issue is just keeping the computer, laptops are stolen more often than desktops. Learn about the best data backup options for laptop computers so you don't lose your data along with the machine. We also cover preventing the theft in the first place, how to secure the computer so that if it is stolen no one can access Windows or your files and software to aid in recovering the computer after a theft.

Students receive an 95 page handout so they can listen rather than take notes during the class. 

The handout has two appendices. The first covers a whole host of Gizmos that can be used with a laptop computer. Among these are  portable printers, portable wireless networking devices, external batteries, add-on sound cards and stereo speakers, memory card readers, cigarette lighter power adapters, making free conference calls while traveling and much more. The second appendix covers different approaches for email while traveling. 

The mantra of the class is "Only buy a laptop computer that you can return for a full refund". There are many reasons for this, come hear them for yourself.

The class is three to four hours. There are no pre-requisites.  Related links are below.

Class Topics

    • Tablet and Small Form Factor Computers
    • Some Gotchas With Laptops
    • Return Policies and Price
    • New vs. Refurbished
    • Warranty
    • Buying an LCD Screen
    • Bad Pixels
    • Text Size
    • More Issues With LCD Screens
    • LCD Screen Technical Specs
    • RAM (Memory)
    • Hard Disk
    • Laptop Hard Disk Backups (Important!)
    • Laptop Processors
    • Ultra Portable and Ruggedized Laptops
    • Optical Drives
    • Other Features To Consider When Buying
    • Initial Checks
    • Heat
    • Hard Disk
    • Surge Protectors
    • Batteries
    • Assorted Ownership Tips
    • Testing an LCD Screen
    • Enlarging Text
    • ClearType
    • Saving and Cleaning the Screen
    • Not Traveling With a Laptop
    • Carrying Bags
    • Backups Using Online Storage
    • Backups Using Thumb Drives
    • Backups Using External Hard Disks
    • Preventing theft
    • BIOS Security
    • WiFi Security
    • Windows Based Security
    • Thumb Drive Based Security
    • Mark the Computer As Yours
    • After a Laptop Theft
    • Phone Home
    • Sound
    • Portable Printers
    • Wireless Networking Gizmos
    • Flash Memory Card Readers
    • Free Conference Calls
    • Assorted Gizmos
    • Webmail and Popcorn
    • Other Approaches


Links and Articles

Topics Below: Buying a laptop | Processors | Backup Hardware | Security | Owning | Monitors | Gizmos | Rugged

Buying a Laptop

Laptop Processors (CPUs)

Small and Portable Backup Hardware

Owning a Laptop



Laptop Security 

Rugged Features in IBM ThinkPads 

Ruggedized Laptops 


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 michael at michaelhorowitz.com   Last Updated: March 19, 2007  
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