Three common laptop problems to look out for

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Laptops are convenient computers, but they do come with their quirks. Here are a few to look out for and what to do if you see them:

Swelling battery: When the battery inside laptops become old or damaged, they can puff up or budge. This can be dangerous overtime. At first this wouldn’t be visually noticeable without opening up the laptop if your battery is inside. However, swelled batteries usually don’t work properly. So, if your laptop has a very short battery life, doesn’t charge, or isn’t working at all, there’s a chance the battery is swelling inside. If that’s the case with your laptop, it’s a good idea to have a computer tech take a look at the battery the next time you have it serviced or checked.

Laptop batteries can swell much larger than their original size where it is noticeable on the exterior. Signs of this can be abnormal mousepad or keyboard operation cause the battery is pushing up, interfering with the mousepad or keys. When a battery gets puffed up enough, it can start to create gaps at the seam where the laptop’s exterior covers meet. If you see this with your laptop, you should get the battery checked as soon as possible. Even though I haven’t seen it myself, batteries can swell to the point where they explode and can cause damage or even a fire.

Loose Hinge: A common issue we see with laptops is physical damage around the hinge area. When there’s damage, you usually notice it too. It may be hard or impossible to close your laptop screen lid.

Usually, the hinge itself is sturdy and fine. But the hinge screws attaching the hinge to the screen lid usually screw into plastic, and that plastic can break apart. Thus, the hinge isn’t held against the lid and usually pulls the bezel around the screen apart from the lid. A similar situation can happen on the other side of the hinge and screws onto the bottom base case of the laptop. In that case, you may start to see a separation of the bottom case from the top cover of the laptop.

If you think your laptop has a physical issue around the hinges, it’s good to get it taken care of sooner than later. If you wait and keep opening and closing the laptop, more damage can be done to the covers, screen, and wires, plus you could lose screws. This all could increase the repair bill.

Overheating: Laptops have all their computer components crammed inside a small place, and those components generate heat. Thus, heat can be more of an issue with laptops than with desktop towers that have more room, ventilation, and cooling fans. Most laptops have a noticeable warmth to them, but you should be more worried if it starts to feel noticeably hotter. If in doubt, have a computer pro like us out to check the exact temperatures.

You shouldn’t place a laptop on a bed, couch, or other soft surface. That can block air vents and prevent the fans from working properly. Try to keep laptops on a hard surface. If you like to use your laptop on soft surfaces, or if heat is a major issue, consider getting a cooling tray. These trays offer a hard surface to place the laptop on and have more fans built in for additional cooling.

Eric Geier is the owner of On Spot Techs, a computer repair and IT services company offering on-site service at homes and businesses in the Dayton and Springfield areas and also a storefront at 4732 S. Dixie Dr. in Moraine. For more information, visit or call 937-315-0286.

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