Have You Made the Switch from Desktop to Laptop? What You Need to Know…

If you're one of the million who have given up bulky desktop computers altogether for the sleeker, lighter, more versatile laptop, there are a few things you should consider if you haven't already.

First, because they are portable and light, laptops aren't inherently as secure as desktop computers when it comes to theft.  And we're not just talking about coffee shops, airports, college campuses, and the passenger seats of cars (which is where most laptops tend to be stolen).  Even if you're in the practice of leaving your laptop on your desk when you go home for the evening, your risking theft should someone break into your office suite or if a door is left unlocked.  The first thing a thief would do is snatch up all the laptops.  They're valuable, they resell easily, and they're easy to remove undetected.

The answer to this problem is simple.  Attach a lockable laptop drawer to your desk.  We found high-quality models at Versa Tables for under $120.  Constructed of steel, these accessories bolt to the under side of almost any desk and allow for a laptop to be retracted under the desktop when not in use, and locked with a key.  The back of the drawer has an opening to allow the laptop to be plugged in and charging overnight.  While occupying your desk, simply pull the drawer out and use the laptop right there—it creates more space on your desk.

Second, back up your files.  Because laptops are mobile, they are at a higher risk of being dropped, kicked when your laptop case is sitting at your feet, or of having something spilled on them.  While the manufacturers of laptops are well aware of this, no piece of computerized machinery is indestructible.  Back up your files more often either by copying them onto a jump drive or by emailing them to yourself.

Third, be sure to have the necessary accessories at your fingertips.  We suggest an extra battery (kept charged), an approved extension cord, and outlet adapters if you plan to travel.  An additional USB cable is always good in case you need to plug into a printer and lightweight headphones will allow you to use your laptop anywhere (and still hear live streaming video or DVDs) while maintaining your privacy and without disturbing others.

The last thing you need to know is that ergonomically, laptops aren't as well-designed as your desktop computer probably was.  With desktops, most people now use keyboard trays that adjust to the comfortable tilt and height for the user and therefore, minimize the risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and other conditions caused by repetitive motion.  Unfortunately, laptops pretty much just rest on your lap and if put on a desk, do not sit at the correct ergonomic height.  Experts predict that with the increased use of laptops, there will be an increase in repetitive motion symptoms and potentially disabling conditions like CTS.  A way to combat this is to use a laptop desk when working at home or the office.  Laptop desks, often referred to as 'Laptop Carts' because of their mobility, are available on the market.  Simply, they are height-adjustable carts designed to hold a laptop and allow the user to sit or stand while using them.  They don't provide the same ergonomic efficiency as a keyboard at a traditional desk, but they're better than flopping down on a sofa and sitting the laptop on your lap or having to reach up to type on the laptop keyboard at a regular desk.