Furthermore, many people - particularly those who work from home - rely on their computer for important everyday tasks, so any sort of problem or malfunction can be a major headache.

Taking out an extended warranty is always a good idea, but there are several other steps you can take to protect and extend the life of your laptop. Here are five small tips that could deliver big benefits.

Keep food and drink away from your laptop

Spilling any sort of liquid onto your laptop is a nightmare scenario for any regular computer user.

Rather than worrying about potential solutions to this problem, prevent it from occurring in the first place by keeping drinks and any other fluids well clear of your machine.

It is also advisable to keep food away from your laptop. Any small bits of food that fall on your computer can become clogged in small gaps and between the keys, possibly damaging the circuitry if they make their way inside. You will also have to worry about the extremely irritating 'sticky keys' problem.

Install antivirus software

In the internet age, your computer is vulnerable to all sorts of viruses and other online threats, so it is crucial to protect your device and all the information on it with antivirus software.

There are plenty of free options out there, but you might prefer to pay if you want a thorough and comprehensive service.

A particularly nasty virus can render your computer unusable and leave you with the hassle and cost of getting it fixed, so this step really is a no-brainer.

Look into system clean-up software

If you want to get your laptop running as quickly, smoothly and efficiently as possible, it is worth looking into software applications that can help you optimise the performance of your machine.

There are many tools out there designed to get your computer running faster, improve boot times and enhance privacy and security. There are so many different options, in fact, that it is worth doing some research and comparing reviews to determine which is best for you, and what services are able to deliver on their promotional claims.

Transport your laptop carefully

Drops are among the biggest causes of laptop damage, so whenever you are moving your device around, make sure you do it carefully.

Always hold the machine by the base, rather than by the screen. The pressure of your fingers on the screen could damage the display or the hinges that attach it to the base of the computer.

Also, be sure to remove and reinsert power cables and any other leads carefully when moving your laptop.

Switch your laptop off regularly

It is not uncommon for laptops to be left permanently switched on, with the computer going into 'sleep' mode after a period of inactivity.

People who often do this might say it hasn't done their machine any harm, and they may well be right, but there is no doubt that it is worth occasionally shutting your laptop down fully to give it a break.

This will also help you do your bit for the environment by switching the power supply off at the mains.

© Axonn 2015