What is Laptop: Definition and 281 Discussions

A laptop, laptop computer, or notebook computer is a small, portable personal computer (PC) with a screen and alphanumeric keyboard. These typically have a "clamshell" form factor, typically having the screen mounted on the inside of the upper lid and the keyboard on the inside of the lower lid, although 2-in-1 PCs with a detachable keyboard are often marketed as laptops or as having a "laptop mode." Laptops are folded shut for transportation, and thus are suitable for mobile use. Its name comes from lap, as it was deemed practical to be placed on a person's lap when being used. Today, laptops are the used in a variety of settings, such as at work, in education, for playing games, web browsing, for personal multimedia, and general home computer use.
As of 2021, in American English, the terms laptop computer and notebook computer are used interchangeably; in other dialects of English one or the other may be preferred. The term 'notebook computers' or 'notebooks' originally referred to a specific size of laptop (originally smaller and lighter than mainstream laptops of the time), the terms have come to mean the same thing and notebook no longer refers to any specific size.
Laptops combine all the input/output components and capabilities of a desktop computer, including the display screen, small speakers, a keyboard, data storage device, sometimes an optical disc drive, pointing devices (such as a touchpad or pointing stick), with an operating system, a processor and memory into a single unit. Most modern laptops feature integrated webcams and built-in microphones, while many also have touchscreens. Laptops can be powered either from an internal battery or by an external power supply from an AC adapter. Hardware specifications, such as the processor speed and memory capacity, significantly vary between different types, models and price points.
Design elements, form factor and construction can also vary significantly between models depending on intended use. Examples of specialized models of laptops include rugged notebooks for use in construction or military applications, as well as low production cost laptops such as those from the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) organization, which incorporate features like solar charging and semi-flexible components not found on most laptop computers. Portable computers, which later developed into modern laptops, were originally considered to be a small niche market, mostly for specialized field applications, such as in the military, for accountants, or for traveling sales representatives. As the portable computers evolved into the modern laptop, they became widely used for a variety of purposes.

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  1. Y

    I cannot install Photoshop 6.0 onto my new laptop with Win11

    Any idea how to install Photoshop 6.0 onto my new laptop with Windows 11? I know it's a very old software that I BOUGHT LEGITIMATELY IN THE 90S. I have no problem installing it onto even the Windows 10 computers that was only 2yrs old. I read that people do install in Windows 11, just not...
  2. H

    Why am I blowing a laptop powerpack with dc water pump?

    Hi, I have a water pump rated 12v dc 2.3A. I tried using Microsoft Surface powerpack rated at 15v dc 2.5A to power it. Pump just started pulsing. I removed the water pump and checked the voltage coming out the powerpack and it was fluctuating between 0 and 15v. Thought I had a dud powerpack so...
  3. berkeman

    Strange change in behavior of home/F11 and end/F12 keys on Dell laptop

    The behavior of those two function keys at the top of my Dell Windows 10 laptop recently changed, and I'm trying to figure out how to change it back to normal. At the upper right of my keyboard there are these function keys with 2 functions apiece shown: prtscr/F10 home/F11 end/F12...
  4. Wrichik Basu

    Laptop screen flickering/moving up and down with pink tint

    This problem started around two hours ago while I was watching lectures on YouTube. All of a sudden, the screen started flickering in and out of focus or moving up and down, with a pink shade appearing as soon as it goes out of focus moves up. I tried Updating the NVIDIA drivers from 470 to 510...
  5. kyphysics

    Upgrade Your Laptop: Tips for Buying the Perfect Model for Everyday Use

    Mine is close to 5 years old and I want to buy a new one for: --personal use only --not needed for gaming, but want to do videoconferencing (Zoom) and possibly video editing (YouTube) at decent speed/quality --otherwise, I'll just use it to browse the web, manage finances, e-commerce (Amazon...
  6. Melbourne Guy

    Is My Laptop Ever Truly Powered Down?

    My Dell Latitude laptop has been a little fussy recently when booting with the USB-C / Thunderbolt dock plugged in, causing a few "hold the power button down for thirty seconds" events to restart it. Which led to the errant thought, is it ever actually fully powered down? Or is the power button...
  7. C

    Calculate dimensions of floating laptop stand

    I am planning to build my own laptop stand with an acrylic sheet. The final product should look like the one in the attached image (bottom right) Material: most laptop stands are made with 6mm acrylic thickness, hence this is what I will use. Also I already have this material at home. I am...
  8. kyphysics

    Laptop Battery Dying (78%) - Any Steps to Take?

    Using Google, I've read that laptop batteries naturally die over time. Lots of factors. A big one is heat/overheating. I never turn my laptop off, but will start. I've noticed the battery bar going down the past two months or so from 98% to now 78%. I've taken steps to save my important...
  9. Wrichik Basu

    Bluetooth malfunctioning in Ubuntu 20.04 laptop

    My laptop is running Ubuntu 20.04, always up-to-date. This problem has started very recently. Suppose I connect my Bluetooth earphone to the PC, and start watching some lectures on YouTube. (Internet is provided by USB tethering from Android phone.) Suddenly, the audio on the earphone stops. On...
  10. kyphysics

    Spilled 1/3 bottle water onto table and laptop keyboard area....

    I was reaching for some crackers across the table. My arm tipped over a full opened bottled water that splashed about 1/3 of its contents out of it. Of that 1/3, about 50% got on the table and the other 50% splashed across my laptop's keyboard area. I immediately reached for towels to soak...
  11. D

    Laptop for an ME undergraduate/graduate student

    What are some of the best laptops for mechanical engineering students that are capable of running all the programs for engineering? Keep affordability in mind if possible. :smile:
  12. Y

    How to really erase old files in my laptop?

    Hi I want to give my older 4th gen I5 with windows 10pro to my granddaughter to use, but I have important files that I want to delete PERMANENTLY from the computer. I already deleted into the recycle bin. Then I clear the recycle bin already. What other steps I have to do to ensure the files...
  13. DaveC426913

    What could be causing electric current on my laptop case?

    I thought there was a tiny metal burr on the corner of the lappie, and I kept scraping my forearm across it. Then I thought I had a tiny metal shaving in my skin that I kept brushing on the corner as I typed. Turns out, that little pinprick I'm feeling is electric current. I can only feel it on...
  14. Y

    How can I reset my Windows 10 password without a password reset disk?

    Hi This is really stupid, I have a HP laptop, for the last 4 years, I never have to type any password, just click the icon and go directly to the Windows. This morning, all of a sudden, it require a password. I must have setup the password 4 years ago, I have no idea what it is ( I am not even...
  15. kyphysics

    Could My Laptop Have Overheated?

    It was running slow and I could not left click with the mouse pointer (finger pad button and finger pad tapping area). I mean...it COULD the first minute or so of starting it up. Then after I opened like a browser or what not and 1 minute or so passed, the mouse pointer could still move, but...
  16. P

    What specs should I look for in a laptop

    After completing my sophomore year at college as a Physics major and I realized that the laptop I currently have is not able to keep up with the demand I put it under for school. The laptop I currently have has a <2 hour battery life and has been known to crap out (didn't know how else to...
  17. DaveC426913

    Getting cable TV on my laptop - i.e. sans Internet?

    Long story short: Sister has dial-up internet* on laptop, can't stream movies. Wants receive network cable to her laptop (wired or wireless) so she can watch movies outside without dragging the TV along. (I know it was once possible to buy a video card to slot into a desktop box that would do...
  18. Wrichik Basu

    Specifications for buying a laptop for study and research purposes

    Father was thinking about buying a laptop that I can utilise for my studies. Our PC (windows 7 pro, 32 bit) is proving incapable for much of the software that I would like to have. Being 32-bit, I cannot install latest java and Matlab on it. In addition, if you have a look at this thread (mainly...
  19. fluidistic

    Frustrations with HP Laptop: Unopenable and Slow

    I'd like to share my bit of frustration with a HP laptop. It has a slow 5400 rpm hard disk coupled with a Celeron N2830. While it does any job I ever asked it, the experience of using it was tinted due to its slowness of responsiveness. Booting takes more than 2 minutes, opening Firefox many...
  20. W

    Heat transfer within a laptop computer from CPU and GPU

    Hello all I have a practical question regarding heat transfer within my laptop. My laptop uses a shared-heatpipe design, meaning that my CPU and GPU are connected by a common piece of copper, and then each chip goes off to its own heatsink/fan. While playing games, I was monitoring the...
  21. fluidistic

    What are the top budget-friendly student laptops for under 800 euros in France?

    Hello! I need a new laptop, because my current HP laptop has less than 2 hours of battery life (and is extremely slow due to 5400 rpm HDD and Intel Celeron N2830 processor and has a lot more problems that I won't mention here.) and I need at least 7 hours. Usually the 1st step is to figure out...
  22. Y

    My old laptop fails to connect to the wifi

    Hi While I am working with Norton to fix my other computer, I have to pull out my old laptop to use at the mean time. It fails to connect to my wifi. It was working before two years ago, now it's not working. I open the troubleshoot and it detected that "Windows can't communicate with the...
  23. Y

    My laptop is infected, what should I do?

    Hi I was on Yahoo reading some articles and the screen popped up and said my computer is infected, telling me not to turn off the computer and call Microsoft with some number. Before I can screen capture the message, it disappeared. I have Norton 360, I click the icon to try to do a scan, the...
  24. P

    Programs Completing a Bachelors degree without a laptop?

    Hello PF, Im going through some financial difficulties and i need some money, i have a gaming laptop that i can sell and that would help me greatly. I've been considering buying a 10 inch tablet and save the rest of the money... Has anyone done this? going through a bachelors degree using just...
  25. starstruck_

    Physics undergrad looking to buy a new laptop

    Hey! So, I’m a first year physics student and I’m (finally) getting a new laptop. I bought an acer laptop with 4 GB RAM and dual core processing at the beginning of high school, just something to get me through, but it’s not working for me anymore. It’s super slow, freezes a lot ( I lost a 10...
  26. L

    Can You Upgrade Your Laptop's GPU?

    can anybody please tell me if it is possible to upgrade my computers GPU. just write in the comments if you need info about my pc to detemine it!
  27. D

    Which laptop? Dell XPS 13 vs MBP 13

    I've had this MBP for 7 years now and it's done everything I could've asked of it. Things are starting to slow down now though, and small tasks are taking a good amount of time. I figured with my FAFSA money I would get a new laptop. I'm looking at the Dell XPS 13 and the MBP 13. I've been...
  28. Gjmdp

    Best laptop (fast) under 300$-400$

    I'm about to start a simple project on machine learning and I need a laptop. I've been looking for this on several pages, but I don't really understand much of if. I think for 300$-400$ an intel i5 would fit pretty well or something like that. I don't really care about the graphics or all that...
  29. DaveC426913

    Laptop touchpad gone squirrelly

    I've been using my ASUS X751 for several years and the touchpad it has recently become squirrelly. It's as if the spot where I want the pointer to be (which can be anywhere on the screen) has a virtual magnet, and the pointer itself has a magnet of the same polarity. The pointer is happy to go...
  30. M

    Protecting Your Purchases: Understanding Credit Card Chargeback Policies

    How can we quickly check a second-hand laptop for hardware failures? Are simple softwares enough for this purpose? Another point is that how we can check if it is a theft-good and after buying how can we register it to our property? What documents should we want from sellers? Thank you.
  31. kyphysics

    Laptop for Mobile Internet: Recommendations & Pros/Cons

    I currently use my phone's data plan (T-Mobile) for doing some work on the road, but I have some larger projects coming up that could really benefit from being able to use a laptop. I still can't get used to texting/typing on the ultra small keyboard of a tiny cell phone and hate doing it...
  32. M

    Personal vs. Company-Issued Laptops for Mechanical Engineers: What's the Norm?

    I am planning to buy a new laptop for the fall semester (mechanical engineering, junior year). I was planning to get a workstation that is certified with Inventor, but I have a question to ask. For those who have experience working as a Mechanical Engineer or those who know people working as a...
  33. A

    New laptop recommendations for an ME undergrad

    I'm starting my engineering program (mechanical engineering) this fall 2017. Transfer student, going in as a Junior. That being said I'm looking to buy a new laptop to get me through the prorgan. I currently have a MacBook Pro 2010, no longer good. I'm not familiar with the Microsoft PC world...
  34. jamalkoiyess

    What is the computer hardware needed by a physicist?

    I am looking at desktop and laptop options, but I do not know which will be beneficial to me as a Physics student. I am a sophomore and am looking for something that can last up to 5 years of performance without having to upgrade and also it should fit my needs as a physicist. Since I know so...
  35. cpscdave

    Any issues dual booting a new laptop?

    For work I had to go get a new windows 10 laptop for various reasons. I'd also like to add Ubuntu 16 on it and dual boot. Anyone know of any reasons why this might be a problem? I remember reading a while back concerns about UEFI bios stuff locking up the computer. I'm getting tired...
  36. R

    B Lenovo Thinkpad E460: Ideal Laptop for Research and Code Writing

    Hi, I am starting at a CDT (Integrated MSc, and PhD) next month in Fluid Dynamics, a large part of my work will include running simulations and writing code. I am in need of a new laptop, I am going to dual boot windows and fedora scientific. Between the student discount and mobility of the...
  37. SuperDaniel

    Before buying a new laptop for engineering work....

    Hi guys, I need to buy a new laptop to work, and, after several weeks of research, finally, I have defined two different models. The first one is a Dell Precision 15 7000 http://www.dell.com/us/business/p/precision-m7510-workstation/pd?oc=xctomp751015us_2&model_id=precision-m7510-workstation...
  38. J

    Possible damage to laptop screen

    I know I am going to sound real paranoid with this question, but someone at my house was cleaning up, and they put a couple of textbooks on top of my laptop (the textbooks together weigh maybe 2-3 pounds). It was on top for maybe 15 minutes. I opened up the laptop to see if there was any damage...
  39. P

    Traditional Glossy vs. Modern Matte: Which PC Screen is Superior?

    Which is better: the traditional glossy screen or that newer matte screen?
  40. eme

    Buying New Laptop (Macbook pro vs air)

    Hey, I'm a physics student looking a new laptop. The main uses for the laptop is coding (python, matlab), maybe basic simulations, ocassional gaming (starcraft and hEarth'stone), watch movies and do essays. The simulation part is just basic things, for more complex stuff i have access to a...
  41. S

    Scp in terminal to copy something from my laptop to a server

    Hi I need to copy something from my laptop to a server. I tried using scp filename servername but it didn't work. I asked someone and he said I have to use -P but I don't know how. I tried several ways but all of them give port 22: Connection refused. What can I do? Thank you!
  42. fluidistic

    Windows 10 made a brick out of my laptop

    I bought a laptop about 1.5 years ago with the goal of finishing my studies with it. I didn't mind if it break 1 day after getting my degree, but it just failed about 2 to 3 weeks short. Since I had it, I used to triple boot 2 linux distributions and Windows. I got the upgrade to Windows 10 a...
  43. R

    Technological engravings on Laptop

    What these 4 logos mean on laptop? The second one I think is for functioning of hard disk, third one most of us know is for wifi. I have never seen the first and last symbol before. Anybody having idea what the logos mean?
  44. B

    How can I learn the traits of my laptop without user's guide

    I no longer have the box that my laptop came in or the user's guide that came with it. There used to be a sticker on my laptop that said the types of memory that my laptop has and the CPU, but that sticker is gone now. I would like to learn a few traits about my laptop. First, a quick...
  45. StevieTNZ

    Making Laptop Detect Samsung Tablet

    Hi there I recently acquired a new laptop (Toshiba Satellite P50-C00E). However I am having trouble with it detecting, in My Computer, my Samsung Tab S (yes, it is on). This is when it is connected to the laptop via USB. When I first plugged it into my old laptop (HP Beats Special Edition), the...
  46. R

    Can we use whatsapp on laptop?

    Should we give a number while using it on laptop? What if we create account with our mobile number? In the first place how to get it?
  47. R

    Is there a way to tether mobile's wifi to laptop

    I've seen the vice-versa of it by using a hotspot but when use on mobile it asks for mobile data. Why can't it only share the wifi?
  48. V

    How to connect a sensor to laptop

    Hi, I am retired and work with computer programming as hobby. I wanted to find a way to connect a sensor to my laptop so that I could write a program for it. Example: reading atmospheric radiation levels with some type of sensor connected to my USB port. Could you direct me as to how, or...
  49. CptWhoWent

    Left click on a laptop Touchpad started working after a year

    Hey guys, From the title you probably get the idea about my question as I am so confused. How come a left click of a laptom Touchpad started to work normally after having a problem with it for more than a year? I really hope it is not a short therm thing, as I have no logical explanation for...
  50. Titan97

    CScript.exe opens automatically

    When I switched on my laptop yesterday, a window opened automatically with a name : "C:\Windows\system32\Cscript.exe". It now happens every time I restart my laptop. Is this because of some computer virus or should I just ignore it ? (My laptop is 5 years old and runs on Windows 7 ultimate 32...