When you first buy a new computer you tend to look at the overall price of the machine, how it performs for the money and what features it has when compared to similarly priced models.

However, are all sorts of extras are often included in the price of a laptop over and above the hardware and software. By law every laptop comes with some sort of warranty that protects you from defects, however the level of protection you get as standard is often much more generous than you are legally entitled to. This is just one of the added value items included in the price.

For example, Dell includes 90 days of free telephone support with each of its laptops. This allows you to get help on just about any topic in the first three months of ownership. It’s likely that in the first few days and weeks of using a new laptop you’re going to have some questions so this is a handy added extra.

In many cases people assume that these help lines are just for when things go wrong or break, but they’re a great resource for finding out how certain features on a laptop work or how to get the best out of each machine. As well as this Dell offers next day support for hardware problems with any new PC, this means that should the hardware in your PC go faulty you’ll never be more than a day without it and the engineer will come to your house to fix any problems. That’s an incredible service when you put it into context - you don’t have to leave your house should something go wrong and within 24 hours a technician will have diagnosed and hopefully, solved your hardware problems.

If you need more help Dell can provide that too with its OnCall Help Plan. For a small fee you can have expert help on hand to fix whatever problems you may be having - day or night no matter what the issue. The service offers support for the serious things like system crashes and security problems to the more everyday things like importing music and backing up your data. Dell has experts on hand to assist with every possible PC-related enquiry. You’ll speak to a human being who can talk you through all the steps in a language that even non-technical people will understand. This sort of service can offer you complete peace of mind when it comes to your computer problems and no matter how they are caused you’ll be sure of a speedy and complete solution.

Lots of PC troubleshooting requires you to be something of an expert, but luckily there are now software packages that can help everybody get to grips with what might be causing your PC to act erratically. Software heath checks scan your system to see what could be troubling your computer. Simply install the program and it runs an extensive suite of tests on your PC. The results vary by package, but as an example the PC Health Check tool supplied by Dell will check for unnecessary start up items, problems with the registry and security vulnerabilities, it will also test your hardware to see where it can be improved or upgraded. Wherever it finds issues there’s a solution provided and if you leave the software running it can continue to alert you to issues and help keep your PC running at its optimum. In many cases the problems will be very easy to fix and in thankfully be automatically sorted by the software.

With a laptop especially you need to take into account the increased risk of accidental damage not to mention that if you let your kids loose on the computer there’s an even higher chance that something could go awry. For this reason you should consider accidental damage protection for your laptop. Many different services are on offer, but they all give you invaluable peace of mind, no matter how your laptop is damaged you’ll know that getting it repaired or, in the worst case, replaced will be simple. Sometimes even theft cover is included in an Accidental Damage Protection support service.

Laptops have become everyday items in the home and office, but underneath they are still quite complex bits of machinery and as such can go wrong from time to time. Making sure you’re protected against any failures is the only way to fully secure your investment. Given the portable nature of the modern laptop it's not unusual to hear of disasters where they’ve been dropped onto concrete or had hot coffee poured over them by accident, so it’s also worth looking at some protection for when your laptop is out and about, accidents can and do happen all the time.

Buying from a larger reputable laptop manufacturer also brings added benefits such as 24-hour, 7 days a week access to technical support. This means you’ll never have to wait for stores to open before you can get the ball rolling on a fix for your problem or booking in a time for an engineer to visit.

The basic warranties you get automatically on new PCs are enough to protect your investment, but it’s seriously worth considering upgrading to give you even more peace of mind. A laptop on the move is a target for thieves, hot drinks and hard surfaces and without some form of insurance against those issues you may not feel comfortable taking your laptop out and about, which is the whole point of buying a portable computer in the first place.

Visit the Dell Tech Zone for more advice on family computing.