I'm going to be taking a laptop computer with me to Europe. I don't plan on using it on the flight. Would it be better for me to place it in my checked suitcase, or to carry it on anyway?
Unless you want to risk breakage or losing it, carry it on.
In addition to the risk of the laptops being stolen or damaged in a checked bag, TSA rules prohibit lithium batteries in checked bags.
"...The TSA does not prohibit laptops...."
I never said the TSA prohibits Laptops, I said "...TSA rules prohibit lithium batteries in checked bags...."
If your laptop is valuable to you, then carry it on.
A co-worker of mine gate-checked a laptop when getting on one of those small regional jets. She never saw it again.
I agree with the other posters. The risks of checking your laptop are much greater than taking it as a carryon. When you carry it onboard, it will be in your possession and you will have control over what happens to it. You won't have that if you check it.