Even though computer prices have fallen in recent years, they are still expensive enough to merit maintenance.
Computers are like cars. With regular maintenance they will run smoothly for many years.
Maintaining a computer means keeping it clean, backing up important files, and protecting it from bad software known as malware.
Dust, dirt, smoke and general grime can injure electrical components. Dust and dirt can clog the fans that keep the computer system from overheating causing components to malfunction.
Overheating can damage many of the computer’s components. Keeping a computer away from smoke, and having the dust and dirt cleaned out of the computer’s case at least once a year will help.
- Keyboard – unplug the keyboard, turn it upside down to shake out dirt and dust; use a can of compressed air to remove dust between keys; use a non-static cloth and a small amount of rubbing alcohol to gently clean the keys.
- Mouse – unplug the mouse, moisten a non-static cloth with rubbing alcohol to clean the top and bottom of the mouse.
- Monitor – turn the computer off; use a water-moistened anti-static cloth to clean the screen.
- Keep the computer in a well-ventilated area – Remove stacks of papers or books near the computer that restrict airflow in and around the computer.
- Do not use commercial cleaning products on the computer keyboard, mouse, monitor screen or computer case.
- Never spray water, alcohol or any other liquid directly on a computer component.
- After the computer is cleaned and dry, the components can be plugged in.
It’s prudent to back up files from your computer using either an external hard drive or an online backup service.
An external hard drive allows the user to copy the contents of their computer to it. The first back up may take many hours if the computer holds lots of data. Subsequent backups should be scheduled on a monthly basis.
Online backup services also allow users to copy and safely store the contents of their computer. Many online backup services are fee-based. Click below to view a list of free online backup services, provided by About.com:
Unclutter the Clutter
A computer runs faster and smoother if files and folders are kept organized. The clutter of old, unorganized or unwanted files slows down the computer.
At least once a year devote time to deleting unwanted files. This will go a long way to maximizing the computer’s performance.
- Delete Files by dragging them into the Recycle Bin/Trash. When all the unwanted files are moved to the bin, empty the recycle bin. If this task is done weekly, the once-a-year deletion session will be much faster.
- Disk Cleanup (located in the Control Panel) scans the computer for trash, such as temporary files, and identifies them so they can be deleted. This frees up space on the hard drive and helps the computer to run more efficiently. Ideally this task should be performed weekly.
- Disk Defragmenter (located in the Control Panel) finds files that are fragmented then moves the fragments into one location making it easier and faster for the computer to read the files. Ideally this task should be performed monthly.
The best way to detect and avoid computer problems due to malware is to keep the computer updated regularly.
Most computers and programs can be set to provide automatic reminders for programs that need to be updated. Keeping computer software up-to-date fixes bugs and security leaks as well as provides the latest versions of software. Keeping all computer programs updated helps the system to perform optimally.Back to More Information >>