Tips for physical maintenance of your computer
When looking for ways to increase performance on your computer, the most often overlooked aspect is that of physical maintenance. Over time, if a computer is often used but rarely managed, the system slows down and, in extreme cases, will fail all together. Basic physical maintenance will make your computer longer and faster. Just as we need to perform maintenance by going to the dentist, changing the oil in our cars, watering flowers and more, we need to perform maintenance on our computers to keep them in perfect shape.
The most overlooked performance issue, by far, is the location and physical cleanliness of the computer and its surroundings. Dust can (and will) enter computers, and when it does, it can slow down performance, overheat components, cause system crashes, and in extreme cases physical damage to computer hardware can occur, including fire! But before you grab the duster and start opening your computer, it is important to know that the internal components are delicate and require some special attention. Below is a list of appropriate components and cleaning instructions.
Monitor : A monitor will collect some smudges and fingerprints throughout its life. If you are reading this blog there is a good chance of cleaning the screen at least once. While this seems very simple, it is important to use the correct cleaning supplies on the monitors. Normal commercial glass cleaners will destroy the anti-glare coating on many monitors. Use a glass cleaner designed to be safe on monitors and a soft cloth. Always remember to unplug the monitor before spraying liquids on it.
Keyboard - Let's face it, the keyboard is often the dirtiest part of a computer system. The best way to clean a keyboard is to use compressed air to expel debris from underneath the keys. Compressed air can be found in most stores where computers are sold. Gravity also helps with this job if you hold the keyboard with the keys facing the ground while spraying the canned air.
Mouse : While the new optical mouse does not require frequent maintenance, the trackball variety will.
For a trackball-style mouse, simply open the bottom of the mouse, remove the trackball and scrape away any residue or debris that accumulates on the reels inside the mouse. Use caution when removing fluff and excess dirt from the mouse rollers to not put much pressure on them. For a variety optical or laser mouse, a cotton swab moistened with denatured and distilled is opropyl alcohol will do the trick.
Connectors, contacts and wires - If you have a connector or cable that needs cleaning, it is important not to use water. Cleaning electronic components with water can cause rust, corrosion or other damage to the connector or equipment to which it is connected. To clean an electronic contact, use a cotton swab that has been moistened with distilled and denatured isopropyl alcohol. This is what you most commonly see labeled "electronics cleaner" in most stores. Doing so will remove oxidation from the contacts.
Inside the computer case- Far from the eyes, far from the mind! This is the most overlooked (and dangerous) place where dust and dirt can accumulate. Too much dust will often cause slow performance, hardware failure or even an electric fire! It is important to clean the inside of the computer case to maintain good computer performance.
To clean the inside of the computer, use compressed air. Be careful, you may want to complete this hassle outside depending on how much time has passed since the last dusting! Be careful not to touch exposed components or circuits while the computer case is open, as this may give the computer enough shock
. Static electricity can easily destroy the delicate electrical components inside the computer. Said this,
Once your computer is clean inside and out, not only will it look more efficient, but you may also notice a noticeable increase in computer performance!