Just like your automobile, your PC requires regular service as well – for both software and hardware components. Computers are surprisingly durable, considering the amount of abuse they seem to take. But they don’t operate at optimal efficiency without a little work. Note: none of these tips is a replacement for an annual virus check and tune-up from your local computer repair shop or computer repair professional.
Here are several items that can be done to keep your computer in good working order:
1. Blow out the cooling fan(s). Have you ever noticed a room fan tends to accumulate dust? Your computer fan is no different. There’s a static charge on all fan blades that attracts dust, which is also charged. This dust can easily be removed with a can of compressed air. For a laptop make sure an angle the spray so that dust is not blown back into the computer. For a desktop computer you have to remove the side of the case.
2. Clean the screen. Over time, the grime that accumulates on the screen can scratch the surface. Remember that LCD screens are not made of glass; the exposed surface is actually plastic. The first step is to turn off the laptop or monitor. Then, lightly remove the dust with a microfiber cloth. There are LCD screen cleaning kits available that include cleaning solutions. You can make your own by mixing water and isopropyl alcohol in a 1:1 ratio. Be sure to use a cloth that won’t scratch your screen. Make sure the screen is dry before turning the power back on. If you use a cleaning solution from the store make sure it is mild and do not spray directory on the screen or monitor.
3. Clean your keyboard. All kinds of particulates and dust eventually find its way into your keyboard. You can clean this following the steps below:
• Spray surface dust off with compressed air.
• For a Laptop turn off the computer and clean the key surfaces with a damp cloth. Be wary of harsh cleaners. Some will dissolve plastic.
• Some laptop keyboards have removable keys so be careful not to pop them off. Clean around the keys with an alcohol soaked q-tip swab.
4. Keep your computer cool. Avoid using your laptop or computer in extremely hot conditions. Computers generate a lot of heat themselves so keep them away from the central heat fan exhaust vents or out of rooms that are very hot for some reason.
5. Avoid installing unnecessary software. Try hitting ctrl-alt-del and look at your task manager sometime. It’s amazing how many programs are running in the background and using important system resources. Don’t add to the mess unnecessarily. If you have programs you’re not using, ditch them. Uninstall them from the control panel. If they won’t uninstall and you suspect they are causing dysfunction on your computer see step 7 below.
6. Run system utility programs on a regular basis. Windows has built in utilities to help you keep your computer in tune. You can use the windows defragmentation tool or the disk clean-up utitlity to clean up your computer. And there are programs such as CCleaner from Piriform available that will remove junk files and help you do your own mini computer tune-up. You can download it here.
7. Run a malware program on a regular basis. Viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and so on can wreak havoc on a computer system. Use an anti-malware program on a regular basis. You can download a free one called Malwarebytes here. Note: If your computer is running very slowly you might have a serious virus infection and should seek the assistance of a qualified computer repair shop or computer repair professional for assistance. You can find more informative articles on basic computer service at my blog entitled PC News or on my website.