Cleaning Your Computer

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series cleaning

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Is your computer making noises or humming? Is dust collecting visibly on the external fan surface? Is your machine running hot or shutting itself down for no apparent reason? Have you gone more than two months without cleaning your machine? If you have answered yes to any of these questions it may be time to clean your machine.

Dust inside your computer can lead to component failureRead More, fan failure, and slow performance. Keep your machine running smoothly and safely by taking the time to dust the interior. Don’t wait until a fan dies and your machine overheats with possibly irreversible damage to your hard drive, video card or motherboard.

Most people take the maintenance of their software seriously, running virus scans and installing protective software to guard against viruses, malware and trojans. In fact we highly recommend Microsoft Security Essentials to all of our clients which is absolutely free, made to integrate with your Windows operating system and easy to use. But when it comes to the hardware most people do not think about it until it is too late or they are intimidated by the thought of taking their machine apart.

There is no need to be intimidated and maintenance simply does not take that much time. Like any mechanical device, there are some simple maintenance steps you can take to prolong the life of your machine and improve its performance.

As with most electronics, heat is the number one killer of desktop computers and especially laptops. Heat can render a machine useless in no time. A bit of preventative maintenance and proper use can avoid catastrophic breakdown caused by heat or insufficient airflow.

To help prevent mechanical breakdown due to heat be sure your desktop is in a well-ventilated area avoiding those desk cabinets that offer little to no airflow. If the desk cabinet is the only choice for you then add more ventilation by drilling holes in the cabinet with a hole saw attachment or remove the backer board of the desk where your tower will sit. Most backer boards are provided with cut outs that can be easily removed.

To help prevent heat buildup in your laptop, use a laptop cooling pad or simply purchase one of those architects triangular scale rulers and prop your laptop up to allow airflow below your machine. Also avoid using your laptop on blankets, rugs, placemats or clothes. Although it is called a laptop, using it on your lap can prevent proper airflow.

No matter what you do to help prevent heat buildup there is going to be dust and pet hair that collects in your machines air vents and on your machines fans. This needs to be cleaned regularly or the fans will cease and your computer can experience a catastrophic breakdown.

For exterior cleaning of your laptops or desktops, you can find electronics grade compressed air in any of the big box stores. Be careful to follow instructions carefully when using these products and it is recommended that you wear a dust mask especially if you or any one in your family suffers with asthma or allergies.

If you feel comfortable opening your machine then we do recommend the use of the electronics grade compressed air and a soft paintbrush to clean all the components. When using electronics grade compressed air, be sure to hold the can upright as liquid can leak from the nozzle and cause major damage to your components. Also be careful not to allow frost to form on the components as the compressed air is extremely cold. When cleaning your desktop, pay special attention to the power supply and the heat sink fan. The heat sink fan is located above the machines processor and is covered by a collection of metal ridges – you will recognize it immediately when you open your machine.

Using these preventative measures in conjunction with regular cleaning you can prolong the life of your machine and improve its performance. If you need help, seek out a qualified, A+ certified repair shop and they will be happy to help you.

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