There are many ways in which you can prolong the life of your computer, however – cleaning your computer is by far the most efficient way of making a computer last longer.
When cleaning your beloved computer, you to need to ask yourself a few questions. What it actually is: Laptop or Desktop? What are you going to clean? How are you going to clean it? As with everything you do in life, you have a technique or strategy of how to get the task completed, these strategies or techniques vary depending on what you are doing.
First of all, why are you cleaning it? There is only one answer to this question and that is “because it is dirty” but computers have feelings too! Away from the hardware side, the internal workings of the computer can be generally messy, whether this is because of unwanted files, viruses or bad organisation. The reason why you are cleaning it is to make your computer happy, fast and efficient. Unless of course, you don’t like it… but why would you be reading this if you didn’t, silly!
Next, what are you going to clean? There is no point of “cleaning” your computer if you don’t know what you are actually going to clean. In some cases, you might take a look and think “that’s a shambles” and clean it all. Other times you might see that the fan is a little clogged with dust, so only clean that. Before you start you have to make sure you have the right tools. Yes, tools. Three main tools would be An anti-static brush, Compressed Air and an Earthing Band. The anti-static brush is a must have. A tiny static shock can fry any and all components in your computer – like I said, computers have feelings too. This static shock will deem them useless and in most cases will not be covered under the warranty (if you tell them) as it is a user error. So, static shocks are a no-go! The compressed air is simply to remove the majority of the dust and filth without actually touching the components, it’s safer and easier. Finally, the earthing band. This is so you cannot transfer your static electricity that you have gathered up during the day to your computer. When you clean your computer, make sure to wear one as you may fry everything once again. Now, you may think “is that all you need to clean a computer?!!?!?!?!?”. Yes. Yes, it is. No need fancy tools or equipment, just some patience, and tender loving care. As mentioned before, cleaning is not so much physical when it comes to computers, it’s what is on the inside that counts!
When it comes to cleaning your computer internally, this is all down to you – it is down to you to organise your folders and files. It is also down to you to be careful of what you download and clear up any bad stuff you may download. Anti-virus software helps you keep your computer clean from viruses – investing in these is a must! There are also troubleshooting tools which you can use to clean your computer and speed it up: run the disk defrag tool to speed up your hard drive, the memory diagnostic to see if there are any issues with your RAM. There are many built-in tools to help you keep your computer healthy! What do you gain from cleaning your computer? A speedy machine that gets the job done.
So now you are accustomed to the tools needed. It’s all about the technique, just like Wax on, Wax off. Now, cleaning a laptop and desktop are two very different but not so different things. By this, I mean all components are the same, the process of cleaning is just different.
First, desktops: To clean a desktop it really depends on how confident you are with removing components – you can be daring and dive in, take everything out and give it a spring cleaning. Or you can simply leave all components in and clean like that. Either way, you have to be careful! If you choose to take everything out, make sure you can put everything back in… in the correct places! When taking out the components, make sure to hold them by the sides and try to refrain from touching the surfaces. When holding, give them a little spray with the compressed air and then gently brush off any remaining dust. When it comes to cleaning the fans, try to catch the fan so the air will cause it to spin, this removes the dust a lot easier and blows it away so it doesn’t settle again. Instead of brushing the RAM sticks, blow on them and spray them with compressed air, this is because the little bristles may scratch the chips and break them. Do this with the motherboard too, if there is any dust which is stubborn and protesting to move, then give it a gentle brush. After cleaning the components, give the case a clean too as dust usually settles on the cables and base of the case.
Cleaning laptops are a different story and a lot riskier. You typically shouldn’t need to clean all of the parts the of the laptop as they are quite securely locked down and covered. But the fan and keyboard can easily turn into a mess. To clean the fan just give it a spray with the compressed air, wait a bit and then give it a gentle shake and then rinse and repeat. This will clear out most of the dust. Cleaning the keyboard is pretty simply, just get the air, spray it a bit to get the leftovers of your sandwich out and then once again, shake gently to remove the remaining cookies (and not the computer type!). If you want to you can brush out the packet of biscuits, you had last night but that is entirely up to you! To clean the top of the keys, just get a wet wipe to remove the grease with ease. For those of you who do not use your laptops as a dinner plate, removing any dust or dirt can be easily achieved with exactly the same process!
As mentioned before, there are ways to keep your computer healthy and fast once you have cleaned the physical features. Anti-virus and regular scans will make your computer a happy chap. In addition to this, Disk Defrags will speed up the hard drive and Memory diagnostic tests will help you see if your RAM is working okay. Of course, performance monitor is an ideal way to see if your computer is stressed and event viewer will allow you to see behind the scenes.
And there you have it! The sort of guide about caring for your computer. I hope you can use this as a guideline to caring for your computer, but remember. It is down to you to the dirty work. If you are going to clean it, don’t cut corners! There is no point cleaning just the outside when inside it can be even worse – to make a computer work it needs both parts clean. Just like the Ying needs the Yang.
Lucidica provides London based IT support for businesses