Heat, Dust, Dirt and Static Electricity
OK, so I may be a little late on the whole spring cleaning thing, but better late than never as I like to say. On this blog my fellow tech geeks and I have covered many topics, from how to track down a rogue network host, to a review on a new cell phone, but there is one topic we have all overlooked. The physical care?of your computer. I am not talking about how much memory you have, or how big the hard drive is, I mean the real nitty gritty care for your computer.
Heat is the enemy all computer technicians must face. I consider it one of the silent killers in the computer world. I have seen far too many computers fall victim to this common issue, because not enough care was taken to save the computer. Now, I will admit that heat is not normally one of the first things people think of when they get a new computer or laptop, but it's this thought that could save you a lot of money. Processors, memory, hard drives, PCI devicesall of this can be destroyed by an overheating computer. There are a few ways to help protect yourself though:
- The first is to make sure you don't have the computer in some kind of non-vented cabinet. If so, you may want to consider moving it. The heat has nowhere to go except back into the computer to be recycled as more hot air.
- Laptop users make sure you do not surround your laptop with piles of paper and other items; this is basically just insulating the laptop and not allowing it to vent properly.
- If you do not plan to use the computer for a while, try either turning it off, or putting it into a power save mode. This will allow the computer to take a break and cool off for a while.
- Try to avoid having a computer placed right next to a floor heater of any kind as?this will just increase the amount of external heat being taken in by the computer.
With these few simple steps you are on your way to having a cooler safer computer, but there are other issues to look out for, leading me into my next topic.
Dust and Dirt
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying anyone has a dirty house, but it's a fact that dust is everywhere. There is no real way to avoid it. I don't know what it is, but I swear computers live to suck in dirt and dust and just let it sit there. I tend to clean my computer twice a year because I can barely see through the vent fans anymore. Try some of these tips to help out:
- Use a vacuum with?a bristle head to lightly clean the vent fans and the computer case. This also works for laptops. The bristles are a good way to remove loads of dirt and dust and to make sure your computer can vent properly.
- Canned Air is a must for any computer technician, I know we have loads of it at work. You can buy it at any store, really, from Staples to Stop & Shop. Take the computer outside and give it a few good?blasts to loosen any dust that is caked on. Just remember to spray away from you, I always forget that part.
- Pet owners beware! Your pet's fur may be?shedding and finding a new home inside your computer. Pet fur is superb insulation, and can badly damage your machine. I don't know how many fur coats I could have made with pet?fur I've pulled from personal computers. I recommend cleaning every 3 to 4 months or so if you have an animal that sheds.
Static electricty is a major problem for?most electronics. Unfortunately for us humans, we?can carry a?powerful?static charge with us wherever we go. Not many people may know this, but the motherboards on most computers do not sit directly on the side of the case. They are rasied up just a little bit to help in case a static charge runs through the case. Have you ever noticed that new computer parts come in those metallic looking static-free bags? I have two suggestions for this one:
- If you often work?with the insides of computers, you may want to invest in a static charge stopper. This is a small band that connects to your wrist, and has a wire that?clips onto the computer case. In theory, it grounds you to the computer case to stop any wild static discharges.
- My?other suggestion?is to make sure you either touch the side of the computer case, or a close friend to make sure you are not carrying a static charge. Not only will this save you a headache later, you get to give someone a little static shock!
If you take all of these tips and put them into practice, I can honestly say you're likely to?save money?by increasing the lifespan of your computer. A computer is just like anything else from a car to the human body. The more you take care of it, the better it will work and the longer it will last.