How To Keep A Cleaner, Longer Running Computer

By: Bill Wallmuller

One of the more neglected aspects of owning a PC is following some simple preventative maintenance procedures. Preventative maintenance procedures are commonly recommended for most all mechanical and technological gadgets.

A regular cleaning on the inside of your PC is of vital importance in increasing the life span of your computer and preventing premature component failure. It does not matter if you own a $500.00 machine or a $5000.00 machine. All will benefit. Keeping a cleaner PC can also go to keeping you PC a faster computer.

Can you honestly say that you remember the last time you did [or ever did] an internal cleaning inside your computer tower? A computer case can collect dirt, dust and other small particulates. If you're an owner of a dog or cat, it's very likely that your computer case may also have a sizable share of animal hair inside. If your PC tower sits on the floor it will increase the likelihood of the above occurring even more.

The cleaning of the inside a computer is a bit more complicated and delicate than you may first believe. Before any opening of the tower for cleaning, it is imperative that you unplug everything... power cord, cable modem or phone line and any ethernet cables. The first thing you should do after opening the computer case is to touch the power supply to discharge any static. Doing this will insure that you and the inside of your PC are at the same voltage and no static electricity will damage fragile components.

If your computer case was built using foam type filters on the fan vents, remove them and gently clean them with a mild dish soap detergent and cold water. Be sure to let the foam filters dry thoroughly before putting them back in place. You may also be able to replace them with a piece of new air-conditioning foam filter cut to size. You can also remove large clumps of dust by vacuuming the fan vents from outside of the case.

It is most important that you take extra care and precautions when vacuuming the inside of a computer case. I cannot emphasize that enough. Do not touch the motherboard or add-in cards. You probably should limit the vacuuming inside the computer case to the base of your tower case and any empty drive bays.

If you decide to use compressed air to help clean out your case, I would wait for a nice dry day and do it outdoors. Do not direct compressed air on any of the cooling fan blades as this may damage them with excessive revolutions per minute.

Last but not least, if not done already, raise the tower to about 5-6 inches off the floor. There are available at computer accessory outlets small bases on rollers that will fit the bill without too much expense. Doing this, will reduce considerably the amount of dust that can get sucked into the fan vents.

Computer Troubleshooting
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