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CNCTC Articles - Excellence in IT TRAINING

Cleaning your computer and its parts

by: Vianca C. Villar | 10 Jan, 2010 18:19:32

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Keeping your computers and its parts clean is one sure way of keeping it healthy and running efficiently. Proper maintenance is the key in ensuring your hardware delivers its optimum performance. Let this article teach you a few pointers of the things you need to consider and do to achieve such.
This leads us to our first question, how often should I clean my computer? Answer, it depends on several factors such as location (school, office, industry) users and other external elements like pets and smoke contributing to the amount of dirt your computers collect. Its frequency of cleaning will vary from 6, 8, 7 until 11 months depending on the factors stated above.
Cleaning instructions
As a general rule, never spray or squirt any type of liquid onto your computer as it can cause major damage. During cleaning make sure you turn off you unit, be careful not to adjust any knobs or controls nor disconnect any of the plugs at the back of your computer. You may also use a vacuum to suck up dirt from the outsides of your hardware (case, keyboard). However, if you are to clean its internal components you will need a battery powered vacuum designed to do the job and make sure you do not get any of the inside part/s damp or wet. In cleaning your computer or laptop’s fans it is advisable that you hold the fan or place something in between its blades to prevent it from spinning.
It is best to use a cloth moistened with water or rubbing alcohol the outsides of your computer. As mentioned, you can also use a vacuum but for its internal components a different type of vacuum is required. In addition, cotton or foam (lint-free) swabs can be used.
Tips in keeping computer components dirt-free
Why do we need to keep other components of our computers clean? Here’s why and how you can keep them in good shape.
Case cleaning
The case keeps the appearance of the computer looking new. It can be cleaned with a lint-free cloth dampened with water. For stains, you can add a little household detergent. Do not use a solvent cleaner on plastics. Make sure vents and air holes are hair and dust free by rubbing a cloth.
CD-ROM cleaning
A dirty CD-ROM drive can cause read errors with CD discs causing software installation issues or problems while running the program. During cleaning, it is recommended that you get a CD-ROM drive cleaner available at your local stores. However, you can also use a cloth dampened with water to clean the tray that ejects from the drive but make sure to let it dry before putting it back.
CD / DVD cleaning
Read errors are caused by dirty CDs resulting it to not work at all. It can be cleaned with a normal clean cloth or shirt. The correct manner is to start from the middle of the CD or DVD towards the outside against its tracks.
Hard disk drive cleaning
Marinating a clean hard drive is essential in ensuring your computers run efficiently. Although it cannot be cleaned physically various computer utilities are available to do the job for you.
Headphones cleaning
Headphones need to be cleaned frequently as it prevents the spread of germs and head lice especially, if it has more than user. A cloth moistened with warm water rubbed onto the head and earpieces of the headphones and replacing its cushions can help get it all cleaned. Though, having your own headphones is still the best tip to avoid unwanted germs and parasites.
Keyboard cleaning
Your computer or laptop’s keyboard requires constant cleaning as it collects germs, dust and hair resulting to keyboard malfunction. Most of us clean it by turning it upside down and shaking. However, a better way of doing it is by using compressed/pressurized air contained in a can with a very long nozzle. Aiming the air between the keys blows away all dust and dirt. Also, a vacuum cleaner can be used just make sure that no loose keys can be sucked up.
If liquid is spilt onto the keyboard, turn the computer off immediately and quickly flip the keyboard over preventing the substance from going inside the circuits. While, still upside down shake the keyboard and wipe it with a cloth to help remove residue. After thoroughly wiping the keyboard leave it upside down to dry. If after, reconnecting the keyboard it still does not work it is recommended that it be replaced.
LCD/Monitor cleaning
Dirt, dust, and finger prints often cause computer screens to be difficult to read. It is recommended that a non-rugged microfiber cloth, soft cotton cloth, or Swiffer duster is to be used. If screen is still not clear, a damp cloth with rubbing alcohol or water can be an alternative.
Motherboard cleaning
Particles of cigarette smoke dust, dirt and hair can build up and corrode circuits inside the mother board causing computer problems or lock ups. When cleaning this part, it is advisable that compressed air can be used held in upright position to blow away dirt, dust or hair away from the motherboard. Another option is to use a portable battery powered that can remove these unwanted particles. It is important to note however that a standard electrically powered vacuum is not be used for this purpose.
Mouse cleaning
An optical-mechanical mouse (mouse with a ball) can be difficult to move if not cleaned. To do so, you must first remove its bottom cover in a counterclockwise manner placing two fingers on it and pushing to the arrows’ direction. Once, the cover has rotated, move the mouse in its original position covering mouse’s bottom with one hand as it falls off including the mouse ball. When the mouse’s bottom cover or ball has been detached you can reach into the three rollers within it with your cotton swab, finger or fingernail to clean up collected hair and dirt.
Printer cleaning
A clean printer keeps its good appearance and eliminates germs. To maintain its great shape dampen a cloth with water or rubbing alcohol for wiping the case, buttons or knobs. Still, it is encouraged that you get your printer’s cleaning steps from its manufacturer.
Scanner cleaning
Fingerprints, dust and hair make the scanner dirty causing distortion in images. To ensure that it produces quality outputs it can be wiped clean by a paper towel or cotton cloth sprayed with a window cleaner.
Make sure that you have all of these cleaning instructions carefully followed to maintain your computer, its parts and accessories in good condition. Needless to say, every user has to know the basics in keeping a germ free unit with its components as a way of ensuring that it runs smoothly and efficiently with minimal system interruptions or problems.

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