Give your computer a "spring clean".
Like any other household equipment your computer needs a clean-up now and again. There are two kinds of "clean-up" your computer needs. We can do this work for you if you prefer, or you can follow these instructions to do it yourself.
You should never WET electrical equipment - especially your computer. But you can use a cloth dampened with cleaning solution - a few drops of mild detergent in a pint of warm water - to wipe over the outside. And dont use paper towel or tissue - it can be abrasive; a soft microfiber cloth is best.
Clean the hardware
When your computer is turned on it acts like a vacuum cleaner. It sucks air in to keep the working parts cool. And like a vacuum cleaner, the dust and fluff gets trapped inside. Now and again it needs "emptying". On laptops this is a job for a professional - but you can do this yourself for a tower or desktop case. Get your vacuum cleaner ready with hose and nozzle (not brush). A small (1/2 inch or so) paintbrush is also useful.
With your computer turned off and unplugged from the mains do the following:
- Take a damp cloth and wipe over the outside, paying particular attention to the vents and grilles. Then
- Remove both side panels. Usually these are fixed with thumb screws but sometimes you may need a screwdriver.
- Clean the inside of the panels with your damp cloth and put aside to dry.
- Now use your vacuum cleaner nozzle to suck any dirt from inside - DONT TOUCH the parts.
- Take your paintbrush and gently remove dust from all the fan blades and heat sinks, while sucking with the vacuum cleaner nozzle.
- Inside the computer you will find a perforated metal box with lots of wires coming out. This is the power supply. Use your nozzle very close to the box to suck dust from inside.
- Finally, having done a job more careful than thorough, put the side panels back on.
Cleaning a laptop
A laptop will also benefit from cleaning - but here prevention is better than cure - so try not to use it in an area with dust fluff or other contaminants. (I've cleaned a laptop that had been used in a kitchen, and another from a garage. Neither was pretty!)
At no time should you apply pressure to case, keyboard or especially the screen.
You will need - vacuum cleaner, small (eg child's) painbrush, lint-free cloth, container for liquid.
With your laptop turned off and charger unplugged do the following:
- Use your vacuum cleaner nozzle to suck any dirt from the vents - a paintbrush will dislodge the dust and fluff.
- Clean the keyboard. With the laptop open turn it over and gently tap the back to dislodge crud from the keyboard. You can also use a can of compressed air (carefully) to blow particles out.
- Clean the screen - with cleaning solution as above on a cloth and well wrung out. Then wipe dry with another cloth.
- Wipe over the keyboard and surround with cleaning solution on a cloth and well wrung out. Close the laptop.
- Take your damp cloth and wipe over the outside, paying particular attention to the vents and grilles.
Clean the software
- Update and if necessary re-register your anti-virus software and run a thorough scan.
- Backup or copy your user documents - letters, photos, music etc - to a CD, DVD or memory stick.
- In "Backup" create a system image - so any changes can be reinstated if they cause problems.
- Create a system restore point.
- In My Computer Right Click Drive C. Click the tools tab. You will see this image.
- Click "Check Disk". Tick the box that says "fix file system errors" and run. Your computer will need to restart.
- If errors are found you should get professional help.
- Otherwise repeat (3)
- Click the "General" tab and select Disk Cleanup. Run it.
- Look through your files and backup, archive or delete any that are no longer needed.
- In Control Panel, uninstall any old programs that are no longer needed.
- Repeat (3) and click "defragment now". Your computer will need to restart.
Before you do anything else you should:
- Back up important files to CD or DVD. These will need to be scanned for viruses before reinstallation.
- Make sure before cleaning with a damp cloth that the equipment is disconnected from the mains.
- Read the disclaimer.
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