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

  1. Update and if necessary re-register your anti-virus software and run a thorough scan.
  2. Backup or copy your user documents - letters, photos, music etc - to a CD, DVD or memory stick.
  3. In "Backup" create a system image - so any changes can be reinstated if they cause problems.
  4. Create a system restore point.
  5. In My Computer Right Click Drive C. Click the tools tab. You will see this image.
  6. Click "Check Disk". Tick the box that says "fix file system errors" and run. Your computer will need to restart.
  7. If errors are found you should get professional help.
  8. Otherwise repeat (3)
  9. Click the "General" tab and select Disk Cleanup. Run it.
  10. Look through your files and backup, archive or delete any that are no longer needed.
  11. In Control Panel, uninstall any old programs that are no longer needed.
  12. Repeat (3) and click "defragment now". Your computer will need to restart.
disk tools

Preparation:

Before you do anything else you should:

  1. Back up important files to CD or DVD. These will need to be scanned for viruses before reinstallation.
  2. Make sure before cleaning with a damp cloth that the equipment is disconnected from the mains.
  3. Read the disclaimer.

 

Disclaimer

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