How well do you maintain your computer?

Computer maintenance is important for everyone. Taking care of your computer helps to ensure it runs properly and gives you trouble-free use. Good maintenance practice involves a small number of simple tasks like cleaning your keyboard. How often should you do these tasks will depend on how much the computer is used.

Cleaning your mouse, keyboard, and screen is very simple. Spray a piece of paper towel or lint-free cloth with a light cleaner, such as glass cleaner, and wipe down the surfaces. Do not spray the cleaner on the parts directly. It is usually possible to remove the key caps from a keyboard and wash them separately, for a deep cleaning, if they are extra dirty. Basic maintenance like this can be done often – once a week for computers that are used daily.

Another very important thing to clean is the computer itself, specifically clean the dust out of the computer. Most computers have cooling fans that need to pull air inside to cool hot components and as a result the inside of computers get very dusty. The dust can clog the fans and even cause them to fail. If the components inside the computer fail because of over-heating then it is often very expensive to repair or replace them. Some computers have dust filters which can be removed and cleaned. In general, you can use a can of compressed-air to blow the dust out. We recommend doing this outside as there is often a lot of dust and you do not want to fill the inside of your office or living room with the dust. Using a vacuum is not a good idea – you want to blow the dust out. This goes for laptops and notebooks as well because they also have cooling fans.

Lastly you can do some regular maintenance when the computer is running. You can backup your files or, if you have an automatic backup in place, check that the backup is working. You can check for operating system updates – they are a pain but they will help keep the computer secure against new viruses. And if you have purchased an antivirus you can do a system scan.

There are many “PC Cleaners” or “PC Optimizer” programs which claim to keep your computer running smoothly. We recommend caution when running these programs as they are often malware. They will do a fake scan of your computer and claim it has hundreds or thousands of issues which they can fix. Often times these types of programs just make your computer worse.