Keep it clean!!
Part of the problem with PC service is not only corrupted
software and bad hardware components. It is plain old dust and dirt! Smoking
agrevates the problem because dust adheres more easily to nicotine coated
You would not go for thousands of miles with
your car without checking your oil and water and giving it a good washing
occasionally. The same applies to scheduled PC maintenance. Here are a few
things that should be scheduled depending on the physical environment and
amount of use of your computer. Lets assume an hour a day of usage and
power on for about 3 to 4 hours a day. My personal recommendations would be:
1. Through scandisk once a month. In Windows
9X double click on My Computer then right click (remember last week's tip)
on the C: drive. Left click on properties from the dropdown. In the properties
window for the drive choose the tools tab at the top. From here you can
scandisk and defragment the disk. Note... With Windows XP scandisk is gone
in 'System Tools' but can still be run by looking at properties/tools of
2. Defragment every two to three months from the same
3. Check your Virus Data Files. Even if you have an
automatic updater verify the data file date. Update every two weeks as
a rule of thumb if you are doing it manually with dialup access. This won't
guarantee you won't get a very current virus but you should be pretty well
covered. If you have forgotten for a month or more have the scanner check
the whole drive for dormant viruses that may be hiding and may show their
ugly face later.
4. Now the hard part... Every 6 to 12 months
go out to Staples, WalMart, etc. and get a can of compressed air. Take the
cover off your machine and blow the dust and grime out. Aim directly at the
Processor Fan and make sure it is relatively clean and the fins on the heat
sync are clear of dust and grime. Try not to loosen any of the cables where
they plug to the main board (motherboard) or at the other ends where they
attach to the devices. Make sure the Power Supply Fan and the CPU Fan are
clear. I can't recommend the following but most places do it anyway.
With the case cover off power up the processor unit and make sure the Power
Supply Fan and CPU Fan are running freely so the movement of air is good.
A clogged CPU or Power Supply Fan can kill a system very quickly.
There are lots of other minor maintenance things that
may be done but if you do the above your system will serve you for much
Next week we will touch on some file maintenance ideas
for keeping your system running at peak speed.