Cleaning Your Computer Part I : Healthy Body Healthy Mind

Physically cleaning your computer is just as important as keeping the operating system and software up to date. Failure to properly clean your computer can lead to a variety of issues ranging from system slow down to processor failure and data loss. The primary concern with a dirty computer is heat. There are secondary concerns, like your nephew jamming quarters into your DVD slot, but heat is the number one computer killer. Some environmental  influences can’t be avoided so your best weapon against the problem is some regular maintenance.

Rather then put off cleaning until you need a professional repair, take the time to get to know your computer and how to properly keep it clean.

In this four part series we will go over how to clean your computer properly. We will cover cleaning of both Desktop and Laptop computers.

Dirty computers are a leading cause of hardware failure.  Learning how to clean your computer can help prevent costly repair.

Part 1 : How To Clean Your Computer Overview
You are reading it now. Keep going!

Part 2 : External Cleaning
This is a topic everyone will be able to handle. We will cover cleaning your computer as it is. No screws removed no parts exposed. We’ll go over how to clean your computer screen, keyboards, and mice.

Part 3 : Internal Desktop Cleaning
Most people, despite being a little freaked out by seeing circuit boards, can handle cleaning the inside of their computers. We will show you what to clean and what to leave alone.

Part 4 : Internal Laptop Cleaning
We cover the parts of the laptop you can get to without too much work and without exposing to many of the soft tender insides. Don’t worry you can handle it.

Tool Time :

For now though we are going to cover all of the tools you may need. It’s a pretty long list so get a pen and paper … not really … it’s pretty simple. I am going to break down the tools into two categories. Regular and Advanced. Regular is just fine for most people. Advanced is just that but not required.

Windex makes a specialty solution for cleaning your computer

Yes the mightly blue liquid we all know. Name brand or not it serves well as a general computer cleaner. It is non abrasive and leaves little to no residue (streak free!) Regular paper towels as well. Try to avoid 'Shop' towels or the brown ones like you find at your local rest stop. The heavier brown is less refined and more abrasive. If you want to take the easy route you can pick up packs of pre-moistened wipes specifically meant for electronics. Windex makes some but all the brands are pretty much the same. DISCLAIMER: Blue liquid should not contact any electrical components and should only be used for exterior cleaning of plastic/metal.

Cleaning your computer requires compressed air; either a can of compressed air or a full air compressor will do

Air is the most important item for internal cleaning. You can pick up cans of air pretty much anywhere these days including the Supermarket. Get a big can or a pack of cans. A computer in need of serious cleaning may need up to 3 cans if they are small. The advanced alternative is an air compressor and blower attachment. Keep the compressor set BELOW 80 psi.

When cleaning your computer, you will need a screwdriver to access the electronics

Standard phillips screw driver will get you into most desktop computer cases. You may need a smaller one for a laptop. You can also pick up an insulated driver. These are normally used by electricians to insulate them from getting shocked. For computer work though, we are insulating the computer from being shocked by you.

Hands are usually required when cleaning your computer

Hands are important. Have one or two steady ones at the ready. Might want to save the coffee until later. Shaky hands an electronics don't mix.

A vacuum is optional. Big magnet motors and static build up with vacuums can be an issue. If used, it will be mainly for general cleanup and should not be making contact with the computer or components. You can optionally pick up a set of micro attachments that will work with any vacuum. They are help full with small spaces and for cleaning keyboards.

OK. That’s the big list. Grab these tools and you will be ready for the adventures in cleaning to come.

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