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Tips to Clean the Inside of Your Computer

Last week we covered cleaning the external portion of your computer.

This month we are going to open it up and clean out the inside. This will be a two-part cleaning.         

1) Clean the inside of the computer case.

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2) Clean your hard drive.

(For PC owners, only. We're PC users. But we'll post a similar article for MACs if someone presents a well-written one for our customers. )

Cleaning the inside of the case. 

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Now we have to be extremely careful. Your computer’s worst enemies are heat, moisture and static electricity. So select a place away from heat and water sources and preferably a place where you will not be standing on carpet. I use my kitchen table.

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There are 2 basic types of computers cases. The first type has Philips head screws, usually 5 or 6. So you will need a Phillips screwdriver to remove them. Remove the screws and slide the case cover off.

The other type is called “Zero Tool” case. There are usually 2 buttons, one on each side of the case, press them in and the case cover will slide off.

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Once you get the cover off, be careful not to touch any of the internal components. You could still have static electricity on you.

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You can purchase a grounding strap from a computer store. I got mine at Radio Shack.

We will only need 2 things to clean out the case, a can of compressed air and a vacuum cleaner.  I use the upholstery crevice cleaner attachment. ( Of course you can purchase a small computer vacuum designed for this at a computer store.)

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Carefully vacuum out any cobwebs and dust from the inside of the computer. Be very careful around the wires and components but try to be as thorough as possible.

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Next, get your can of compressed air. Use it to blow out all the dust that remains. Pay particular attention to the fans inside. The small one is the CPU fan and the larger one circulates air through the computer. (That’s how the dirt got in there.)

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Limit the bursts of compressed air to a few seconds, 5 or less. 

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Once you are satisfied that you got the bulk of it, replace the cover. And we move on to the next step.

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Cleaning your hard drive

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Your computer's hard drive is the 2nd most used component is your system, after the CPU.

It stores your data and your programs. And if that's not enough...it augments your system memory. We'll lighten it's work load by cleaning it up and organizing it.

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1.    Run disk cleanup. ( These PC-based instructions. Sorry for the limitation.) You can access this by clicking on Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Disk Cleanup. If you have more than one hard drive, select the drive you want to run Disk Cleanup on. Default is C: Then click the OK button. The system will scan your hard drive to see what it can remove. In the next window click the OK button.

2.    Remove old programs. You can access this by clicking on Start -> Settings -> Control Panel -> Add/Remove Programs. Browse through the list in the next window and click on the Remove button for any program that you no longer use. Some of them may ask you to reboot to finish the removal process. Wait until you have removed all the programs you are going to remove. Then reboot. This just saves time.

3.    Defragment your hard drive. You can access this by clicking on Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Disk Defragmenter. Select your C drive and click Defragment. Over time, your files get spread out in pieces all over the hard drive. This program just gathers all the pieces and puts them back together.

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There! All Done!

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So why do we do these things? We change the oil in our cars. We change the air filter in our furnace.

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We clean our computers.

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Clean oil in our cars helps the engine work better and makes it last longer. A clean air filter improves air flow and helps the furnace operate more efficiently.

A clean computer will last longer and be more reliable.

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So set up a preventative maintenance plan. Clean your computer at least every 4 months. Defragment your hard drive weekly.

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If you have any questions. Please feel free to email me at:

dwhite@conferencecallsunlimited.com

Dana W. White, MSP, MCSE, SSGT USAF (Ret)

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(Legal disclaimer: We hate adding these. But...these are instructions we use here in the office to minimize our network and workstation problems.  We offer them freely on that basis. We make no warranty other than that for their effectiveness, accuracy, safety, usefulness, appropriateness...etc. We don't want to appear callous. But it's your choice to follow them or not. We hope they're helpful. )

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March 22, 2007 | Permalink

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