Cleaning Computers Can Avoid Long-Term Hassles

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You may do spring and fall cleanings, but chances are your computers get skipped except for a cursory wipe down of the monitors. Computers, like any other piece of equipment or machinery, need to be cleaned inside and out periodically.

Cleaning The Inside

Computers are dust magnets. They suck dust into their internal components, which can act as insulation that traps heat. The circuit boards that dwell inside your computer don’t like heat, which can cut short your computer life. All you need to clean your computer inside is a can of compressed air and a Phillips screwdriver. You can get canned air at Staple’s, Office Depot, and even the grocery store. Before we begin, shut your computer down, turn it off, and unplug the power cord.

Remove the Cabinet Cover

Most covers are held in place by four screws on the backside of your computer. Some models may have them on the side. Remove these screws and slide the cover towards you while facing the front. It will slide off easily. If it seems stuck, more screws may be holding it in place.

image Blow It Out

Before you begin blowing out your computer, you should take it outside and put on a breathing mask to filter out impurities. The dirtiest area of your computer is the fan on the power supply. Spray the fan itself, making it spin. You’ll find it next to the power cord connection. Turn the computer on its side and blow out the internal cabinet. Don’t get the spray nozzle too close to the green circuit boards inside; just close enough to blow the dust out. Once you have completed this, place the cabinet cover back on and secure it with the screws. Reconnect the power cord and restart the computer for the next part of the tune-up.

Why You Need an Internal Clean Up

Your computer does a lot to learn your routines and make life easier for you. In the process of “learning,” a lot of information is stored and kept ready to be used at your fingertips. Every time you visit a website, your computer exchanges information with that site in the form of sharing “cookies.” Let’s say you visit our website, www.lctmag.com, to use for research. Your computer gives our computer a “cookie” which tells us a little about who you are. Our computer hands your computer a “cookie.” Think of our cookie being a file folder full of information that

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will now be laid upon your desk for fast retrieval of information without having to pull the file folder out of the cabinet. Once you have viewed 50 websites, your desk would have 50 folders on it. That needs a clean-up. You don’t want a bunch of clutter laying around. Those cookies and other tidbits of information pile up. This includes storing a record of every website you have visited, every file you have ever downloaded, and many other tiny fragments of information. This all slows your computer down over time.

How To Clean It Up

While you can manually clean your computer, there are many programs like System Mechanic ($40), MyCleanPC ($20), and AVG PC Tune Up ($40) that will quickly clear Internet cookies, browsing sites, your recycle bin, expired cookies, broken registry links, and many other cyber refuse that slows your computer. Once you have run a clean-up program, your computer will run lightning- fast again like the day you bought it.

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