Computer Maintenance Tips To Extend PC Life

Save hundreds of dollars, and hours of your time by learning how to properly maintain your computer, so you don’t have to fix it as often.

Maintaining a desktop and laptop computer is very simple and fast, and it will make your computer last longer and perform better.

Maintaining a computer is a lot like maintaining other types of machines, but you also have to maintain the digital files, content, and programs which are stored and run on your computer.

By doing monthly and yearly maintenance on your home computer, your computer also be more optimized and make your computer last many years longer.

You’ll also have more disk space, and be able to read and write files quicker to your hard drive by doing disk cleanups and disk defrags on a monthly basis. Your computer also won’t be slowed down by viruses, and spyware by regularly doing virus scans.

Your computer will run cooler and not overheat because your computer fans and cooling system are running at its best.

Most importantly, your computer will last longer, and have less wear and tear on your computer parts caused by not maintaining your PC on a regular basis.

I personally maintain all my desktop computers on a regular basis, and all my PC are very reliable, and does not overheat.

These days with the amount of software, and tools available for maintaining a computer it makes it incredibly easy to maintain a computer.

Keeping your computer’s operating system running well

Your operating system like Windows, Linux,etc needs regular maintenance for it to run well.

If you own a Windows computer, you should regularly do disk cleanups to remove temp files, defrag your hard drives, scan your hard drives for errors, scan your computer for viruses, spyware and malware with an antivirus, antispyware, and antivirus software once a week. You should also check to see if Windows Update release any updates for your version of Windows to keep Windows updated.

Installing a System Utility Suite like TuneUp Utilities, Norton Utilities, and iolo System Mechanic will make managing your computer’s operating system, Windows’ file system, drives, and programs a lot more easily since they are easy to use, automated, and a lot of time don’t require much user interaction or technical knowledge to properly maintain Windows.

For Linux based operating systems, all you need to do is check for updates for Linux once in a while with the update manager. Linux based operating systems like Ubuntu automatically check your hard drives for error, so manual disk checks are not needed. The Linux file system also does not require disk defrags. The chances of getting infected in Linux are very slim to none, so security scans are not needed as well.

It is a good idea to uninstall programs which you do not use anymore to free up free space on your computer.

Windows System Utility and Disk Defrag Software

System Utility Software makes it easy for you to check to see if your computer’s operating system is healthy, and is error free. If your system utility software finds a problem with your computer’s operating system, it will try to fix the problem for you.

Most System Utility software fix problems related to Windows, temporary files taking up too much space, registry errors, disk fragmentation, computer slow downs, disk errors, registry fragmentation, and broken shortcuts.

Some System Utility software also scans for and remove viruses, spyware, and malware programs on your computer when you run your system utility programs, and warns you if your computer is not secure like if you do not have an anti-virus, or firewall installed on your computer.

System Utility software is great for people who do not have the time to manually maintain their computer since many system utility software automatically maintains your computer, or schedule your computer to perform computer maintenance tasks on a certain date and time.

Disk Defrag software is used to optimize your hard drive performance by organizing your computer files for optimal read and write performance for your hard drive.

Protecting your computer from harmful power surges and spikes.

Computers, and other electronics like TVs, DVD players, home stereos, etc are very sensitive equipment with a lot of circuits, wires, microchips, and other electrical parts which can easily become damage if a power surge, or spike makes it inside your computer via the wall outlet which can have dirty power which contains power surges and spikes.

You need to use a surge protected power bar with a power protection of 400-1000 Joules or more to maintain the power level to prevent sudden power surges from damaging your electronics. If you want to protect your computer from brownouts, power outages, and dips in power as well as surges, you need to buy an Uninterrupted Power Supply also called a UPS which is a Surge protected powerbar with a built-in battery to power your computer when the power goes out.

It is best to buy a surge protector which offers surge protection insurance if your surge protector fails, and a surge damages your electronics. The insurance plan will reimburse the cost of your electronics in the unlikely event your surge protector fails.

A surge protector is very easy to use. You just need to plug it into your power outlet, and plug your computers, printers, monitors, cable modem, routers, TVs, DVD players, and other sensitive devices into them to protect them from surges. A lot of surge protectors also warn you if your power outlet is not properly grounded/wired, and your computer is protected from power surges by showing indicator lights on your surge protector.

It is important to protect your computers and electronics plug into your wall’s power outlets, telephone jack, modems, networking devices, and cable outlets from power surges and spikes with a surge protected power bar or UPS.

If there is a lightning storm, or heavy electrical work going on in your neighborhood, you should unplug all your home electronics and phone from the wall’s power, coax cable/antennae, and telephone outlet. No surge protector can protect your computer from a direct lightning strike, or very high power surge.

Keeping the inside of your computer clean to prevent overheating and short circuits.

If the inside of your computer is clean, you are less likely to experience overheating and short circuits.

One of the major problems with a computer is they overheat because of a failing fan, a fan clogged with dust which can’t spin fast enough or fails to spin, and dust making it harder for your computer to use cool air from outside the case to cool down your PC because the dust creates a dust blanket which acts like an insulator which prevents heat from escaping your computer case by being blown out by your fans.

You should never use a regular household vacuum to suck up the dust since regular vacuums can generate a lot of static electricity which will damage sensitive computer parts inside your computer case.

I recommend using a computer grade vacuum which does not generate static electricity to suck up dust inside your computer. You can also use a can of compress air to blow out the dust from inside your computer.

If you can, it is best to unplug your keyboard, mouse, and external devices, and take your computer outside to clean to avoid breething in the fumes from your compress air canister, or dust from your PC.

To open your computer case, you will either need a flat head or cross head/Philips screwdriver to unscrew the side of your computer case’s door. The screws to open your PC case are usually located at the back of your computer case.

If your computer fan is very dirty, it is best to unscrew your computer fans from the case, and use a vacuum or brush to brush out the fan. However, in many cases using a computer grade vacuum or compress air is good enough.

When cleaning inside of the case, it is best not to touch any of the parts with your fingers, and wear an anti-static wrist strap before cleaning your PC. Also, when using compress air, it is best to use short burst of air to blow out dust from the fan since compress air can cause fans to over spin causing damage to your fan. It is best to hold down the fan, so it does not spin when you blow it.

For cleaning a laptop, netbook, tablet pc, or nettop it is best to bring it to a qualified computer technician to clean since opening a laptops case can be very difficult.

If you want to make your computer not be as dusty as fast, put your PC on on your desk instead of the floor. Also, make sure your computer is located in an area where it has a lot of free space to breathe fresh air. Avoid using your laptop on your lap, floor, bed, or soft surface since soft surfaces will block your cooling vents which will make your PC overheat and suck up more dust from the soft surfaces.

Regularly, vacuuming your floor will prevent your computer from sucking up as much dust during regular use, and using an air filtration/purification system will also reduce the amount of dust in your computer since your computer room’s air will be cleaner with fewer dust particles in the air to be sucked up by your computer fans.

Tools Needed to Open your computer case for cleaning.

Most Computers these days use flat head or cross head philips screw drivers to open a PC case for cleaning. In some rare cases, some computer cases use torx screws or clips to fasten your case door to the case.

Once you unscrew the case’s door screws, push on the case door and slide the door away from the case, but do not lift the door. You may need to apply a lot of presure to take out the doors if they are stuck.

Most inexpensive computer toolkits have all the screwdrivers you need to open most types of desktop computer, and some laptop cases. Opening a laptop computer case can be harder, so if you are not sure how to open one, it is best to hire a qualified computer technician to clean the inside of your laptop’s case.

Computer Vacuums and Cans of Compress air to clean inside your computer.

You can use a computer vacuum or cans of compress air to suck and blow the inside of your computer’s dust out for better cooling.

Canned air or a computer grade vacuum/blower can also be used to blow or suck out dust from your computer keyboard without worrying about the damaging effects of static electricity in house hold vacuums and appliances.

Using an Air Filtration system to clean the air which your computer is located

Air filters remove dust from the air, so less dust gets suck into your computer by your PC fans because the air is cleaner in your computer room.

By cleaning the air in your room which your computer is located in, your computer will breath in less dust which can cause your computer to overheat or short circuit if the dust contains conductive material like metal particles, moisture, etc.

Also, you will breath in less dust when in the computer room of your house.

Preventing your USB ports from wearing out by using a USB Hub.

A USB Hub lets you use multiple USB devices on one USB plug kind of like a Power Bar.

USB Hubs will prevent you from wearing out your front USB ports from regular use since you would use the USB hub to plug your USB devices rather then your front USB port.

Some USB hubs also protect your computer from overcurrent and overvoltage problems which can cause computer problems.

A worn out and broken USB hub is easy to replace vs replacing or repairing your USB plugs built-in to your computer. Many USB hubs also are very durable, so they do not break very easily.

I recommend you get a USB hub with a power adapter to avoid over drawing power from 1 USB port on your computer which your USB plug will be plugged into.

Overheating CPU even after cleaning your fans, and CPU cooler.

Tips for making your CPU even cooler and stop overheating by using better fans, CPU thermal paste, and cooling devices for your CPU.

If you notice your CPU is still overheating even after cleaning your entire computer with compress air or computer vacuum, you may need to replace your CPU fan, or reapply the thermal paste to your computers heatsink and CPU surface to make the surface of the CPU and CPU heatsink have a tight seal for optimal heat removal.

Installing extra fans to the inside of your computer case will also make your computer cooler.

Removing your heatsink, applying thermal paste, reinstalling your CPU fan and heatsink, and installing extra fans to your computer case are not simple to do for the average computer user, so make sure to learn how to do these tasks from a book, video, or website related to these tasks, or just hire someone.

Replacing your flat Hard Drive IDE cables with slim rounded IDE cables for better Air flow

Flat IDE cables on older computers tend to block airflow on smaller computer cases this can cause bad air flow.

IDE cables are used on slower and older hard drives. They are rather big, rectangular, and can make it harder for your computer to move hot air out of your case especially on a smaller computer case, so it is better to use rounded IDE hard drive and Data cables instead of the flat ribbon cable.

You can also can replace your Floppy cable with a rounded slim Floppy cable if your computer still uses a Floppy drive.

How to remove CPU heatsink?

Sometimes, your CPU heatsink can be unseated which causes your computer CPU to overheat, or you need to replace your CPU thermal paste for better cooling.

Typically, you need a flat head screwdriver to pry off the CPU heatsink, or to push down on a lever to release the CPU heatsink from the motherboard CPU socket.

Applying thermal paste to a CPU cooler and install heatsink

Learn how to apply thermal paste to your CPU and heatsink for improve cooling.

It is best to use a small pea size drop on your CPU heatsink and use a credit card, or small plastic scraper to “gently” make sure the CPU has a very thin layer of thermal paste on the CPU’s die.

How to install CPU heatsink and fan?

For some CPU’s you need to use a flathead screwdriver to hook a clip over a few hooks on the CPU die while other CPU heatsinks require you to use screws, and clips to attach the Heatsink to your fan.

Be sure to read your instructions for installing the heatsink on your CPU. Also, remember to plug in the fan to your motherboard’s 3 pin power plug, and the fan is blowing air toward the CPU and not away from the CPU toward the case. There are arrows on the fan’s side to show the airflow direction of the fan.

Replacing your power supply can also extend your PC life.

A lot of power supplys these days come with under powered or poor quality power supplies.

A poor quality power supply produces more heat. use more electricity, and uses poor quality fans to cool your power supply and computer. Some poor quality power supply might even overheat, blow up, or damage your motherboard and other computer components when it blows up. Plus, they might not have enough power to run more powerful video cards, hard drives, and internal computer parts.

A high quality power supply will have enough power to power better video cards, faster hard drives, etc. They also run cooler and are more power efficient up to 80 percent or more. The power is also cleaner then low quality power supplies which might have spikes and surges in the power which can damage your motherboard and computer parts over time.

When buying a high quality power supply buy one which has a power efficiency of 70-80 percent or more efficient. This also means you’ll pay less money on electricity for your computer to run while enjoying the benefits of having a power supply which can provide your PC with clean power and enough power to power your internal PC parts and future computer parts upgrades.

If you notice your current power supply is making weird sounds, or the fan is not spinning then you should replace it since a bad power supply can overheat aand cause a fire or damage your PC.