Getting the most out of your computer
by Aaron Chatha
So, after months of saving, you finally bought that expensive desktop computer or laptop. It has oodles of power and programs up the wazoo — you know you’re only word processing, yet you’ve never felt more alive. This computer has become like a child to you, but after plunging your credit further into debt just to get it, there are some things you should be mindful of so you don’t turn into a neglectful parent.
You want to do whatever you can to get the most life out of your computer, and that involves more than just the occasional virus scan. Here are some tips to take care of your machine:
Keep an eye on the temperature of your computer. Room temperature, 15-20 degrees, is prime. If the computer is consistently getting too hot — as in, you can’t keep that laptop on your lap or your desktop burns your fingers when you touch it, it may mean you have a problem.
Take it to your manufacturer and get it checked out ASAP. You don’t want your parts to fry. And although it’s better to have your computer cooler than warmer, condensation can build inside which will damage parts if you turn it on. Mostly this is a worry when you first buy your computer.
It’s been sitting in a freezing warehouse for days, so let it sit for a few hours at home and adjust temperature before you power on.
Get a good laptop case
Get a case with a bit of heft to it and maybe some extra padding or rubber on the corners, where you are most likely to bump it. You don’t want to hit a doorframe and suddenly have your hard drive stop working.
Keep your desktop high up
Although some computer aficionados are afraid of static electricity frying their beautiful machines if they leave them on the carpet, a much more common killer is dust. And since gravity affects dust as well, that stuff will tend to build up around your computer. So keep your computer high off the ground, that way you don’t have to clean it as often.
Clean out that dust
Dust in your computer won’t compromise it immediately, but it will have detrimental effects. It’ll hurt your cooling system, coat hard drives and other important components and decrease the overall life of your computer.
Desktop cleaning may seem intimidating, but is actually pretty easy. Grab the manual for your computer and find out how to open the case. This usually involves loosening a few screws and it should slide right off.
Touch as little as possible, grab a can of compressed air (find something that’s moisture-less) and spray in corners where you can see dust buildup.
Try to aim it so that dust blows out, not deeper into your tower. Use short bursts — by no means should you go to town on that dust bunny. Spray into your ports and CD drives as well, and clean your fans. Remember, this PC is your child, so be delicate with it.
For laptops, it’s a bit more complicated. You’re going to have to flip it over and pull out the battery and back panel. Carefully use compressed air to clean it out.
Microsoft recommends that if you keep your computer on the floor, smoke or have pets, clean it out every three months. Otherwise, every eight months should do.