How to Clean and Maintain Your Computer

Cleaning your computer’s hardware and software is important for a lot of reasons. PHOTO: Polina Zimmerman/Pexels Cleaning your computer’s hardware and software is important for a lot of reasons. PHOTO: Polina Zimmerman/Pexels
<center>Cleaning your computer’s hardware and software is important for a lot of reasons. PHOTO: Polina Zimmerman/Pexels</center>

Today, computers are an essential part of our daily lives, from work to entertainment, and therefore it’s important to keep them clean and well-maintained through regular cleanings, hard drive & software updates, and virus prevention and this will enhance performance, reliability, security, and longevity, among others. Even if you’re not a computer expert at computers these are self-explanatory.

As a user, you ought to know that computers last for about five to eight years when maintained properly, but that lifespan can erode quickly if a user doesn’t take the necessary measures/steps to protect the hardware, according to one estimate. This is why computer maintenance is so important because in the end, doing so can lengthen the lifespan of your PC and it can also help you browse the web or work more safely and entertain yourself as well.

Depending on environmental factors — including whether you have a furry pet — it might be a good idea to schedule cleanups monthly or even annually. How often does it need to be done if you may ask? Well, according to multiple recommendations and suggestions, if you don’t want to hurt your PC’s performance and lifespan with the added stress and heat, give it a good cleaning at least every six months to a year.

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For valuable insights on cleaning and maintaining a computer, and ensuring its optimal performance, see this blog for the latest post that provides strategies for finding the best laptop repair services, offering essential tips for keeping your device in top shape.

Why clean your computer?
  1. Cleaning the hardware can help your computer run more smoothly and extend your computer’s lifespan, which can save time and money when they are damaged.
  2. By cleaning dust out of the fan vents and case, you can help protect the system from overheating and causing permanent damage to the internal parts of your computer and your data.
  3. Cleaning the software helps protect your data. Using an antivirus and regular program updates helps ensure viruses, malware, and cybercriminals stay out of your system.
  4. Delete unused programs, and perform maintenance tasks like defragmenting the hard drive, you help to ensure your computer can save your files without accidentally corrupting them.
  5. To keep your computer tidier, using an external hard drive or cloud-based storage can declutter your computer while helping to keep valuable data safe and secure.
How to clean your computer

Step 1: Hardware | To keep your computer’s hardware in good shape, there are tasks you should add to your list of computer chores. This only has to be done when your computer is turned off and unplugged from power. The only time you will need to have your computer on is when you’re doing the software maintenance part.

Start with wiping off smudges on your computer
Dust off the outside of your computer with a soft dry microfiber cloth. Remove any fingerprints or smudges on the screen and all around the computer. If you want to use cleaning fluid, ask an expert if you’re not sure what to use, or visit a computer store and they will recommend one that’s specifically designed for your monitor. Regular household cleaners are not a good option —so it is best to avoid those and buy cleaning supplies from a computer store.

You can water to wipe away tougher smudges. Don’t pour water on the computer, no, soak a microfiber cloth and use it gently to remove the smudges.

To clean the front and back of your laptop case, use a clean sponge that’s been dipped in mild dish soap and water and wrung out. Rub gently.

Don’t turn on your computer until you’re sure that it is completely dry to avoid any circuits.

Cleaning your keyboard
Pick up your keyboard, turn it over, and gently pat it on the back to dislodge crumbs and other tiny bits of dirt in between the keys. Use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to remove any remaining sticky dirt in between the keys. Gently wiping around the keys can help keep the keys from sticking or failing. If your keyboard is acting up, you may need to open it in order to “deep clean” do this with a guide or ask an expert to help.

Open your computer’s exterior case, and with a can of compressed air, clean the dust buildup out. PHOTO: Anete Lusina/Pexels
Open your computer’s exterior case, and with a can of compressed air, clean the dust buildup out. PHOTO: Anete Lusina/Pexels

Blow dust buildup out of computer vents, fans, and accessories
Open your computer’s exterior case, and with a can of compressed air, clean the dust buildup out of the fan and the case this will prevent your computer from suffocating. Put the case back together and use cotton swabs to pick up any lingering dirt on the fan vents or other small crevices on the outside of the case.

You also can also use a few short bursts of compressed air to dust out your keyboard.

Run check disk tool
To help detect hard drive issues before they lead to other problems, Microsoft Windows provides a Check Disk tool, and Apple should have one as well. The tool scans and repairs issues such as file system errors or bad sectors. The process may take a few hours.

Keep PC ventilated
Maintaining proper airflow inside and outside of your PC is very important. Make sure you have enough space on either side of your PC that’s free of obstructions and as well as below the laptops that have vents underneath. Also, make sure your room is large enough or well-ventilated enough to facilitate good airflow. Another thing to watch is your CPU fan and fan blades. If your processor keeps overheating and forcing your PC to shut down, you may need to upgrade your CPU fan.

Step 2: Software | It is also best to attend to programs that create and store your information and when done properly, it could possibly extend the longevity of your computer.

Get antivirus software
Antivirus software helps prevent viruses and malware from infiltrating your device and messing with your data or stealing information. Paid and free versions of antivirus software are available, and most programs can be set to work automatically in the background. However, we recommend getting the paid versions of the antivirus, security experts frequently suggest popular antivirus programs like McAfee, Norton, and Kaspersky.

Your computer is periodically scanned by an antivirus program, and any potential threats are removed before they can cause any harm.

Update your software and programs
Make sure to update your software. Outdated software can be vulnerable to malware because most updates are created to keep software safe from threats. Downloading and installing the latest versions of your programs might not only protect your computer but can keep it working quickly.

On a weekly basis, check to see if you have updates available.

Declutter your software programs
While you do updates, check to make sure you’re using the programs on your system, and consider deleting any programs and files that are unnecessary. Decluttering helps ensure that your computer doesn’t get bogged down with unnecessary data. It also limits the number of programs malware might “hijack” to gain access to the system.

Clear out the Recycling Bin
Clean out your Recycle Bin because it clogs up space on your hard drive if you don’t clear it out regularly. Before cleaning it out, it is best for you to check the bin for any files that may have accidentally been deleted and clear out the rest.

Remove temporary files
Speed up your system by removing temporary internet files and clearing your Cache. Every browser has a different method for clearing out these cookies. Press the Windows button + R (on windows) >> from the dialog box type %temp% >> select all the files and folders and permanently delete them by pressing Shift + Delete.

On a Mac, to locate the files, you first have to quit all active apps. Then, from the Finder, select Go >> Go to Folder and type in the following path: ~/Library/Caches/. Ether right-click and select Move to Trash or drag and drop them into the Trash. Afterward. empty the Trash — the same way you would when removing any other files – to clear them out of your Mac.

Clean your Windows registry
Your Windows registry is a huge repository that holds details on everything you do on your PC. Making sure it’s clean is worth considering. But proceed with caution. If you make an error while cleaning your registry, you’ll need to reinstall your operating system. Be sure to back up your registry to be safe.

With that done, your computer should pretty much perform better.

Notably, here are some cleaning and maintenance tools you should consider getting;

Apple and Mac cleanup tools: CleanMyMac X Tool, Disk Cleanup Pro Tool, and MacKeeper Tool.
PC and Windows cleanup tools: Windows Disk Cleanup Tool, and Windows Disk Defragmenter Tool.

By following these steps, you can keep your computer clean and well-maintained, which can therefore help it last longer and perform better. We highly recommend getting an expert to do the work for you if you’re not sure of what to do.

ALSO READ: 10 SOFTWARE PROGRAMS THAT ARE CONSIDERED ESSENTIAL FOR ANY COMPUTER

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