A Girl’s Guide to Computer Maintenance

In this day and age, knowing your way around a computer can be a great asset. Unfortunately, not all of us take easily to understanding that magical box under the desk that we call our computer. If you are anything like me, you ignore it completely until it stops working. I can get away with this because I married a computer programmer, but for the rest of the world, the best way to avoid a catastrophic meltdown and the stress of finding someone to repair your computer at a reasonable price is through preventative maintenance. This week I handed my husband a tasty bottle of beer and asked him all of my computer maintenance questions, the following is what I learned.

Hardware Maintenance

  1. turn the computer off
  2. wipe exterior with a dusting cloth
  3. clean removable filters with a can of compressed air or, if possible, wash them with water

    Removable Filter

  4. remove side panel and blow out interior with compressed air, paying close attention to the heat sinks

    Heat Sink

  5. wipe fan blades with the dusting cloth
  6. inspect fans for cracks or chips and spin them to make sure they are working correctly
  7. put side panel back on

Software Maintenance (for Windows)

  1. keep up to date with up-dates
    • use the built in updater that comes with your computer for regularly scheduled updates
    • trust only the updates from your hardware manufacturers and the software brands that you recognize to avoid downloading viruses
  2. use the free anti-virus software made by Microsoft: Microsoft Security Essentials
  3. do a monthly disk clean-up (click start > accessories > system tools > disk cleanup > ok – wait for the program to scan then accept the default selections by clicking ok again)
    • this empties the recycling bin and removes the temporary files that have accrued on your computer from installations and the like
  4. empty the recycling bin regularly