Preventive maintenance is one of the most ignored aspects of PC ownership, in my opinion. Most people seem to think that the PC doesn't need preventive maintenance, and so you should just use it until it breaks, and then repair or replace it. These people generally find themselves repairing or replacing much sooner than those that take definite steps to avoid difficulties in the first place
Here are some reasons why you should develop a preventive maintenance plan for your computer:
Preventive Maintenance Saves Money: I'm sure we've all heard the old adage "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". It's overused, but it is also true. Avoiding problems with your PC will save you money in the long run, compared with laying out cash for new components or repair jobs.
Preventive Maintenance Saves Time: Saves time?
How can taking two hours a month or whatever to perform maintenance save time?
Simple: because it saves you the much bigger hassles of dealing with system failures and data loss.
Most preventive maintenance procedures are quite simple compared to troubleshooting and repair procedures--now those can really eat up your time at a fantastic rate.
Preventive Maintenance Helps Safeguard Your Data: For most people, the data on the hard disk is more important than the hardware that houses it.
Taking steps to protect this data therefore makes sense, and that is what PM is all about.
Preventive Maintenance Improves Performance:
Some parts of your system will actually degrade in performance over time, and preventive maintenance will help to improve the speed of your system in these respects.
The act of a regularly scheduled check of the computer hardware or software to help ensure it continues to operate properly. Below is a list of some preventive maintenance steps you can take with your computer or computer hardware.
Cleaning your computer hardware. - See below.
Downloading the latest driversfor your hardware.
Downloading the latest updates for your computer software.
Verifying you have the latest anti-virus protection updates on your computer.
Running disk software utilities such as Defrag and ScanDisk on your hard drive.
Deleting unused programs or other files on your computer.
If you don't turn off your computer it may be good to reboot your computer every few months, unless the computer is a critical computer such as a computer server.
"Take good care of your PC, and it will take good care of you."
It's a nice sentiment, but reality is more like "Take good care of your PC, and it won't crash, lose your data, and cost you your job--probably." Follow these steps to stop PC problems before they stop you.
Your PC's two mortal enemies are heat and moisture. Excess heat accelerates the deterioration of the delicate circuits in your system. The most common causes of overheating are dust and dirt: Clogged vents and CPU cooling fans can keep heat-dissipating air from moving through the case, and even a thin coating of dust or dirt can raise the temperature of your machine's components.
Any grime, but especially the residue of cigarette smoke, can corrode exposed metal contacts. That's why it pays to keep your system clean, inside and out.
If your PC resides in a relatively clean, climate-controlled environment, an annual cleaning should be sufficient. But in most real-world locations, such as dusty offices or shop floors, your system may need a cleaning every few months.
All you need are lint-free wipes, a can of compressed air, a few drops of a mild cleaning solution such as Formula 409 or Simple Green in a bowl of water, and an antistatic wrist strap to protect your system when you clean inside the case.
Think Outside the Box
Before you get started cleaning, check around your PC for anything nearby that could raise its temperature (such as a heating duct or sunshine coming through a window). Also clear away anything that might fall on it or make it dirty, such as a bookcase or houseplants.
Always turn off and unplug the system before you clean any of its components. Never apply any liquid directly to a component. Spray or pour the liquid on a lint-free cloth, and wipe the PC with the cloth.
Clean the case: Wipe the case and clear its ventilation ports of any obstructions. Compressed air is great for this, but don't blow dust into the PC or its optical and floppy drives. Keep all cables firmly attached to their connectors on the case.
Maintain your mechanical mouse: When a nonoptical mouse gets dirty, the pointer moves erratically. Unscrew the ring on the bottom of the unit and remove the ball. Then scrape the accumulated gunk off the two plastic rollers that are set 90 degrees apart inside the ball's housing.
Keep a neat keyboard: Turn the keyboard upside down and shake it to clear the crumbs from between the keys. If that doesn't suffice, blast it (briefly) with compressed air. If your keys stick or your keyboard is really dirty, pry the keys off for easier cleaning. Computer shops have special tools for removing keys, but you can also pop them off by using two pencils with broken tips as jumbo tweezers--just be sure to use a soft touch.
Make your monitor sparkle: Wipe the monitor case and clear its vents of obstructions, without pushing dust into the unit. Clean the screen with a standard glass cleaner and a lint-free cloth. If your monitor has a degauss button (look for a small magnet icon), push it to clear magnetic interference. Many LCDs can be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol; check with your LCD manufacturer. Wipe your LCD lightly: The underlying glass is fragile.
Check your power protection: Reseat the cables plugged into your surge protector. Check the unit's warning indicator, if it has one. Surge protectors may power your PC even after being compromised by a voltage spike (making your system susceptible to a second spike). If your power protector doesn't have a warning indicator and your area suffers frequent power outages, replace it with one that has such an indicator and is UL 1449 certified.
Swipe your CD and DVD media: Gently wipe each disc with a moistened, soft cloth. Use a motion that starts at the center of the disc and then moves outward toward the edge. Never wipe a disc in a circular motion.
Computer Preventive Maintenance Schedule
With proper maintenance you can avoid trouble and keep your computer running at peek efficiency. The basic steps are:
Keep your operating system up-to-date with all the latest security releases.
Run an anti-virus program regularly to keep your computer bug free.
Run system utilities regularly to make sure your hardware is operating correctly.
This is a schedule you can use as a guide but is not essential.