PC Maintenance: How to Be Good to Your Computer

Here are 14 ways to treat your PC right, so it treats you in kind.We've all had the urge to throw our misbehaving computer out the window to the street below. There wonders of technology, but they can also be maddening devices, occasionally put here to vex us. Deep down, though, we know the problem is often, well, ourselves. Sometimes you just don't treat the hardware—nor its operating system—the way it should be treated.

It's not like you need to buy it flowers or jewelry, but you do have to pay it some attention. In other words, you need to perform some consistent maintenance for a PC to treat you well in return. Here are 14 things you—or those who torture you most with unnecessary tech support calls—can do to repair your relationship with your computer, starting today.

Remember, some of these tips might sound basic, but they're often ignored. And, hey, everyone has to start somewhere.

1. Fight the Dust
Dust is the ultimate enemy of the innards of the PC, causing heat build up that can result in spontaneous reboots or worse. Buy some canned air (i.e. a gas duster) and make sure to blow out the vents.

2. Stay Off the Floor
We understand that your desk space comes at a premium, but try not to put your PC on the floor. Not only will you avoid the bigger, meaner dust bunnies, but elevation keeps the computer away from overactive feet kicking out the plug, protects it from out of control vacuum cleaner collisions, and guards it from, worst of all, carpet-generated static electricity.

3. Out of the Closet
Some computer furniture features a built-in, hideaway cabinet to store a desktop/tower PC. The computer is not Harry Potter! Do not put it in a closet. Heat build up will kill it and you'll miss out on some great tech wizardry. Let your PC breathe.

4. Don't Mash the Keys
Guess what? Pushing that elevator button multiple times doesn't help. Neither does bashing your keyboard.

5. Stop Having Lunch with YouTube
We've all had to work through lunch, or even just spent our lunch enjoying a little YouTube, so, odds are, the occasional crumb or spilled soda has made its way onto your keyboard and into your laptops. Keep the messes away from your system. Your computer likes you even more.

6. Keep Inputs Clean
Nothing on a computer gets dirtier than your keyboard and mouse—even if you don't eat lunch at your desk. Crud build-up can prevent decent typing or cursor movement. You should clean them with canned air, or even a vacuum with a brush. You could even try the Cyber Clean compound, a goo that pulls off all your germy grossness

7. Shut Down, Don't Power Off
Sorry, computers aren't TVs, and that means when you're done using them, you shouldn't just power them down (or worse, unplug). Until we get the instant on/off computer we all crave, you should follow the proper procedures for shutting down the OS: close all windows, remove CDs/DVDs, Shut Down, and power off.

8. Limit Program Auto-LoadingLots of programs start with Windows, but not all of them should.

9. Wash Windows, Carefully
The window to your Windows is your monitor. Keep in clean and fingerprint free. But don't use actual glass cleaner on an LCD screen unless you like permanent streaks. Use soft cloths like you'd use on eyeglasses for dust, and buy advanced monitor wipes to do any serious cleaning.

10. Defrag Drives
As hard disk drives get bigger and bigger, it may be more important than ever to defragment the contents. This way the computer won't spend all of its time trying to find files spread across the platters.

11. Remove Old Programs
We all occasionally install software we don't use regularly, if at all, in the long run. Those extra programs do more than take up space, they could cause conflicts with other programs.

12. Clean the (OS) Crap
Those uninstalled programs leave stuff in the registry. Couple that with browsers cookies, OS temp files, memory dump files, and file fragments and your drive could be clogged with a whole lot of crap. Run CCleaner (guess what the extra C is for) to excise the unneeded.

13. Got to Sleep (or Hibernate)
It's tempting to let PCs run 24/7, but everything needs to rest occasionally. If you don't want to go through a long startup, at least set your PC to sleep (a power-saving mode) or better yet, hibernate (it saves your work and almost powers off but comes back faster than having to perform a full boot-up).

14. Max Out the RAM
You want your computer to last a long, long time, right? When it starts to feel like its not performing up to snuff, the first thing you should do is increase the amount of RAM to the maximum allowed. It'll add years to your computing.

For those of you who don't want to, can't, or aren't comfortable with some of the maintenanceyour PC should have - please feel free to call us at 815 345 4930 and we'll be happy to do it for you and do it right!