Cleanup for Computer Components
Spring is giving way to summer, so while you finish up your spring cleaning list, consider adding your computer to it. Towers, monitors, screens, and keyboards can quickly collect dust, and as devices that we use for several hours on a daily basis and may share with family members or coworkers, some basic cleaning every few months is highly warranted. Follow these tips below on cleanup for your laptop or desktop.
To clean the tower/exterior: Wipe down the exterior of the tower or laptop with disinfectant wipes. Use a cotton swab (Q-tip) dipped in rubbing alcohol to run along the openings (ports, vents), then swipe again with the dry end.
To clean the tower interior: For the inside of the tower or any laptop, it’s best to leave opening it up to an expert. If you do open the computer, make sure that you wear gloves or an anti-static band to create an anti-static environment. Static is an invisible force that can cause major problems with motherboards and inner components of a computer. Static exposure could completely damage your motherboard in literally one or two seconds! Also, make sure that in opening your tower you are not voiding a warranty.
Interior clean-up can be kept to every six to eight months, unless you have pets that shed a lot, smoke, or keep the tower on the floor, in which case every three to four months is better. Dust, pet fur, and food may clog up the vents, which could cause the computer to overheat, so pay special attention in cleaning those areas. Overheated computers become slow and sluggish. Be careful in using compressed air inside the tower, as it could dislodge components or effect a sudden, extreme change in temperature that might compromise those components, especially after using the computer. At PC Ninja, we use a small hand vac, vacuuming gently around the internal parts, not directly on them.
To clean the monitor screen: Slightly dampen a soft, lint-free cloth (like a microfiber cloth) and gently slide back and forth across the screen. Be aware, that some wipes or other cloths can leave a residue when you clean or wear away the film on a display.
To clean a keyboard: Turn the keyboard upside down and gently shake it to cause most of the crumbs and dust to fall out. Take a can of compressed air (which you can purchase at an office supply store) and blow into and around the keys. Next, take a cotton swab and dip it in rubbing alcohol so that it is slightly damp. Run the swab around the outside of each key and the tops of the keys. Cleanup as needed.
-To clean a trackpad: If your laptop has a touchpad, use the damp swap to wipe it clean. Do this keyboard cleanup monthly.
To clean a mouse: Disconnect the mouse from your computer. Rub the top and bottom of your mouse with a paper towel dipped in rubbing alcohol. Scrape grime with your fingernail. If you have an optical mouse, ensure that no lint or other debris obscures the light-emitting lens on the underside of the mouse.
-For an optical mouse: If you use a mechanical mouse, open the underside and remove the ball. Wash the ball with water, and let it air dry. For the inside, dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and rub all of the interior components. Finally, blow compressed air into the opening and ensure that the interior is dry. Replace the ball and the cover. Also clean the mouse monthly.
When it comes to internal cleanup for computer—cookies, temporary folders, unnecessary files, etc.—let PC Ninja play machine maid and spruce up your laptop or desktop with our Ten-Point Tune-Up. Maybe there’s malware or viruses lurking in the background, unbeknownst to you. We’ll exterminate those bugs and other unnecessary files, as well as making other beneficial adjustments and updates.
(As discussed on WEEU broadcast 5/16/13.)