With most households now having at least a couple of home PCs or laptops, it is easy to see where a lot of our money is going. Computers can be a fairly easy to maintain item, but what happens when things go wrong and they start to slow down, or get virus attacks that render them useless. 

Of course, the trick is to have anti-virus software installed as well as to carry out some basic maintenance, but even with these measures in place, things can still fail.

Computers have only a few moving parts, but they tend to be the critical bits – HDD (hard disc drives for file storage) and fans (for cooling) are really all there is, but let’s have a look at what these actually do. 

The HDDs hold all of our software and precious photos and files. There really is nothing that we can do that will affect them physically except drop them on the floor or overheat them, so they tend to last quite well for years.

The fans are another story altogether though. These keep the insides of your computer cool and you would not believe just how difficult that can be for these poor little things! With all of the work your computer electronics are doing, quite a bit of heat is generated, and this brings us to the No.1 natural enemy of the home PC – DUST! Even in the cleanest households, dust exists and thanks to the fans in the computer, it will naturally get sucked right into the case where it will settle on the most convenient surfaces – usually the fan blades and the fins on the heat sinks that help disperse heat from the computer chips. Not only do they settle on the fans etc, but the dust will build up remarkably fast and block off airflow to the fans which will start to cause you some major overheating problems.

When the cooling system fails in your car, the car engine overheats and the car stops. This usually happens at the worst possible time and generally is quite an expensive repair. Computers are like cars in this manner – if the cooling stops working, the components overheat and things go very wrong. 

The bad things that can happen are that your computer’s power supply will fail and it will shut down and not restart, it can shut down because of the built in overheat protection and you can lose files, but the worst thing that can happen is that the built up dust can become a major fire hazard. These can all cost you quite a bit of money to repair if they are allowed to catch you unawares. 

I have heard some horror stories lately from people who have been charged hundreds of dollars for some fairly basic computer repair work that really would have paid for a complete system upgrade, so don’t get caught out! For most home computers, it is recommended that you clean out the case regularly – about once every 12 months is the bare minimum…….you know, change your clocks, change your smoke-alarm battery, clean out the computer case…….not as silly as it sounds.

Don’t be fooled by the fact that you keep your houses clean either because dust is practically invisible until it collects in the same spot for months on end. If you have timber or tiled floors, expect even more, as the movement of people within the home causes the dust to circulate more freely. 

I know I am always shocked at how much dust gets onto the air intakes of our own home PC and I vacuum those every week or so. Cleaning a computer case is fairly easy, but it does involve disconnecting everything from the box, taking it outside and either carefully blowing the dust out with clean air or vacuuming it away with a plastic ended vacuum cleaner nozzle. 

If you are not certain how to get this done, you should get someone to do it for you.

So, if you notice that the computer is slowing down and getting a little hotter than it used to, ask yourself how long it has been sitting in the same spot and do something about getting it made safe and efficient again.

A decent computer check-up service will often include a de-dusting, so book your PCs in soon to have them cleaned up and cleaned out! You will be blown away at just how much dust is actually inside the case, and you will often be surprised at how much better and cooler your computers will run when they are ‘tuned up’ by someone who knows their stuff!

If you are interested in a check-up for your computers and live within 10kms or so from Rowville, contact me today to discuss what is involved as well as a price. You will be surprised just how economical computer maintenance can be. 

Please feel free to get a quote for any other repairs or upgrades too - even if it is to just for some peace of mind!

Regards

Steve

Extensive I.T.