Computer maintenance can save you a ton of money. Let me prove it with a simple formula: the cost of your computer per year equals cost of your computer divided by the number of years you keep it. If you keep a $1,000 computer for five years, the cost per year is $200. But if you don’t maintain your computer and it dies after three years, the cost is over $333 per year. Computer maintenance doesn’t require any advanced knowledge or skill. We have free tutorials, including a many computer maintenance videos on maintaining both the software side of the computer and the hardware side. This tutorial covers a bit of both.
If you can use a screwdriver, you can do everything in this article. And, best of all, you can do everything listed here in just a few minutes.
The Really Easy Computer Maintenance
One really easy, really great way to prolong the life of your computer is to turn it off when you’re not using it. Not only does this make your computer last longer, but it lowers your power bill. Turing your computer back on every time you want to use it can be a pain, so here’s a simple trick: use your computer’s hibernate function. It’s listed on the menu that appears when you tell your computer to shutdown. Instead of shutting down your computer the regular way, hibernate saves the data from all of the running programs on your computer (including Windows) onto your hard drive. Then when you start the computer back up the next time, Windows copies all of the saved information back into active memory so everything on you computer appears exactly as it was before. (When I say exactly, I mean exactly—if you pay close attention when your computer starts back up, the clock will show the old time for a few seconds until it updates to the correct time.) You can get the most out of hibernate by setting your computer to automatically hibernate when you’re not using it anymore. Just go into the screensaver settings, open the power saving tab, and choose hibernate after 30 minutes of inactivity.
An Absolutely Necessary Piece Of Equipment
The number one destroyer of desktop computers is lightning. Lightning doesn’t have to hit your computer directly to destroy it—it can hit any nearby power line. It can even hit near the power line and cause what scientists call a sympathetic surge—perhaps because you’ll want sympathy for your destroyed computer. The good news is that a [easyazon-link asin=”B003SWDA4A” locale=”us”]$10 surge protector[/easyazon-link] you can buy at your local supermarket or office supply store can save your computer from all but a direct lightning strike—and if your computer sits more than a few feet back from the window, a direct strike is highly unlikely.
Save Your Monitor
The cost of your computer includes the cost of your monitor or monitors. Today’s larger monitors cost more of your money and so you should take computer maintenance steps to prevent them too from dying prematurely. My advice for monitors is almost exactly the same advice I have for computers—turn them off when you’re not using them. That means you should turn off your screensaver—modern screensavers are really screen destroyers. Modern LCD screens fail in two ways: catastrophically when the light bulb behind the screen fails, rendering the whole screen dark, and pixel by pixel when various parts of your screen get stuck into a particular color. The chances of getting either of these problems can be reduced by using your screen less, and that means not using your screen for screensavers. To turn off your screensaver, go to the screen saver settings and change the Screensaver option to Disabled. Then go to the setting that says Turn Off Monitor When Idle and change it to five minutes—or two minutes if you want a little extra lifetime.
Computer Heat Stroke
Your computer gets really hot—hot enough to burn your finger (as I’ve burned mine). All of that heat is really bad for the fine, precision electronics in your computer. But your computer is designed to deal with it—unless it gets worse; unless your computer gets hotter than it should. For example, most computers slowly collect dust. That’s because the fans which keep the computer cool move a lot of air through the case, and that air contains dust. Dust is a huge problem in houses which include smokers or tree and plant pollen. When the dust gets in your computer, it builds up on top of electronics, trapping in the heat until parts of your computer actually start to fuse together.
Cleaning out dust from your computer is a simple as opening it up once or twice a year and using a can of compressed air to clean off all the parts. It doesn’t need to be perfect—just blow out any large piles of dust. You should also be careful using your computer in any overly hot room. The hotter the air in the room, the less heat the air can absorb from your computer. In my experience, most computers stop working when the temperature climbs above 35 Celsius or 110 Fahrenheit. Note that you don’t want to sit around and wait for your computer to fail in the heat. Every time your computer fails from overheating, there’s a chance for a small bit of permanent damage. This permanent damage can build up over time and cause your computer to die prematurely.
The last heat-related way your computer can die early is a fan failure. Most computers include between two and five fans, and each of them is typically essential. If they stop working, the hot air in your computer can’t get out quickly enough for the computer parts to cool down. In almost all cases, fans start making groaning and other sounds in the weeks and months before they die. If you hear these sounds, first use some more compressed air to clean the fan—sometimes the problem is just dust related. If the noises persist, take your computer to a repair shop; fans are usually cheap and the work is easy, so you should get a good price for this essential computer maintenance.
Removing Junk Files
Removing old programs and junk files is the biggest offender when it comes to killing your computer before its time. Yes these seem like harmless files building up on your computer, and they usually are but when there are too many that is when the problems occur.
Here is an old computer maintenance video that could bore you to death. (sorry)
Install a program to do it all for you!
Many people are still not sure if it is safe to remove temporary internet files from their computers or do manual computer maintenance. I understand this so for those people I would recommend software to do the job for them.
A software program will not upgrade your memory or clean out dust for you but it will clean out all the junk files, detect Malware, delete unused registry keys, Automatic Driver updates, and more. At the moment I am using PC Matic to maintain everything for me. This software is amazing and has won a number of top awards. You can get a free scan for your computer to see how it works before you buy.