We’re starting a New Year, and even though I wrote this article in December, I’ve been thinking about all of those things I put off in 2013. Exercise more, eat less, learn to play the oboe; the list goes on and on. While I’m not really planning on learning how to play the oboe, I will be trying to take better care of my computer equipment.
If you are at all like me, it is a rare instance where you shut everything down, get out the can of compressed air, and thoroughly dust out your desktop PC. As the purveyor of tech tips for this site, you might expect me to a do a better job keeping my PC free of dust bunnies. There are also numerous sayings about those who can’t, won’t, or don’t end up teaching. I have cleaned my PC at least once already this year, so I am ahead of the game.
With the New Year in mind, and the veritable stack of resolutions you may have to go along with it, this month’s tech tips will be pretty simple: take care of what you have. How? Take a look:
(1) Dust off your PC once in a while. You can buy compressed air at Staples, Office Depot, or even Wal-Mart. You’ll need to open the case to really give it a cleaning and get those dust bunnies out though. It helps to have a Shop Vac or vacuum cleaner with attachment handy while you do this so you don’t choke yourself out with computer lint.
(2) Think about replacing your keyboard. Yep, unless you are someone who enjoys cleaning your keyboard key by key, you may want to invest in a new one if you have never done so before. A keyboard can get pretty dirty if the whole family is using it, and most of us don’t think to clean them. They are pretty cheap these days; certainly cheaper than a trip to the doctor’s. While we might admire your frugality and desire to reuse as much as possible before recycling, you’ll probably be doing the planet more favors by getting ridding of that old germ-vector keyboard!
(3) Inspect your cables. Is it really a good idea to daisy chain two surge protectors that have a computer, two monitors, your home stereo, and a space heater plugged into it? Not at all. If you find yourself plugging everything into one or two outlets, reconsider the way your have your computer room set up. Too much of a load on one outlet can damage equipment and start fires. Also consider adding a fire extinguisher (with a “C” rating for electrical fires) and smoke detector to the room.
(4) Keep the room ventilated. Some desktop PCs can get really warm. If you have a computer you use for gaming, and it has a big power supply and decent graphics card, you may not need a heater in that room during the winter. In the summer it may get downright unpleasant without ventilation and air conditioning flowing into the room. If central cooling is not an option, you can get a standalone fan from any department store for under $20.
There is nothing in this list that should cause your carefully balanced stack of New Year’s promises to tip over like the losing block in a Jenga game. You may already do most of these things. If so, good for you! If not, well, there’s always next year.
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