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Cleaning Your PC
Make your old computer useful again.
By Mike Nadelman, president of Advanced Computer Solutions July 23, 2001
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Related Articles · Clean Your PC · How to Clean Your Mouse · Maintain Your PC's Health Question: My old PC is in the basement. It's not that old -- it's a Pentium -- but I have a new one. Should I bother keeping the old one?
Answer: If you clean it, you can use it as one of the following:
An Internet weather station. A home automation controller. A security system. A voicemail system.
When should a PC be cleaned?
Your PC should be cleaned if it meets one of the following conditions:
You don't feel any airflow passing through the power supply fan. You haven't cleaned your PC in more than a year, or -- if your PC sits on the floor -- you haven't cleaned it in more than six months. Your CPU temperature program tells you your CPU is getting too hot. (Your motherboard should have come with a CPU temperature program. If it didn't, then I recommend the program HMonitor Pro 18.104.22.168. You can get it as a 30-day trial. It can be found here.) You get a used PC but don't know its condition. (In this case, you'll also need to reinstall programs you want to use. You might also want to reinstall your programs if the system is corrupted with lots of old programs you no longer use. It's usually better to start with a fresh operating system by reformatting the drive in these cases.)
How to clean your PC
We use these tools:
Mechanical cleanup tools:
Simple Green or Fantastic cleaner Windex or window cleaner Alcohol Canned air (preferably the 360-degree noncondensation type can) Goof off cleaner Lithium grease Lightweight machine oil with a syringe type tip Tie wraps (small and medium size) Long cotton swabs or Q-Tips Fiberglas Ink eraser or standard ink eraser No. 2 Philips screwdriver Flat-head screwdriver Jeweler's screwdrivers
Operating systems and keys Utilities Norton System Works 2001 with the current antivirus definitions Hardware testing utility such as CPU Doctor
This is what we clean:
Keyboards, mice, CD-ROM drives. Fans. You can also fix fans using a razor blade and light viscosity oil. Memory contacts. You can clean memory contacts with an ink eraser or fiberglass brush. (This is especially important if your memory chips are gold-plated but your main board has tin contacts.)
Follow these safety tips when cleaning:
Unplug power cords before opening the power supply or even the outside case. Back up important data before starting your cleaning. Be careful when removing circuit and memory cards. Memory sockets and card slots can be easily damaged. Static electricity may be a problem. How do you know when to worry about static electricity? If your hair frizzes up, or if you've got lots of carpeting and sparks fly on the doorknobs, then you should take precautions. Spray your carpet with fabric softener to neutralize the static. And before you begin work on your PC, put on a wrist strap or a metallic-style wristwatch with a wire to the case of the PC. Keep your computer stable. Most PCs these days are tower-type units. We always lay them flat on their sides before opening them. They are much more physically stable that way and they won't fall over.
Replacing components might be less troublesome than fixing them. Components you might want to replace include the hard disk, floppy drive, keyboard, and mouse. You might want to skip replacing old-style memory chips, the main board, and the processor since the replacements will likely cost more than the system itself.
-- Anonymous, July 24, 2001