Spring Cleaning for your computers: Hardware

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  • March 26, 2014

Spring is here! Well not the weather part yet, but that won’t stop us from giving you a guide on how to best maintain your computer hardware and software, this post will cover the hardware portion first.

The tools you need:
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Canned Air
  • Soft Cloth
  • Phillips Screwdriver
  • Q-tips
  • Water
  • Mild Dish Soap
  • Some sort of device to remove keys: keycap puller or small flat-head screw driver

Cleaning your Keyboard

You’re touching your keyboard constantly and the amount of build up that ends up on the keyboard can be surprisingly…gross:  according to this article your keyboard is dirtier than your toilet. To remedy this we’re going to need to remove all the key caps by using your key remover device such as a flathead screwdriver. Remove the keys by prying them off individually and letting them soak in a warm and mild soapy solution, this will remove all the gunk that’s been hiding underneath your keyboard all these years. As for the base board, use canned air to spray out all the dust in between the keys and use a Q-tip soaked in rubbing alcohol to disinfect and de-gunk the rows of your keyboard. Putting the keycaps back on the board is a fairly painless process, it’s just a matter of firm pressure to snap them back into place for the smaller keycaps. The larger keys such as the spacebar and shift key might require some coordination with putting re-inserting a thin wire stabilizer brace into a bracket, still fairly painless! Don’t be scared!

Stabilizer Bars

Cleaning your Mouse

Hopefully in 2014 you are no longer using a ball mouse. A simple wipe down with a lint free cloth with some soapy water will get rid of any gunk that has built up on the surface. An alcoholic Q-tip swab on the sensor will ensure that the mouse tracking stays solid and then some canned air to get rid of any debris that might be hiding underneath your mouse buttons. That’s it!

Dusting your fans

Your fans are integral in keeping the temperatures of your PC at a manageable level, high heat can cause disastrous failures that can’t be fixed without buying new hardware. This requires you to open up your case and bring your computer to a well ventilated area — your computer is going to be dusty, very dusty. You’re going to need a screw driver to open up the side panel of your PC in there you should be able to identify a couple of fans:

  1. Case Fans: Fans that are attached to the perimeter of the metal case
  2. Heatsink Fans: Fans that are attached to a component on the motherboard, usually CPU fan and GPU fan.
  3. Power Supply Fan: This fan is inside the metal box in the corner of your case, it’s usually the primary intake of outside air for your case so be sure to get the nozzle of the canned air into the box to dust it out.

Make sure you ground yourself prior to touching anything inside the computer, you can ground yourself by touching a metal part of your PC case if the PC is still plugged in.

Cleaning your Monitor

Get rid of streaks and smudges by using a simple 50/50 solution of warm water and vinegar, applying it lightly to a lint-free cloth and wiping in a consistent circular motion to get rid of any distracting marks. It might be tempting to spray something on to the monitor itself but it is ALWAYS better to moisten the cloth.

Maintaining upkeep on your hardware will result in better performance and reliability. All for a few household items! Stay tuned for our next post where we will cover the software spring cleaning of your computer.

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