It’s easy to forget how delicate the inner workings of a computer are. They’re encased in a nondescript box or hidden beneath a keyboard, out of sight and out of mind. But these inner workings control everything about the way your computer functions, and their continued health is dependent on how well you take care of your PC.
There are three basic elements your computer needs in order to thrive:
- Proper ventilation
- Regular maintenance
As long as you keep up with these three elements, your computer should stay in great shape for many years to come. Now let’s go into a little more detail about each one.
Inside your computer, the temperature needs to stay cool in order for things to work properly. The hotter it gets, the slower it will run, and the higher the risk becomes of damaging something important. If too much dust builds up inside, it can clog the fans and coat the electronics, preventing air from circulating properly. If you feel comfortable doing it, opening up your computer every couple of months and using canned air to clean dust off the fans and surfaces can really help preserve your computer’s health.
Keep your desktop computer on a hard surface, and be sure to leave space between vents and the wall, never covering them up by stacking things against them. The same goes for your laptop; if you’re using it directly in your lap, be sure to set it on a hard surface from time to time in order to allow the fan and vents to do their work. If your computer is noisy, it may be due to a clogged or damaged fan–a fairly easy and inexpensive fix, but one that can save you a lot of money in the long run.
Keeping your system updated with the latest software and firmware upgrades will help to protect your computer from security vulnerabilities and other potential issues. The best way to do this is to have automatic updating enabled, but occasionally something (such as malware) can prevent updates from being installed.
Many premium antivirus programs can now check to see if your programs are up to date, and allow you to run the updates through its interface. Some antivirus programs, like Avast! Free Antivirus, include the feature at no additional cost.
In a lot of ways, computers are more like cars than DVD players. Like a car, your computer doesn’t just sit in the driveway (so to speak). You expose it to many different environments through Internet use, and it gets normal wear and tear from the different programs you run.
Performing maintenance like virus scans and malware cleanups is a lot like changing the oil on your car. It’ll run better, longer, and you won’t need to worry about problems building up as a result of neglect. Taking care of the small problems on a regular basis will prevent you from having to shell out the big bucks for larger repairs or even replacement later on down the line.
There’s more to keeping your computer healthy than this, but keeping up with the three basic elements we’ve gone over in this post will go a long way toward ensuring your computer’s continued health and performance. We’ll go into more detail about things like maintenance in the future, so stay tuned.