Fall Cleaning Includes Cleaning Your Computer...Inside and Out!

Cleaning your Computer

Monday, September 24, 2018/Categories: Residential, Tech Gadgets & Tips

 

Does your computer look like it has seen better days? If you shook your keyboard, would crumbs fall out? 

Don’t worry. That makes you just like the rest of us hard-working folk who eat lunch over our computers and rarely take time to clean the keyboard. Or the screen.

Or worry much about old files that are taking up valuable memory space, either.

Fear not.

We’ve got tips to help you clean your computer, inside and out, just in time for fall cleaning.

Tools You Need to Clean Your Computer

Cleaning your computer might take a few hours, but the productivity you gain will be worth it.

First, gather a few items to make it easier.

Get out that can of compressed air, a handful of microfiber cloths, isopropyl alcohol or store-bought screen cleaner, and a few cotton swabs.

Step 1: Clean Your System Unit

Before you embark on this adventure, power down your system unit. Then, unplug it from the outlet.

Cleaning your computer while it is turned on or even plugged in can damage your electronics.

Then, use your can of air to blow off any dust or cobwebs. If you store your system unit under a desk, you might be surprised by what has collected there.

With that first layer of dust gone, dampen a microfiber cloth and rub the computer case clean. Move carefully so you don’t get water in the USB ports or memory card slots.

For particularly tough dirt and stains, you can use isopropyl alcohol on the cloth instead of water. Just make sure the fabric is only lightly dampened so it doesn’t drip.

Step 2: Clean Your Keyboard

Our keyboard is the victim of all our spills, drops, and fingerprints. Of all the components of your Mac and PC, it probably needs the most TLC.

Use compressed air to spray any dirt, dust, and food particles out from between the keys. (If you don’t have a can of air handy, you can use a plastic straw to blow out the dirt in the same way.)

Then, use the microfiber cloth, lightly dampened with isopropyl alcohol, and rub it gently over the keyboard. If you’re cleaning a laptop, take this opportunity to wipe the entire case, except the screen, with the same cloth.

To remove stubborn dirt, take a cotton swab and dip it in alcohol. Run the cotton swab over the spaces between the keys for a shiny keyboard.

Step 3: Clean Your Screen

If your screen is covered with fingerprints, dust, or everyday dirt that makes it more difficult for you to see, a cleaning is long overdue.

Use a microfiber cloth, dampened with distilled water or store-bought screen cleaner, and rub the screen clean from edge to edge using circular motions until there are no more fingerprints or streaks present.

It really is as simple as that. You may want to take this step every week or so to improve your visibility and productivity. Who wants to view spreadsheets—or even cat videos—on a dirty screen?

Step 4: Clean Your Mouse

If your computer uses an optical mouse, you can use a microfiber cloth and rubbing alcohol to clean it all over. Use a cotton swab to get between the seams and buttons.

Step 5: Maximize Your Computer’s Performance by Clearing Out Old Files

Boost your computer’s speed by deleting old files. After you plug your computer back in and turn it on, go to “settings,” click “apps,” and then click “apps and features.” Click any apps you don’t use and choose “uninstall.” Avoid deleting apps that start with the word “Windows” or your computer’s brand name, as those may be important for system operation or software upgrades.

Finally, run the Disc Cleanup utility to delete temporary files and other unnecessary, system-generated files that may be slowing down your computer. You can clear between 50 and 100 MB or more of space running this utility.

Once you’re done, reboot your computer for all changes to take effect.

Maintenance Is Key

You did it! You successfully cleaned your computer, inside and out. Do this every few months to keep your computer looking—and operating—its best.

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