Protecting Your Computer From Physical and Systemic Damage
Summary: This 3-minute article explores how you can seriously damage your computer through neglect and lack of ongoing maintenance. Learn best practices for protecting your computer system and all its devices. For a detailed analysis, contact GEEKAID Computer and Network Support at https://www.geek-aid.com/ to discuss the best IT maintenance solutions for you, your business and all its connected devices.
Prevent and Protect
The life span of a computer often depends on how it’s maintained. Unfortunately, many users are not diligent in the care of their devices. In fact, users often ignore warning signs of breakdowns to come and simple computer care best practices can increase the longevity of the machine and avoid costly computer repairs:
- Cleaning and Dusting – Over time, accumulated dust, dirt, pet hair and the like will slow the cooling fans on your computers and eventually cause more severe problems to arise. For example, dirt and crumbs into your keyboard will cause the keys to malfunction and internal dust and debris can lead to internal electrical shorts. Also, it is not wise to leave a computer on the floor because it is easier for more dirt to get in.
- When cleaning the monitor screen, do not spray directly onto the surface. Instead, spray onto a microfiber cloth and gently clean the screen with the cloth.
- Don’t Ignore Over-Heating Devices – An overheated computer can be overworked and slow down. Left unattended, your fans, processors and batteries (for laptops) can malfunction and burn out. Always try to use desktop computers and laptops on hard, flat surfaces. For example, using laptops on clothing or bedspreads can cause the cooling fans to get blocked and overheat the device.
- Don’t Eat While You Work – Sometimes, it is tempting to keep working while eating or drinking. It is not a good practice as crumbs and liquids getting into your PC or laptop can damage or destroy the device. What to do if you spill water on your laptop?
- Power it down immediately
- Turn it upside down
- Remove the battery and any physically connected devices
- Blot up as much water as you can
- If you know how to remove the hard drive and other components, do so.
- Let your device dry for at least 24 hours
- Protect Your Laptop – Laptops afford portability. However, with that benefit comes more potential for physical damage from the environments in which they’re used. For example, tossing your device on your bed or picking it up by its screen is reckless handling. Also, laptops are not furniture that you may place things on. The casing, screen, keyboard and all the internal components are delicate and, over time, will become damaged from haphazard handling. Also, if you have an internal HDD drive, the extra motion and impact could dislocate the drive and corrupt your data.
- Practice Electrical Safety – Many users take the powering of computers for granted. Although many use power strips, it is essential to use a dedicated surge protector. A quality surge protector will reduce the chance of damage from power surges and outages from your electrical grid or other outside elements. They also need to be replaced every few years as their level of protection degrades over time. An old surge protector might not offer any protection and you might not realize that until it’s too late.
- Uninterruptible Power Supply – If you wish to eliminate all the risk of computer damage from power surges, you might consider purchasing an uninterruptible power supply which is a battery backup to keep your machine operating in the event of a power outage to save your data and if necessary, allow you to shut down your system safely.
- For Laptops – Most users pack up their power cords and take them with their laptops. However, over time, handling and mishandling a power cord can cause internal breaks and kinks, damaged plugs, and even electrical fires.
- Replace Old Laptop Batteries – Like cell phones and other battery-operated devices, laptop batteries wear out over time. An old battery reading as 100% charged and good for 8 hours of operation may fail after only a few hours. You must check your actual battery health (in Settings) or you may be stuck on a plane with a dead laptop.
Also, it is not a good practice to let your laptop entirely run out of power. Letting it zero out too often will diminish battery life.
Protecting Computers From Viruses
Cybercrime has skyrocketed since the vast increase in remote-access work spawned by the pandemic. Being cautious about what you click on, open, and download is only part of practicing robust cyber security. Your caution is not enough to protect your connected devices. Hackers are constantly developing new attack methods as the target landscape grows. Anti-Virus programs are essential for computer health. Good programs are updated continuously for new virus definitions, and scans can be set to be continuous with alerts and automatic quarantining at the sign of malware threats. Other basic cyber security best practices include password storage and management, multi-factor authentication and knowledge of the cyber scams to watch out for. Also, keeping your software (including system software) up to date is another layer of security. Security glitches found in previous versions of applications are often fixed in new updates and are at no additional cost to the user. Cyber security is no longer an afterthought. Suppose you are uncertain about the best anti-virus protection for you or your company. In that case, it is worth the expense to engage professional IT consulting services to help you make an informed decision.
Everything ages, but if you follow some of the best practices we’ve discussed herein, you can get a healthier and longer lifespan for your computers.