Cleaning a computer is important on two levels - intangible and physical - as both dictate how well the computer performs.
Basic computer maintenance can be performed by almost anybody, and is absolutely essential to ensuring the life cycle of a computer. To make sure you are getting the most out of your computer's performance, you’ll need to address your computer's intangible and physical hygiene needs.
When it comes to maintaining and organizing your computer’s intangible parts, such as data and storage, disk defragmentation and other similar practices are important. Your storage device's performance will deteriorate when more information is stored on it because it has to sort through more data to access important files. This is less of an issue with a solid state drive, because it does not have any moving parts, but an overflowing disk can still impact SSD controllers.
To make sure your storage device is able to operate at peak efficiency, a few basic cleaning practices should be performed on a regular basis. To begin, you should try not to burden the device with unused applications and other clutter, such as web apps and other programs that are easy to download and then ignore. It is important to periodically go through your program files and uninstall whatever you do not use regularly. To make this more effective, you should also defragment your disk at least a few times a year, and preferably on a monthly basis.
When a computer saves files, programs and other data, it often does so in fragments that are spread over the drive to maximize read speeds. This is especially prevalent when saving files or programs that share saved data. When you uninstall programs and delete files, saved data that is no longer relevant and other small portions of information are often left on the disk for a variety of reasons. A disk defragmenter will take these fragments and compile them into data packages that can either be stored more efficiently if they are still needed, or deleted if they are no longer necessary. Most operating systems will recommend which fragments to save and which should be deleted. This basic procedure will help keep the intangibles of your computer clean and maintain performance.
Your computer also needs to be kept clean on a physical level. The primary need to clean a computer stems from the importance of air flow in keeping hardware cool. If components operate at overly hot temperatures, they are prone to failure and their performance may degrade over time. Most computers are able to stay cool enough using fans inside the case. Typically, a computer will at least have an exhaust fan, and most will also feature an intake fan.
Each fan will have a filter that helps catch dust, dirt and other grime before sending air into the computer. However, a filter that is encased with dust and dirt will draw in less air, making it more difficult for the computer to operate at cool temperatures. The procedure for cleaning your computer's air filters will vary substantially depending on the type of case you have, but your user manual should have basic instructions. You can also check online. In some instances, the best way to manage cooling and air flow is to build the computer yourself. This will give you an intimate knowledge of where the fans are and how to get to the filters so you can add any extra fans as needed.
Whether you are cleaning the intangible parts of your computer or taking care of the physical hardware, it is important to keep your computer clean in order to help it operate at peak capacity.
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