Home Science Technology What can be done to keep your computer system properly maintained?

What can be done to keep your computer system properly maintained?

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A sign warns Nigerian computer users against engaging in Internet scams. (AP/Sunday Alamba)Few things are more frightening than the horror that faces computer users that neglect their PC: the dreaded blue screen of death! Frantic calls to IT Support can be avoided, however, with some basic maintenance and precautions.

The first line of defense for your PC is a simple piece of hardware: a power strip with built-in surge protector. Since homes and businesses are connected to an enormous electricity delivery network, they are subject to occasional spikes or surges in voltage that can cause serious damage to unprotected equipment. A surge protection power strip diverts the excess power into the outlet’s grounding wire, protecting the PCs delicate components from damage. PCs should also be protected from temperature extremes, as well as dust and pet fur.

Regular dusting and cleaning should be part of the maintenance routine, but exercise caution with sprays or liquid cleansers. A dry or slightly damp micro-fiber cloth is best for wiping dust from the monitor screen. Avoid using paper towels or harsh cleansers, which can damage the screen. Compressed air can be used to blow crumbs or lint from the keyboard and from the fans and inside of the laptop or PC. Follow manufacturer’s directions for cleaning the components of your computer, and be careful to read the warranty information before dismantling any computer components. In some cases, opening the computer’s outside casing can void the warranty.

The computer’s physical components are only part of its operations. Each time we connect to the internet, our computers are under constant attack by adware, spyware and viruses. Spyware endangers your personal security by collecting information via the sites you visit. Anti-virus software helps shield your PC from most attacks, deflecting threats and spyware attacks. Regularly updating your anti-virus software is one of the most important things you can do to protect your computer. Registration of software products might seem like a hassle, but it’s critical to maintaining system security. By registering your products, you receive updates that help guard against virus attacks.

Your e-mail can be a major source of virus exposure. Downloading files e-mailed from friends’ trusted accounts could expose your PC to attacks. Consider using a web-based e-mail with built-in virus protection, and always scan attachments before downloading them. Use your system’s scheduling feature to create a regular update plan. Scheduling updates for your antivirus system and other software keeps your system clean and helps keep viruses and other malware out of your computer.

Finally, defragmenting and disc cleanup should be regularly preformed to get rid of orphan files; fragments and other unneeded information and data bits that clutter your hard drive. Cleanup and removal of unneeded files and programs should be performed at least weekly. It’s also wise to back up data and files each week, to avoid a catastrophic loss should your PC crash. Keeping a PC in good working condition doesn’t have to be an expensive venture. Basic maintenance and regular updates can help keep your machine in good working order for many years of use.

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