Filthy Computer? How to Take Care of it (Before it Becomes a Bigger Issue)

Filthy Computer? How to Take Care of it (Before it Becomes a Bigger Issue)

A fair portion of problems seen by computer techs are things that really are relatively easy (and significantly cheaper) to do yourself.

Most either involve tools that you already own or are very cheap to get.

Below, some easy methods for cleaning out your dirty computer.

Keyboard:

One of the worst spreaders of germs and holder of leftover food, ashes, cat hair, and other gross things is the computer keyboard.

There are a few things you need to clean one of these:

  • Toothbrush
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Cloth Towel

Lightly dampen a cloth towel with either rubbing alcohol, or use a special cloth wipe meant for electronics and wipe off your keyboard.

Don’t get it soaked, and the reason for the cloth or electronic wipes is to prevent the fuzz that will normally come off paper towels or tissues.

Use a toothbrush to get in between the keys. You can hold a laptop of keyboard on its side to get that junk better, a 90 degree angle from your table is perfect.

Fan:

  • Air
  • Anti-Static Brush
  • Gravity

If your computer is running slowly, getting hot, or even shutting down- there is a good chance that your fan is clogged up. While yes, these could be the signs of other (and more serious) issues, a lot of  of the time it is just the fan.

There are a lot of anti-static products on the market. While normally, you would want to use an anti-static vacuum near delicate computer parts, you can use an anti-static brush (carefully).

Note: Never blow compressed air into your laptop vents. NEVER! (Yes, that does need repeating.)

For a desktop, shut it down and unplug it, then blow air in around the vents and fan locations, after that you can simply open up the case (there will be some kind of latch to pull/ push/ unscrew) and brush it out using the anti-static brush.

Note: Be VERY careful and make sure to touch the metal power supply, or case. Of course, shut it all down before opening it.

Laptops are a special beast in and of themselves, especially when they’re experiencing over-heating problems.

You can typically get gravity and your anti-static brush to work for you. While, this doesn’t always work and in extreme cases- take it to someone else if you have to.

First: turn everything off, unplug it, and take out the battery, then hold your laptop 90 degrees with the vent down. Carefully (and slowly) brush at the opening with your brush. If you can, you may be able to get your brush inside and ‘poke’ at the fan. While this won’t clear out everything, usually just doing this will clean it enough to allow it to become functional again.

Junk Files

Cleaning up junk files on a computer can make it ‘like new’ very easily. If you surf the internet, download things, or even so much as use it- your computer is collecting junk files.

They are great for helping to load something quickly, but after a while they can really bog down your machine.

In Windows there are some fantastic junk file removal tools out there, including some within your own system. One of them is called Disk Cleanup, and it can help to clear up some of that junk.

To get to it go to (names in parenthesis are for XP and before, outside are Vista and 7 names):

(My) Computer –> Right Click on the C disk –> Properties –>Disk Cleanup

Another great option is Priform’s CCLeaner:

If you don’t know what to keep or delete, simply use the default selection, and avoid the registry cleaner (cleaning that out won’t have a noticeable effect for the most part anyway, even if someone knows what they are doing, they still tend to avoid it).

You can then move on to the ‘Tools’ menu and clean out those programs you don’t use anymore as well, and of course- run the cleaner again.

The first time you do run the cleaner, be warned- it can take a while to go through everything, eventually it will be quicker. Run this about once a month to keep up with the cleaning.

Wasted Space

After creating, deleting, and running files for a while they can get really spread out. While defragging through the system can take a long time and seem to be more hassle than it’s really worth (it can slow things down quite a bit).

A better option is Auslogic’s Defragger.

It’s a lot quicker than the Defrag that comes from Windows, and has more options as well. Simply check off what you want to Defrag, click the Defrag button and let it go. Do this once every two months for the best performance.

Do you have any other tips for keeping things clean and running smoothly on a computer? Post them up in the comments!