Taking Care of Your Computer – 7 Useful Tips

There are many reasons why you should take care of your computer. Number one, is that it’s a major investment for most people and you would probably like to keep it running for as long as possible.

There are various things that you can do to help prolong the life of your PC, both hardware and software wise. It’s always a good idea to keep your computer clean. A clean computer runs faster and lasts longer.

Here are some ways to clean and maintain the software (your operating system) on your pc.

1. Run the defragmenter utility, at least once every month or two. In Windows XP this can be done by going to your Start menu, then All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, then select Disk Defragmenter. The defragmenter will help ensure that your files are located at the right place on the hard drive and should boost the overall speed of your computer.

2. Clean up old files. When you install/uninstall software frequently it can leave many unwanted files in temporary and system folders. In Windows XP, you should run the Disk Cleanup utility once and a while to clean things up. This utility can be found by clicking the Start menu, then All Programs Accessories, System Tools, then select Disk Cleanup

3. Scan for viruses. Viruses can cause your computer to be slow or not work at all. You should always have a good virus scanner installed and keep it up to date. Some well known virus scanners are Norton, McAfee, and AVG.

4. Scan for other malware. Other malware can include spyware, adware, key loggers, and Trojan horses. These pieces of software can get installed without your knowledge when you install another program or visit a website. They can cause your PC to slow down considerably. Spybot Search & Destroy and Adaware are two well known malware scanners.

Here are some ways you can keep your hardware running smoothly.

1. Clean out the dust. Computers are notorious for accumulating dust. Every once and a while you should open it up and clean it out. This can be done with a vacuum cleaner or a can of dust remover.

2. Keep your PC cool. You should always make sure that you keep your computer in a well ventilated area. By doing this you help keep the PC cool and, therefore, will prolong the life of your hardware.

3. Buy quality hardware. When you buy new components for your PC try and get good quality parts. If you get components from respected manufacturers you can be sure that you will get good technical support and the parts will be well made and not cause problems with other hardware.

Theses are just a few little tips to help you keep your computer running for a long time. There are many other things that can be done but by following these few tips you can be sure that you will reduce future computer problems.

How to Choose the Best Widescreen Computer Monitor – A Consumer’s Best Choice in Computer Monitors

Ironically, the most overlooked computer component is the monitor. Most power users will spend a lot of money on expensive CPU and fill their main board with tons of RAM, and never give a second thought to the component looking them in the face. Undoubtedly the computer monitor is the most visible component of a computer system, yet many people will suffer along with a small screen when they would get much better performance from a widescreen computer monitor.

If you are a graphics designer or a hard-core gamer, then computer performance is of course very important. However, one of the core elements of each is the visual experience which must be gained. Widescreen monitors give you much more surface area to work in graphic design, and a much clearer and crisp image for gamers. Both gamers and graphics designers suffer from eyestrain from time to time, which could be alleviated by the use of a widescreen monitor.

Gaming companies have begun to build their gaming experiences around high resolution widescreen monitors. In many instances the wider screen is the only way a game can be played to its fullest capacity, so regular screen users will not get the experience intended by the game designers.

Multi-tasking users are another group which can benefit greatly by getting a wider monitor screen. People who work online, such as day traders will have several browser windows open at one time. With the added work area, they will be able to keep an eye on stock trends from several different online brokerages to make the best decision on when to buy and sell. Businesses use several types of built-in programs such as e-mail and spreadsheet utilities which use a lot of monitor real estate. Having a wider screen means being able to use more programs at one time.

If you tried to use several different programs on a regular sized monitor, you would have to resize them to fit. In many instances this means that you would have each one of them so small you could not see them easily, which could result in eyestrain and a sore neck from leaning into the screen. A widescreen monitor takes care of this problem by giving you more space to spread out programs and make them larger so you can see them.

There are those users who like to have the latest and the greatest, and for those of us who have this claim to fame, a widescreen computer monitor is an absolute must. So if you are still stuck with a standard sized monitor, it is time to upgrade and get one which will allow you to get the most from your work and gaming experience.

10 Ways To Kill A Computer

Computers are very similar to people in that they have a finite lifespan and like us, there are a number of afflictions that can cause a computer’s digital existence to cease. Most of these problems stem from careless handling, neglect, unhealthy environments and old age, leaving the average computer system’s longevity no more than ten years.

However, careless handling, maintenance and badly trained users can shorten a computer’s lifespan just as a careless lifestyle can cut shorten ours. Here is a list of the ten most common causes of catastrophic computer failure.

10. User errors – From not powering down properly to skipping scan disks, a user can seriously damage a computer’s hardware, particularly drives and processors by not following correct guidance in using their machine.

9. Faulty manufacture – years ago there were only a handful of companies producing PCs now it seems there are an almost infinite number of manufacturers and assemblers, some have vast experience and resources, others are no more than two guys in a garage so it is not surprising that an increasing number of computer systems are faulty when bought new.

8. Bad upgrades. It is not just computers themselves that are victims of bad workmanship, upgrades by inexperienced computer fitters can cause horrendous problems and faulty add-ons such as RAM can kill a processor instantly. Also attempting to ‘overclock’ a processor can often lead to a fatal melt-down.

7. USB Device Mishaps. It seems everything can be plugged into a USB these days. However, it maybe that your USB device is not suited to the operating system you use or it may be faulty leading to a fatal short circuit.

6. Power surge/cut. Power surges or unexpected power cuts can not only cause instant loss of data but can also fry a processor rendering it useless. It is not just power from the grid that causes problems either, lightning can surge through cables (even phone wires) frazzling your system and a build up of static can cause similar results.

5. Dust. A dusty environment will clog a computer and block cooling vents causing a computer to overheat. Dust can also contain conductive material and particles can stick to circuit boards and cause a short circuit. Even home computers if not properly cleaned can succumb to problems caused by too much dust.

4. Water/fluids. Of course computers are electrical and with all electrical equipment, computers and water do not mix, just one spilt cup of coffee could see the end of your PC.

3. Heat. Processors can run exceptionally hot and if a computers cooling system is inadequate (because the machine has been upgraded, overclocked or just clogged up with dust and grime) it will only be a matter of time before it packs up for good.

2. Cold. Just as with heat, computers don’t enjoy the cold too much either. Processors will not operate at all if the operating temperature is too cold and Processors can permanently freeze up if the temperature drops too much.

1. Knocks/bangs. Computers are sensitive machines, simply moving a PC to another room can cause havoc, disrupting the delicate circuitry and hard drives. Dropping a computer or severe knocks and bangs will permanently damage the circuits and processors or dislodge wiring.

There are of course measures that can be taken to protect a PC such as always ensuring any computer has been assembled correctly and any upgrades are done carefully by a fully trained professional. Making sure a decent power supply with surge suppressor is fitted is also important (many computer experts will tell you that a power supply is the most important component in a PC, and I can’t argue with that) and that any peripherals are checked to be working correctly before you plug them in (ask to see them work in the shop) and will run correctly on your operating system.

Finally there is a low cost ways of adding extra protection to a PC, in the shape of a computer enclosure, particularly worthwhile if your PC has to operate in a dusty or moist environment, under varying temperatures and prone to knocks and bangs.

These industrial computer enclosures are relatively low cost and can house virtually any PC, monitor or printer. They often contain air conditioners and heaters to control temperature and can protect from extremely severe knocks and bangs (some even claim to be bomb proof). These enclosures also prevent dust and fluids from entering (some can even be hosed down in industrial environments without fear of damage) and allow a conventional PC to be used in the most hostile environments from ovens, freezers, dusty shop-floors and even explosive environments.