Many people have a desktop and laptop in their homes. Computers are everywhere and they are now an integral part of our lives. Power users prefer desktop for better performance, comfort, and stability. People prefer laptop mostly for portability and simplicity. Both are personal computers (PC) so we will focus on both of them. These are electronic devices so we need to take good care of them. It is very important to do regular computer maintenance to make them run healthily. Sometimes there might be small problems so you should also learn to fix them. Therefore here we have 10 best computer maintenance and repair guides for everyone.
Computers and all machines need constant maintenance at regular intervals. It helps them to run without problems and live longer. We need to keep a good check of all the parts and aspects of a machine. Hardware and software are the main two parts of a PC. We should take care of both things to extend the life of the PC. You should also know basic repairing skills so that you can fix your system in the time of need. This is why we have made a checklist for computer maintenance and repair.
A laptop or a desktop has many parts such as screen, keyboard, mouse, touchpad, processor, motherboard, hard disk, ram, fans, and chassis. All of them have their own role and all of them need equal care. Some are less sensitive while some are highly sensitive. So the level and frequency of maintenance are different. In this article, we want to help you learn some basic things so that you can be saved from a hefty service charge of a computer maintenance technician.
1) Clean your computer regularly
This is the first and foremost important thing. PC performance decreases when a computer is dusty or dirty. The parts become hot and the performance decreases due to thermal throttling. Debris and dirt build-up can also cause the system to fail. It is very important to clean your computer parts such as desktop casing, keyboards, mouse, fans, and other parts. In order to open a desktop CPU case, just disconnect everything and open the side panels using screws at the back or side. Mostly there are thumb screws for easiness.
You can use an electrical blower to blow away all dust with ease. Else you have to clean each part with care. You can use cloth, painting brush to clean the dirt. If you are confident and know components well, then take out the components and clean them individually for better results. Dirty fans and components cause less cool airflow and overheating. This reduces performance and decreases the life of the PC. Clean your computer at least once every 6 months. If your place has more dust, increase cleaning frequency.
We know cleaning a laptop is not easy because you have to open it. So if you are confident enough to open your back cover then definitely get a screwdriver and open your laptop. Remove the back using a screwdriver and hinges carefully and clean the inside carefully using compressed air or small brush. If possible clean the fans because they accumulate the most amount of dirt and grease. Do clean your keyboard and mouse because we interact with them a lot. Most of the times you will find lots of dirt inside a desktop keyboard. Therefore invert it and gently pat on the back.
2) Keep good ventilation and cooling
Do clean your fans and radiators thoroughly. They are very important for cooling. All computer parts are electronics, so they generate heat. They need cooling and most users use fan air coolers. Few people use liquid cooling systems like AIO or custom loop. Whatever your choice may be, just use a good CPU cooler to keep temperatures down. We have seen many people not putting attention to ventilation and cooling. People don’t install case fans for intake and exhaust. They are cheap and they can lower your temperatures significantly. A positive airflow also helps to maintain less dirt build-up inside a casing.
The next important thing is the thermal compound or thermal paste. It is a compound or pastes usually put between heat-sink and processor or other heat-producing components. You can see them on top of the processor’s IHS, graphics card, and some VRM as well. They help to transfer heat to copper and aluminum heatsink. The problem is that they dry after long use. They dry up and the heat-conducting capacity is decreased. We suggest changing thermal paste after a few years like 1-2 years as a part of the annual computer maintenance schedule. This alone can drastically decrease your temperatures and improve speeds as well.
Make sure the heatsink, vents, and air filters on the top, bottom, front, and sides of the case are clean and. It is best to keep your CPU in a less conjugated place where it can intake a good volume of clean air easily. People usually put their CPU case on carpet or dusty corners and the side fans take all those dirt and build up inside causing harm to your system
3) Only charge when necessary
Many people have a habit of keeping their laptops plugged in even after the power level has hit 100%. We do this mistakenly or don’t care about it. This is not so much dangerous practice because modern laptops stop charging when they hit 100%. But as the power level falls down to about 95% they again start to charge. This keeps the battery in stress and the life span is decreased. The battery doesn’t show a huge problem but it builds up and you start seeing the decrease in the capacity and up-time. Next thing is that the battery and computer both heat up during the charging process which can cause some negative effects. We have discussed this in our other article on tips to increase the laptop’s battery life.
4) Cleanup unnecessary programs and files
You should always keep your operating system and software clean. Don’t keep and install unnecessary programs that you don’t use. These programs take valuable resources such as hard disk, RAM, and processing power. They might run in the background and make the system work harder and slower. Some hidden applications may also run on startup and give more stress to the computer. In the long run, the extra work and heat can make the computer slower. This is why we should only install applications that we need. Do the same thing with files and folder. Don’t keep unwanted files, photos, videos, and folders. If you can access through network and internet then don’t burden your device. However, do keep a backup of important files.
If you have a hard disk, you should optimize and do “Defragmentation“. It is already built up in Windows. Just right click on your drive, click on Properties and go to Tools and select optimize. There you can select your drives and see how much fragmented your drives are. You should optimize them regularly. Defragmentation is the maintenance of the computer file system. It is recommended for hard disk but it is not needed for SSD.
5) Keep software, drivers, OS & BIOS updated
Software is the soul of any electronic device. It is very important to always update your devices. Always update your software to the latest version possible. Do update Microsoft Windows operating system (OS) and drivers regularly. Use the latest drivers as far as possible. Always go to the company’s official site to download drivers. Mainly motherboard, chipset, and graphics card drivers are very important.
New software mostly brings security patches, performance upgrades, and bug fixes. These things keep your system in a safe and healthy state. Also, update BIOS of your laptop and desktop motherboard. They sometimes come with microcode update for patching vulnerabilities of processor and board. Sometimes we see that vendors and software making companies might push buggy software by mistake. These might cause problems, so always read news and wait a bit before jumping into the new one.
6) Use Antivirus and Firewall
Microsoft Windows has a built-in firewall and its Defender is also very good at security. However, if you want better and stronger security, definitely go for a premium Antivirus. They give you many functions such as sandboxing, disinfecting, and password protection. There are many expensive options in the market with great options but if you want, you can choose free options as well. For example, Kaspersky Security Cloud, AVG, and Avast are some popular freeware in the market. Keep them running and keep their databases updated. Always run full deep scan of your computer at least once a month. Always scan files and folders when downloading new files from the internet, using an external USB drive and portable hard disks.
A firewall is a thing just like it sounds. It protects your computer from malware and unauthorized access. It blocks bad traffic and gives security to a network-connected device. Many antiviruses run their own firewall after installation. But Windows Firewall is already built-in and it is also very good. The Windows Defender Firewall can be turned on by just going to the control panel. This thing is very crucial so always keep it on.
7) Create regular backup and follow 3-2-1 rule
Creating backup of your files, folders and OS is one of the types of computer maintenance. It is a preventive measure. It saves you from the misery of failure of storage device. Any storage might fail because they are electronics and accidents can happen any time. Hard Disks, Solid State Drives, NAS may fail without showing any sign. Thus we must be very careful because we know that our files, photos, videos and memories are very important. We can buy songs, movies and series but our photos, videos can’t be bought back.
Therefore you should follow 3 points or 321 backup rules. It says that you should create 3 copies of your data on at least 2 different devices and you should store 1 copy on another site. For example, you should keep three copies of your friends and family photos. You can keep them on your computer, one in your portable hard disk and one in the cloud. It makes the copies safer. If every copy is kept in the same media and location, a disaster like a drive failure or fire will destroy everything. You can use free software such as AOMEI Backupper for such tasks.
Common Computer Repair and Troubleshooting tips
Till now, you should have known the importance of computer maintenance. Now let us guide you into repairing your PC. This checklist will help you to figure out some common problems and point you to the solution. There are many variables but we have listed some most common issues. Instead of routine computer maintenance checklist, these are symptoms and problems with common solutions.
- Sudden and random shutdown: This happens commonly due to processor overheating, OS issue, faulty software, and rarely BIOS problem. Try to open the computer in safe mode and uninstall recently installed faulty programs. Clean the CPU cooler and see if the heat sink fits tight with the processor as it should and there is a good amount of thermal paste.
- Computer not starting: Mostly this occurs if there is a problem in RAM, processor, graphics card, or power supply. Most of the time it is a problematic memory module. Try changing slots or RAM sticks. Sometimes computers also don’t start when there is a problem with the mains voltage. Dead GPU, loose power cables can also cause this.
- BIOS or CMOS settings reset: This indicates the faulty hardware or dead battery of the motherboard. Check your new hardware like RAM, GPU or new overclock setting. If you are facing a change of dates and rest frequently, it may be the battery. Usually, CMOS battery may need replacement at around 4 years.
- Freezing: It can be the issue of software, hard disk, SSD, or memory. Problematic old hard disk, faulty overclock or BIOS settings and bad RAM stick can cause these errors. We also suggest removing problematic software or also formatting and installing a new clean copy of Windows. Most of the time we find the problem in RAM and hard disks.
There are many problems and we can’t tell the solution of all. We are trying to compile and help with the most common issues. Our suggestion is to always take preventive measures and do regular maintenance. If you are buying a new computer or component, but the best you can in your budget. Follow our checklist and advice provided above and do the regular maintenance of computer hardware and software. Keep your work environment clean and don’t eat or drink near it. A lot of people spill food, coffee, and drinks over their keyboard and laptops. These are widely known mistakes that kill many devices each year. Also don’t bring magnets near your electronic devices. They are harmful to hardware like hard disks.
As we told earlier, keep your devices clean physically and do servicing at least once in 2 years for a laptop. Keep your software updated and only keep the programs that you need. Make regular backups and don’t connect to an unknown shady free WiFi network. You can use PC maintenance software such as cleaners, partition manager, and temperature monitors for advanced handling. Always use a firewall and always scan newly downloaded files, new thumb drives, and portable drives. These things should help you a lot in keeping your PC healthy and make its life longer. If you need some help, do a search on the internet for tutorials and guide before processing.