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Beginners Guides: Annual PC Checkup Checklist
Beginners Guides: Annual PC Checkup Checklist - PCSTATS
A medical primer for your computer, from dust bunnies to defragging, keep your computer in good health by giving it a yearly checkup!
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCSTATS Jun 29 2007   M. Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCSTATS

Cigarette Smoke and Computers

Dust works its way into the fan and sticks to the grease and accumulates there, eventually interfering with the action of the fan and causing that horrible grinding 'sick computer' noise.

Before we get to the solutions for this problem, I'd like to share a brief rant about two of the major contributors to the death of innocent computers: Cigarette smoke and pet (cat) hair. I've seen horrible things happen to systems in the houses of smokers and pet owners, and I bet any computer tech could tell you likewise.

Two stories to illustrate the point: A couple of years ago at my store, a rather old PC was brought in by a rather old gentleman, who smelled rather strongly of cigarette smoke. It had stopped working he said, innocently. The computer case had turned from beige to a sort of parchment yellow, and I guess this should have been a clue to what awaited us inside the case. Ignoring the warning sighs, we opened it up.

Suffice to say that the gentleman in question had obviously not been particularly discriminating in his smoking habits around the system... There was a thin layer of yellow residue (tar?) layered across the inside of the case, to which a considerable amount of dust had actually stuck.

The smell was... unpleasant. Needless to say, we closed it up instantly and made a half-hearted attempt at diagnosing the problem. When it unsurprisingly failed to boot, we bundled it up and handed it back to the customer; "Sorry, nothing we can do." He seemed rather offended when we suggested that his smoking habits might be the issue, and went off looking for "someone who knows what they are doing!"

Now granted, this is an extreme example, but cigarette smoke can be very damaging to computer components because of the residue it leaves behind. You wouldn't smoke around kids would you? Good, because if you work around computers for a living, now's a good time to practice discretion for later in life.

As for pet hair, one of my best customers at the store had persuaded me to do an on-site upgrade for him since the huge shiny server case he had just bought from us was too heavy to safely get out of his apartment. This particular gentleman depended on computers for his livelihood.

Imagine my surprise then, when I arrived and found this drool-worthy $600 split-server case with its thousands of dollars of state-of the art components and multiple SCSI drives sitting on the floor in a small, semi-closed cupboard next to the cat-litter box.

It will come as no surprise that the filters this case thankfully had installed on the outside fans were absolutely clogged with cat hair and assorted particles. The computer was still working fine, but it had only been there for a couple of weeks.

I shudder to think what it would have looked like after a year. Cat hair especially is extremely fine and light, and will clog up your fans rather quickly if allowed inside.

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Contents of Article: PCSTATS
 Pg 1.  Beginners Guides: Annual PC Checkup Checklist
 Pg 2.  — Cigarette Smoke and Computers
 Pg 3.  Cleaning and re-oiling fans.
 Pg 4.  Cleaning the inside of your PC
 Pg 5.  Software solutions
 Pg 6.  Defragmenting the hard drive
 Pg 7.  Unnecessary startup programs
 Pg 8.  Disk cleanup utility

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