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Heads Up! - Prepare for the Maintenance.

Performing these maintenance procedures is relatively easy. As simple as they may be, it is not risk free. You should take measures to avoid loss of important DATA. Notice that I stated DATA. You applications can be placed back on your disk drive from their original floppies or CDs but you data cannot be replaced unless you have a copy stored somewhere safe. IMPORTANT data that you may have on your home or office machine should be stored on an archival media before you begin maintenance procedures of any type. Many home users will not have a very large amount of IMPORTANT data but still have more than can be easily stored on floppies. In addition, even with some backup facilities, retrieval of data is often impossible if the catalog of that data was on a disk drive that was corrupted or otherwise destroyed. There is still a way to backup important data without the use of floppies or tape based solutions. You can get online disk storage where most home users can store their important data files while performing maintenance procedures. Professional users or home users with loads of important data should look at a professional data backup solution for all of your data files. This warning was not designed to make you uncomfortable with the procedures that follow. Be Safe Not Sorry!

Index

What You Need
Placement of Your Computer
Floppy Drives
CD-ROM Drives
Keyboards
Laser Printers
Monitors
The Mouse
The CPU
Viruses




What You Need

Gather Your Supplies:


Anti-static spray cleaner (or wipes) and Denatured Alcohol
Used to clean static sensitive devices like the keyboard


Anti-static wipe
Used to clean the mouse ball and other pieces of hardware


Head cleaning disk
Used to clean your floppy drive


CD lens cleaner
Used to clean the lens and interior of your CD-ROM


Monitor Cleaning Wipes
Small Brush for Dusting
Foam Tipped Swabs
NOTE: Never use cotton swabs, they can leave more lint than they remove.
Eye Shadow Applicators
Shop Towels
Phillips Screwdriver


Optional Supplies:


Electronic Vacuum Cleaner
Used to clean the inside of your computer and keyboard.
Canned Air
Used to blow dust and dirt out of those hard to reach places.
Key cap removal tool
Used to remove the covers from your keyboard keys


Important Notes:


The following procedures require the system to be powered up:


Defragging the hard drive
Cleaning the floppy disk drive
Performing the system backup
For general cleaning and maintenance unplug all system components from the electrical socket such as the monitor, printer and other external peripherals.


There is a school of thought here that believes that leaving the computer plugged in when working around the Central Processing Unit (CPU) provides a path for static discharge. I usually leave mine plugged in.

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Placement of Your Computer

Physical Placement


Put your computer on a stable base with good circulation
Be careful not to block the ventilation areas of the computer
Keep computer away from long exposure to sunlight
Keep computer away from heaters
Make sure cables are not touching heaters
Avoid damp areas
Do not place cables where you'll trip over them.


Miscellaneous Notes


Avoid moving the computer when it is running
Give the cables a little slack
Never insert or remove cables when the computer is running

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Floppy Drives

Symptoms:


"Error reading drive A:" is a good indication that you need to clean the heads in your floppy drive.


Cleaning Options:


Store bought floppy drive cleaning kit
Run Electronic Vacuum Cleaner across front of slot


To Use Store Bought Cleaners:


NOTE: FOLLOW the INSTRUCTIONS on the kit


Drop cleaning liquid onto the opening on the cleaner disk.
With a Macintosh: place the disk into the Drive, the disk will spin and give you a message stating it is unreadable, use the "eject disk" option to get disk out.

With PC's: place the disk in Drive "A", then using File Manager, or the DOS prompt access the "A" Drive, let it spin, abort, then eject disk.
NOTE: If the drive does not spin, it will not be cleaned.

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CD-ROM Drives

Symptoms:


Disc skips or errors reading data from a disc are a good indication that you need to clean your CD-ROM drive.


Cleaning Options:


Store bought CD-ROM drive cleaning kit


To Use Store Bought Cleaners:


NOTE: FOLLOW the INSTRUCTIONS on the kit


The CD-ROM contains a laser lens, which collects dust, and needs a special kind of cleaner. Using a compact disc (CD) lens cleaner not only cleans the lens but other parts of your drive as well.


NOTE: If the drive does not spin, it will not be cleaned

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Keyboards

Symptoms:


Sticky or jammed keys


Cleaning Options:


Electronic Vacuum Cleaner with a conducting grounded nozzle
Can of compressed air
Clean with solution and shop towel


Supplies needed:


Alcohol or Glass Cleaner or Anti-Static wipes
Canned Air
Shop Towel
Small Brush for Dusting
Foam Tipped Swabs
Key Cap Removal Tool
Electronic Vacuum Cleaner (grounded nozzle)


Procedures:


Any combination of this procedure can be used. It is not necessary to perform them all.


Turn off computer and disconnect keyboard.
Turn your keyboard upside down and gently tap the front edge, the one nearest to you as you type, against the desk. You will be amazed at how much dust and dirt will fall out.
Use compressed air to blow the dust out of hard to get at places. Always keep the can level to prevent discharging the propellant which can damage the surface of the keys.
For a complete cleaning, remove the key caps using the removal tool and then vacuum with an Electronic Vacuum Cleaner. Replace the key caps insuring they snap back into place.
Use a small amount of alcohol or glass cleaner on a shop towel and clean each key.
CAUTION do not use designer paper towels, the dyes can be transferred to that nice tan finish and can be very hard to remove.


Use a brush to remove loose dust and grime. Use Foam Tipped Swabs dipped in alcohol or glass cleaner to clean heavier grime and between the keys.


Reconnect the keyboard.

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Laser Printers

Removing Stains and Smudges on Your Printed Page:


Take out the toner cartridge and gently shake it from side to side
Check cartridge expiration date to be sure that it's not expired
Adjust the printer density to a darker or lighter setting (as necessary)
Check your paper to see if it is too damp from humidity
Paper that is too dry can cause problems as well
Use commercial laser printer cleaning sheets. They really work!


Don't Forget to read your USER MANUAL!


Tip: Microwave your envelopes for 15 to 30 seconds before printing, this should prevent the heat transfer from sealing them.

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Monitors

Symptoms:


The display may look fuzzy or smudged and you may see the ever present fingerprints.


Supplies needed:


Anti-Static Glass cleaner
Eyeglass Cleaner (optional)
Shop Towel


Procedure:


Turn off the monitor
Spray a small amount of glass or eyeglass cleaner onto a shop towel. Use the shop towel to wipe the screen until it is clean and dry.
Caution: Do not use regular glass cleaning spray as it can damage the monitor's anti glare properties.

Special Note: You can also clean the monitor with a used dryer sheet (i.e., Bounce, Cling Free)

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The Mouse

Supplies needed:


Anti-static or Glass Cleaner
Shop Towel
Alcohol
Foam Tipped Swabs


Procedure:


Turn off the computer and unplug the mouse.
Use glass cleaner and shop towel to run over the cord and wipe down mouse. Turn the mouse upside down and remove mouse ball plate. Remove ball and clean it with warm water. Let it dry. Remove dust and grime in the mouse housing with a Foam Tipped Swabs dipped in alcohol. Pay special attention to the ball rollers.
Reassemble and reconnect.

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The CPU

Symptoms


Power supply failure


The build of dust and dirt can restrict air flow causing overheating. It may even cause shorts between components.


Cleaning Options:


Electronic Vacuum Cleaner with a conducting grounded nozzle
Can of compressed air


Supplies needed:


Canned Air
Small Brush for Dusting
Electronic Vacuum Cleaner (grounded nozzle)
Phillips Screwdriver


Procedure:


Turn off your computer leaving it plugged in. disconnect keyboard.
Remove the screws that hold your cover in place, depending on design your cover may have anywhere from 3 to 8 screws holding it in place.
For a complete cleaning remove the internal boards. Each board should be held in place by a single screw. Mark any cables removed so that you can return them to the proper place.
Spray each board with the canned air to remove any dust build up. Make sure you spray the power supply, power supply fan, the heat sink, and fan on top of the processor chip. Use the Electronic Vacuum Cleaner to get to those hard to reach place. Vacuuming up all dislodged dust and dirt.
Re-install your boards, insuring all cables are returned to their proper location. Power your system up and verify proper operation. Shut your system back down and reinstall the case cover.


If you are uncomfortable with this procedure most repair shops will perform this cleaning for a nominal fee.


Other Notes on Maintenance


1. a. Open Windows Explorer \ (C:)
b. Remove files with .chk extension from drive C:\
c. Remove files from C:\Windows\Temp folder.
d. If you use Paint Shop Pro, you can remove files with the .jbf extension, these are created when you use the browse function. However removing them will slow down your next browse as they are recreated.
2. Empty Recycle Bin
3. Restart Computer. ( This will clear the windows swap file)
4. Disable your screen saver.
5. Close all programs running in the background except Explorer and Systray. Use Ctrl- Alt- Del, highlight and click End Task for Fast Find, Virus Scan, Backup etc.
6. Run scandisk and defrag.
  a. Double click on My Computer
  b. Right click on (C:) or (drive you want to do)
  c. Click on properties.
  d. Click on tools tab.
  e. Error checking status click on check now.
  Normally set on Standard and Automatically Fix Errors.
  f. Defragmentation Status click on defragment now.
(Win95) When block comes up with "Drive is % fragmented" click on start. (Even if windows says you don't need to defrag now.) For Win98 recommend starting at night and just turn off monitor.
7. Update Virus program Dat files and run virus scan.


Other Tips


  • Use quality Electrical and Phone Line Surge Suppressors. If you are in an area that experiences frequent power shortages and outages a Uninteruptable Power Supply can save you much aggravation.
  • Always shut down windows before turning off computer. Start, Shut Down, Shut down the Computer.
  • Use the uninstall that loaded with program to uninstall. If no uninstall was loaded use the Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs.
  • Realign print head whenever you change an ink cartridge in the printer. (If Required)
  • Keep printer turned off unless you are going to use it.
  • Keep magnets away from computer area.
  • Keep cellular phones away from the monitor.
  • If cleaning computer or monitor, do not allow any liquid to get inside. Do not use alcohol-based products on monitor.
  • During thunderstorms shut down computer, turn off surge suppressor and unplug phone line and power cords.
  • Always shut down computer before moving it.
  • If installing multiple programs, restart computer between installations.
  • Always shut down computer before adding or removing peripherals except USB devices.
  • Periodically remove and clean the tracking ball and the inside of your mouse.
  • Use a personal firewall with Cable or DSL connection to the Internet.

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    Viruses


    Viruses.1

    With all this talk about viruses, people still wonder: How do you know if you have one? Everyone expects an executed virus to flash skull-and-crossbones on the monitor while a disturbing laugh wells from the depths of the hard drive. In truth, much of the time it can be difficult to tell if your computer is infected. There are a few symptoms to watch out for. If you notice any of these things happening on your computer, it's worth running your scanning software.


    Your computer seems to run much slower.


    Files disappear from your hard drive without explanation.


    The modification or creation dates on your files don't seem accurate.


    The size of files or programs increases greatly without explanation.


    Your RAM is nearly full and you're not sure why.


    Just Say "Delete" to Email attachments
    If we haven't impressed upon you the importance of caution when it comes to attachments, let us please reiterate: Don't open attachments. Tell your friends, your family, and your contacts not to send attachments, or ask them to tell you ahead of time if they're going to. Be particularly aware of attachments that end in .vbs, a script form that often indicates the presence of malicious code. If you must open attachments, make sure you open only those you've been expecting from a trusted source.


    Viruses.2

    Computer Health
    Ward off computer viruses


    An ounce of prevention,


    Do not open an E-mail attachment if you do not know exactly what it is.


    Do not let students bring Floppy disc or CD's from home to use in school.


    If you've read technology news lately, chances are you've heard about one of several high-profile computer virus threats being spread through e-mail.


    Those threats may sound alarming, but some common sense and a dose of protection will help you ward off even the most malicious Internet illnesses.


    What is a computer virus?


    A computer virus is a program or piece of code that is designed to copy itself into other programs stored in your computer, and then spread itself from one computer to another. Virus programs are typically spread through shared documents, spreadsheets, executable files, software programs, or floppy disks. Specific types of virus programs include Trojan Horses and Worms.


    Viruses can be benign and not cause harm, or they can have any of a number of negative effects on your system. They can display random messages or sounds, damage data, send e-mail to everyone in your address book, or even wipe out the contents of your hard disk.


    Protecting your computer and your data is as simple as using anti-virus software tools to detect and eliminate viruses. It's also important to think first before opening any files sent to you in e-mail, and to turn off any features that automatically open e-mail attachments. E-mail itself cannot infect your computer, but if you open an infected executable attachment from e-mail, it can infect your computer. When downloading programs from the Internet, be sure to choose the "Save to disk" option, unless you're certain the program comes from a reliable source.


    It is strongly recommended that you always use up-to-date anti-virus software on your system. An anti-virus software program will scan your existing files and folders, check new documents and programs, and perform periodic checks of your system for viruses. If a virus is found on your computer, the tools can help to eliminate it and repair your files.


    After you install your anti-virus software, set it to check all new CDs and disks, e-mail attachments, and files or software you download from the Internet. Keep your anti-virus software up-to-date, because new viruses are being written all the time. The best place to find current virus information is on the Internet, so be sure the company that supplies your anti-virus software maintains a Web site with information on current virus threats and upgrades to your anti-virus software.


    The home computer is a large investment and as such should receive some basic attention on your part. The PC is a very sophisticated device, however it is vulnerable to dust, dirt, tobacco residue, and a variety of other household grime in many critical areas, the monitor, the mouse, the keyboard, the power supply, and the central processor (CPU) to name a few. Dust and dirt can jam your keyboard switches, foul the read/write heads on your disk drives or the laser pickup on your CD-ROM, and can even cause your power supply to overheat. Smoke and dust degrade the quality of the display on that super Monitor and can even cause intermittent connections in your computer. These valuable tools should be cleaned periodically to decrease the probability of system failure.


    Please keep in mind that the many of the most common problems I have seen over the years can be traced back to not following the manufacturers instructions when adding new hardware or software.


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