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Basic Hardware Maintenance
Dust – This is the greatest single enemy of any computer. Once every six months open your computer case, after disconnecting all cables and power, and let it cool for at least twenty minutes. Using a can of compressed air gently in small, quick bursts blow all the dust and dirt out of the inside of the case.
Cooling fans – Use a cotton swab dipped in 90% isopropyl alcohol, and clean the surface of all cooling fan blades and cooling fan housing.
Surge protector – Make sure you have your computer connected to a quality surge protector. I recommend the American Power Conversions (APC) products. You will pay a bit more for them, but they consistently manufacture a quality product well worth the cost.
Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) – If you really want to do it right, purchase an uninterruptable power supply (UPS). Again, I recommend APC products. APC includes a software application, PowerChute, with the unit, for Microsoft Windows which enables the unit to shut down properly in the event of power failure so there is no data loss. Those who are using an Apple Mac or Linux do not need this software.
Shut down computer – Although there is a lot of controversy on this point, I recommend you power off your computer and all attached devices when not in use. This will reduce the wear on all components of your computer and also reduce the risk of damage to the unit.