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Neil Barrett

When The Chips Are Down

The benefits of a clean computer ...

Posted on: 24/09/2012   By: Neil Barrett

I am sure you have all heard the statistics which are regurgitated by the media every so often that on average there are about 400 times the number of germs on a computer keyboard than there are on a toilet seat ...

research suggests that there are a lot of germs on a computer keyboard

research suggests that there are a lot of germs on a computer keyboard

Whether that's true or not, you should be equally concerned about the cleanliness of the inside of your computers. You see, it's not just about the grease on your fingers from your chips or the sugar from your doughnut getting onto your keyboard. Have you ever considered what goes on in the inside of your computer?

Computer components like power supplies, CPUs, graphics cards and hard drives all produce heat during normal operation. Some of these components have fans directly on them to quickly remove heat from those components and in addition the enclosures may have extra fans to aid airflow through the enclosure to help dissipate the heat. Ineffective cooling of these components can result in thermal shutdowns and permanent damage being caused to the hardware.

The main generator of unwanted heat is dust as it acts as a thermal insulator, impeding airflow and thereby reducing heat sink and fan performance. Even in clean office environments the amount of dust that can accumulate on the inside of a computer is staggering. Carpets and pets greatly increase the dust in the atmosphere and therefore increase the build up of dust on the components.

The regular cleaning of these internal components will increase the operating life of the computer hardware. All our engineers carry cleaning equipment in their vehicles to tackle this problem and for most office environments one clean every six months is sufficient to ensure that component life is maximised. For harsher environments like warehouses or construction sites, more frequent cleans should be considered. One of our clients is a wood turning factory and they generate a lot of sawdust in the vicinity of their computers so we clean those every other month.

We usually get an increase in calls to our helpdesk in the spring, as already failing components that are kept limping along by the cold weather finally give up as the temperature rises.

Some other general computer cleaning tips:

  1. Never spray or squirt the liquid onto any computer component. If a spray is needed, spray the liquid onto a cloth and use the cloth to rub down the component.
  2. You can use a vacuum to suck up dirt and dust or hair around the computer and on the outside case. However do not use a vacuum for the inside of your computer as it generates a lot of static electricity and can damage the internal components of your computer. If you need to use a vacuum to clean the inside of the computer, use a portable battery-powered vacuum designed to do this job.
  3. When cleaning a component or the computer make sure it is turned off and disconnected from the power.
  4. Never or eat or drink around the computer. We repair lots of laptops where people have spilt wine, coffee or fizzy drink on their keyboards.

That being said, should you have a little accident with your computer, or feel that your computer really should have spring clean then call us on +44 (0) 1327 300 311 today!

Until next time ...


More about Neil Barrett ...


I have always worked in the IT industry both for in-house IT departments and outsourcing companies. My first position was for a large managed services provider in Coventry, based full-time on a customer site in Northamptonshire. It was during this assignment I was exposed for the first time to the UNIX & Linux operating systems which I still enjoy looking after today. By the time I left there I was running the Department and went on to head up the IT department of the distribution arm of a manufacturing company on the Warwickshire / Northamptonshire border.

Although the position was well paid and had great benefits, it wasnt particularly challenging and that's when I set up my own business. Keba was born. It was about nine months later in the summer of 2002 that that I decided to do it full-time and never looked back.


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