Your PC maintenance

By Condor ยท 30 replies
Dec 23, 2007
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  1. hey yall

    Im wondering how often do you guys clean your PC like dust in the case , dust in fans , video card, CPU fan etc to keep it running smooth?

    And how often do yall defrag your HD?

    any pre caution yall wanna recommend before cleaning the inside of my PC? : D

    thx in advance
  2. baros1954

    baros1954 Banned Posts: 37

    Defrag=once a week or so.

    As to how often to clean inside your computer, really depends on whether you live in a dusty environment or not.

    With me, I have a large dog and I smoke, which results in a lot of pet hair etc. I usually clean every couple of months. About once every six months, I clean the heatsink, cpu and apply new thermal paste.

    As for precautions when cleaning inside the case. Disconnect from the mains and ware an anti-static wrist strap. Do not use a vacuum cleaner, but use a soft paint brush and a can of compressed air.
  3. hamas123

    hamas123 TS Maniac Posts: 482

    You defrag once a week, i cant remember when was the last time i defraged! Quite a Loong time ago.
  4. ravisunny2

    ravisunny2 TS Ambassador Posts: 1,986   +12

    Clean wipe, daily.

    Defrag, when the system slows down.

    Inside the case, rare. Environment is pretty clean.

    And, hello baros1954. I'm guessing that 1954 is your birth year.

    Mine is 1955.
  5. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Clean of dust when it becomes a problem. Never happened to me, ever, with any of my computers (from a 10MHz 286 to the dual core Athlon64), so I can say I never clean the things. The only cleaning that ever happens is some of the stuff falling out by itself when I move the case around oropen it up :)
    Really, I have better things to do with my time and even when a machine finally happend to die from dust, I am still on the plus side with time not wasted on cleaning vs time spent repairing.

    Defrag.. Every couple of months or after some heavy writing that could have created a lot of fragmented files.
  6. ravisunny2

    ravisunny2 TS Ambassador Posts: 1,986   +12

    Right on, brother!
  7. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 3,814

    My pc gets a dust out twice a year or whenever I notice a temperature increase.
    I defrag once a week after doing a disk cleanup first and scan for malware and tracking cookies every few days.
    I never virus scan as so far my active protection has prevented all viruses from infecting my pc.

    Prevention is better than cure I say.:)
  8. Daveskater

    Daveskater Banned Posts: 1,687

    I have IOBit SmartDefrag so it's always keeping an eye on my HD so hopefully it's hardly fragmented at all :D I think it's scheduled to do a full defrag every Sunday or every other week or something as well.

    I'm still waiting for my compressed air can to arrive in the post, Amazon messed me about for the first time ever. I paid for it last month, then I get an email saying "Sorry, this can't be dispatched yet." or something along those lines. The site says delivery estimate 19 Nov 2007 - 24 Jan 2008 :evil:
  9. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,036   +2,558


    I run Adaware (free), SpybotSD14, AGV free Anti-virus, and the "No-Script" addd-on in Firefox. I update them all at least once a week. I defrag when the defragger in Windows tell me I should. I don't think the machine slows much before Windows tells you it's ready for defrag. (This possibly because all my drives are less than half full).The dust thing I'm going to attend to forthwith. I'm sort of a weirdo who keeps a 5 horsepower compressor in the living room. I keep a blow-gun nozzle with a dust/oil/water filter ball attached for just such festivities.

    I'd ask everyone if their hard drive is half empty or half full but I've being trying to cut down on my trouble making.
  10. sghiznaneck

    sghiznaneck TS Maniac Posts: 403

    Run disk cleanup 2-3 times a week. Run a virus scan once a week or when somethings seems suspicious. Defrag once a week and clean out the case (cooling fans, heat sink fans, graphic card fans and, if applicable, the board fan) twice a year. Oh yeah, also the psu fan. As for ravisunny2, he's way off base stating that the inside of the case is a clean environment. The inside can collect some real garbage after a few months.
  11. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 3,814

    Good point there sghiznaneck, I also strip apart and clean my psu when i do my case.

    I am thinking of making a pictorial guide on how to maintain a psu, any thoughts on that?
  12. sghiznaneck

    sghiznaneck TS Maniac Posts: 403


    That's a great idea. Many people have heard about us tearing apart out psu's and cleaning the fan, assembly and all the tiny wires and connectors inside it, but I don't believe anyone other than us techies have any idea on where or how to start, let alone take it apart, clean it, put it back together and hope it still works. Oh, I also have to mention that the best way to clean the inside of the case and it's components is with a can of compressed air. Since I run my own repair shop, I have a really nifty very soft camel hair brush and have achieved some really fantastic results with it. The main thing everyone has to remember is to disconnect the power supply and all other cables. Let it sit for a little while, and after taking off the side case, ground yourself. Best way to do that is to touch the power supply backplate and keep that hand there. Once accomplished, you are then ready to move on to the clean/remove components phase. Static electricity has killed MANY motherboards/chipsets. I have a pair of grounding cuffs, but I've never used them since the above process works quite well.
  13. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 3,814

    Some very good advice there indeed. I personally use a cheap paintbrush that as never had any harmful chemicals used on it.

    sghiznaneck, if you should ever need any help let me know. I am one of the very few that is able to repair some psu faults.
    As an example, i had an extreme blond moment about 2 years ago and killed my 1 week old psu :blush:. I ripped it apart, checked it over systematically and discovered that all i had blown was the 4 1n4001 rectifier diodes, so i replaced them for 16p and my psu runs fine to this day.

    Boy was I relieved.:)
  14. ravisunny2

    ravisunny2 TS Ambassador Posts: 1,986   +12

    Thanks for the edit, Mictlantecuhtli.
  15. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Posts: 1,277

    Good Questions!

    I get these questions from customers all the time.

    Depends on how much you use the computer. I'd say every 6 to 12 months depending on your usage.

    Depends on whether or not you're above 50% usage. OSes use a mathematical algorithm to make optimal use of disk space but it starts to break down as you fill up the internal HDD. I'd say the threshold is 50% usage. Once you go above 50% file fragmentation takes off exponentially. So, if you're below 50%, I'd say every 3 to 6 months. If you're above 50%, then you should check for file fragmentation every week or two and if it's more than 20% fragmented, then defrag. You should really look into cleaning up your HDD or offloading large files to an external HDD if you above 50%.

    Wait a good 20 seconds after powering off and then make sure the power cord is disconnected. Touch the metal chassis to ensure you are gounded before touching any electronics. Make one hardware change at a time and test it before trying the next one.

    You're welcome in advance.
  16. MetalX

    MetalX TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,388

    I never defrag my hard drive... I reformat every 4 months to clean out all the junk that builds up on the hard drive (game demos, programs I downloaded and used once etc). I clean the fans every upgrade cycle, which is about 6 months for me. I just use some good old compressed air. :)
  17. ravisunny2

    ravisunny2 TS Ambassador Posts: 1,986   +12

    Sounds good. I've reformatted at least 10 times in the last year & half.
  18. Daveskater

    Daveskater Banned Posts: 1,687

    After installing Windows is a great time to defrag, it's going to put files all over the place on your drive and Windows is a big ol' thing :D

    I'm gonna reformat soon too but IOBit SmartDefrag is definitely coming back.
  19. mopar man

    mopar man TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,379

    I have never reformatted, but plan on very soon.

    Every 2 days I defragment, cleanup, and run crap cleaner.

    I run AVG AV, with no AS because every protector slows it down.

    I live in a very dusty environment and I only blow it out 1 time every 6 months or so.
  20. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,036   +2,558

    Oh, Dear.......

    I suddenly feel quite dull as a computer user. I've reformatted once in 3 years, (after trying to install a Verizon security package which locked me out of my desktop). Is it true what they say, that I'm old and boring?
  21. unfortunately for me, i have to live in a very dusty environment. so i clean regularly to make sure that the case is dust free. regularly however can mean anything from once a day, to once every few weeks depending on the dust levels. but i try hard.

    as for computer maintenance? as far as defrags are concerned, i defrag everytime i uninstall/install something on my computer. no point in defragging if you haven't added or removed anything lately. it's hard to have file fragments with nothing happening.

    typically my computer runs fairly smoothly unless i'm running skype. for some reason skype takes up enormous amounts of RAM just to run smoothly. and it sucks up bandwidth worse than a vacuum. dead god....

    every once in a while, i'll feel like my hard drives are too cluttered, or my My Documents folder has too much crap in it, so i'll go in and go on a binge deletion spree to get rid of anything that i never use anymore or don't need anymore.

    i also keep an eye on the temps inside my case. i live in a humid/hot area of the US so i have to keep everything in check. when i get my new computer, it will be no different.
  22. Daveskater

    Daveskater Banned Posts: 1,687

    No, mate, I've never reformatted to clean the junk out of my PC, it's loads of effort backing stuff up (IMO) and I only got an external drive in the last couple of months.

    That's going to change soon, though, because I had Zone Alarm a while ago and my PC's never been the same since i uninstalled it, and I have no malware.
  23. ZXT

    ZXT TS Rookie Posts: 21

    I do inside cleaning (mobo, hsf, etc) once a year or so.

    Last time was just 2 weeks ago when my video card started acting up and finally it just wont reboot. Decided to wash (yes wash) the video card and put it in a basin for one hour with dishwashing soap and water. Blow dry it and put it back...voila! Video card works like it was bnew :) Now thats what I call clean.

    BTW, you can do the same to mobo but I never tried it yet. Don't forget to remove the battery tho if you are going to try it on a defective mobo, who knows it might bring back to life.
  24. wanna be geek

    wanna be geek TS Rookie Posts: 80

    Man you guys are sort of extreme... Listen! If you decide to clean a PSU, OK... I do it but let me tell you this- just letting it "sit for awhile", is not safe.
    An easy way to discharge all power from it is to pull the plug and then press and hold the power button on your computer... I clean my pc every 3 or 4 weeks... I am just a nut about it as I have a nice gamer case with all the lighting mods and stuff as well as a mirror so you can see the video card.
    A word of advice for those who use air cans DO NOT SHAKE THEM BEFORE USE!!! Do it once and spray it on something other than your computer and see what happens... I did, I never bought another can again... It is a paint brush for me.....
  25. hmmmmm

    hmmmmm TS Rookie

    hey ppl.. juz wonderin.. defragment really works ??

    everytime after i defrag.. it doesn't make any difference..

    plus.. is it necessary to clear ur c drive to a minimum space requirement everytime u wan to defrag?? it says " needs at least dunno how much free gb but continue anyway?"

    help pls >.<

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