What is Computer Maintenance?
Computer maintenance can also referred to as pc maintenance and sometimes preventative maintenance. All these references are about keeping your computer is good shape.
There are several tasks that we can perform on a computer which prevents the need for repairs later on.
Your computer needs both hardware and software preventative maintenance.
Without both you’re likely to run into issues further on, which could have been prevented.
Of course all things will fail at some point. But the chances of this happening are minimal through common computer maintenance.
The biggest issue when you have a failure, is the downtime which is unavoidable. This downtime can be quite costly in terms of your staff productivity.
Main Causes of Computer Issues
There are several factors that cause issues with your computers. As we pointed out above the three tell tale signs are;
- Computer feeling warm to the touch
- Computer getting slower over time
- Computer start up is slow
If you have a laptop, then you might notice warm air continuously blowing out the side or the back. Also you’ll notice the fan running all the time.
So let’s break this down a little.
Your Computer is Warm to the Touch
It’s a little less common to notice with desktops than with laptops. This is because we usually don’t have the desktop so close to us.
But a good practice is to touch the side of your computer after it is running for a few hours.
If you notice that your desktop is warm to the touch, it could be struggling to cool the system.
With Laptops we’ll usually notice this straight away because we tend to be closer to them.
This is usually a sign that too much dust has collected inside the computer and it is unable to keep the system cool.
Your Desktop or Laptop Fan is Noisy
This is a sure sign that your computer has not seen maintenance for a long time. Dust has settled inside the cooling fan and is starting to create friction.
There are generally two to three fans in a desktop and one in every laptop.
If any of these fans starts making a noise, then it is best to perform a service to that machine as soon as possible.
Once the fans are unable to keep the system cool, you’ll start experiencing system restarts.
The danger with the system rebooting all the time is that it can damage your windows operating system.
You’re also likely to start losing data and having to redo a lot of your recent work.
If this continues long enough, then you’ll start experiencing blue screens. At this point your productivity will grind to a halt.
Viruses and Malware Infections
We all get virus or malware infections from time to time. These can be picked up from websites that are not properly secured.
Also a lot of people like to go onto torrent sites to download movies, music and pirated software.
These sites increase the chances of your pc being infected with some nasty software.
The software downloaded from these sites are normally riddled with infections of all types.
If you’re unfortunate, you may even get a payload that infects your entire network or even some ransomeware.
What your staff needs to understand is that pirated software may be nice to have.
But hackers don’t give away stuff for nothing. It’s an opportunity for them to take over your windows operating system.
A Full Hard Drive
Whenever a hard drive has more than 50-70% of it’s drive space filled with data and files, it will begin to slow down.
Thereafter, the more data you save to the drive, the worse things will get.
Also many times people like to install software and then discover that they don’t want to use it after all.
Rather than remove the unused software, they’ll just leave it installed.
They also forget to remove application installers once they have installed the software.
All this contributes to the hard drive filling up with useless files that won’t be used again.
A slow hard drive may also cause starting issues with your windows system as well as system problems.
Not Enough RAM Memory
Your computer has RAM. When you start your computer, it uses a certain amount of RAM to run the Windows Operating System.
The more programs that you run, or run in the background, the more your machine requires RAM.
The more software you install on your computer, the more RAM your pc will need to keep it running at it’s best.
Also, with time software and operating systems need updating. The updated Windows system places a further burden on the computer.
Eventually, you’ll need to add more RAM just so the computer can keep up with the software demands.
Schedule for Maintenance
The best computer maintenance plans will run every three to four months depending on the season.
During extremely dry or wet periods it is ideal to run maintenance every three months. This is due to the nature of dust and moisture.
Prior to our rainy season, here in Zimbabwe, we experience a very dry period. This allows the build up of dust and soot in the computer cooling systems.
Once the rains arrive, like we said, the moisture creates a bit of a paste and then dries solid.
Having a three to four month maintenance plan in place with altogether do away with these issues.
During the time that we’re performing the maintenance, we’ll be doing the following;
- Blowing out the entire desktop or laptop to remove all dirt
- A Complete clean the interior of the desktop
- Check and service to processor cooling fan
- Check and service the power supply cooling fan
- Run Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Software to Clean the Operating System
- Checking the performance of the system
- Remove unnecessary background programs
- Checking the remaining hard disk space
- Running an Operating System Software Repair
- Running a Partition Repair
- Updating the operating system
- Updating the Anti-Virus Software
- Backing Up Data where possible
- Checking network equipment
- Checking printing equipment
Many times servers goes unnoticed because they are usually stored away from people.
Servers have the most crucial data in the business and should be made part of the maintenance plan. They also need a good clean and dust needs to be blown out.
Users normally access the server from their own workstation. Whatever malware or virus infections they pick up on their own computers can easily transfer to the server.
The same service and maintenance should be performed on servers. That means that even the Windows Operating System should be checked.
Malware and Viruses removed, partition repairs done and data backup performed.
Printers also require to be made part of the maintenance plan. Due to they way they are built, dust and dirt easy build up inside them.
In most cases printers just need to be opened, cartridges and toners removed and should be blown out and cleaned thoroughly.
Sometimes paper clips and other foreign objects fall inside. If these objects are caught by one of the gears, a lot of damage can be done.
So these types of things can be cleared out during the clean.
Routers, switches and backup NAS devices should be checked during routine maintenance. NAS stands for Network Attached Storage.
NAS devices need to be cleaned like other computers. But more specifically, during maintenance, they need to be checked for available disk space.
Old data needs to be removed to make space for new data coming in. Hard Disks need to be checked for faults.
Results from Running Regular Maintenance
We check our records over a period of 5 years and here’s what we found. Customers who had asked us to run maintenance every four months had a 90% reduction in pc issues. At the same time they experienced a 10 – 15% increase in productivity.
Customers that had maintenance every 5 to 6 months had 50% less computer issues.
Customers who never had maintenance done on their computers for over a year had a 50% increase in computer repairs. As time went on, beyond two years they spent on average between 150 – 300% more per year on computer issues.
When repairs were needed on these computers, there was usually massive amounts of dust inside. In some cases the cooling fans were making noise and in other cases they were completely seized and needed replacement.
This goes to show that those who maintain their equipment see better results than those who respond only when something goes wrong.
Schedule Routine Maintenance for Your Computers
If you like what you see and you feel that you’d like us to handle these things for you, please feel free to call. You can contact us by phone or whatsapp on 0782 004 522. We’ll be happy to help you on a schedule that suits you.