Olive Tree Genealogy is pleased to present the second of a three part series on Cleaning your computer by guest author Barbara Brown. This is something all genealogists need to do, including me!
Play nice with your computer. Part Two: Steps 3, 4, 5
© copyright Barbara A. Browm 2009.
Detach the keyboard from the computer. Remember where it was connected. If you do not trust your memory, write it down (e.g. 'blue round connector, left side, third from top'). Move away from the now-clean computer area. Hold the keyboard upside down over the paper bag. Run a finger across the rows of keys to release large bits caught between the keys. Now thump gently. Thump again. When no more more cracker crumbs, cigarette ashes, dog hair, matches, or toothpicks fall out, start vacuuming. Continue to hold the keyboard upside down, carefully bring the vacuum brush closer. We do not want to suck the key covers off, merely remove the dust, dirt and debris. Set the now pristine keyboard aside for a while.
Go and get the mouse. Again, note where it was attached. Open the back of the mouse (a slight twist on the central round cover will usually suffice). Do not lose the ball. Vacuum the inside. If there is gunk on the rollers, pry off with your fingernail. Vacuum again. Put the ball back in, the cover on, and leave the mouse by the keyboard.
Place the computer away from your clean desk upon some sheets of newspaper. Read your manual, or if you have discarded it, try to figure out how to get the cover off. Next time, save the manual. Remove the side panel. If you do not see dust, dog hair, cat hair, cookie crumbs, suspicious clumps, or anything else which looks like it does not belong there, congratulate yourself, replace the cover, and go to Step Six
If, however, the inside is murky, carefully vacuum NEAR the computer. You do not want to pull out ribbon connectors or wires or boards. (The replacement of loose connections is a topic which requires much more detail than can be provided here). Do NOT put the vacuum nozzle INTO the computer. Vacuuming thusly might cause static electricity, which is a definte no-no around computers. Put a large sheet of newspaper behind the computer tower. Ensure that nothing precious is behind the computer.
Remove the (usually plastic) cover from the fan. Carefully insert the screwdriver just far enough in to prevent the fan from turning. Take your can of compressed air and blow from inside to outside. When most of the gunk is gone, reverse and clean from outside to inside. Look around for another fan, and repeat the process. When the can of compressed air gets cold, put it aside and start using a new one. Spray carefully around the inside of the computer. Chase the dust and hair out of corners, off the cards, off the connectors.
Now carefully fold up that sheet of newspaper, discard it into the paper bag, and vacuum up whatever stray grit and dust came from the fan cleaning.
Coming next Play nice with your computer. Part Three: Steps 6 & 7
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