Computers are a lot more fragile than we give them credit for. We sometimes tend to think of them as being unbreakable, infinite, and able to withstand anything. But that’s not the case. The inner and outer workings of your computer need care and attentiveness, because they are very easy to ruin. So easy, in fact, we’ve laid out 6 very simple ways you can ruin your computer.
(Hint: Don’t do that –> )
1. Don’t clean it.
You would never sleep in a dirty bed, or eat from a dirty plate, or wear dirty clothes (at least, we hope not, for the sake of your co-workers), so why would you use a dirty computer? Computers need to be cleaned, just like everything else you use, from your furniture to dishes to clothes. If you don’t take the time to dust and clean your computer, dirt, lint, and dust will build up over time, and will severly inhibit performance on your computer. If the buildup gets so bad it can even cause your computer to break.
Be sure to clean your computer at least a few times a month, if not every week. Dust all of it, even the parts that might be a pain to reach (chances are those are the most vulnerable parts), use a screen cleaner to wipe off the screen, and used compressed air to clean off the keyboard. You will be amazed what manages to slip between the keys.
2. Don’t ever reboot.
There are some computer companies that like to boast that you don’t ever need to turn their computer off. While it might be the case that leaving a computer on won’t necessarily have an impact on things like battery life, rebooting is still important. It allows your computer to take a rest, and, when you turn it back on, it will automatically apply any updates that are needed. Updates are really important to keep your computer running as smooth as possible. Without the necessary updates your computer’s performance will slow down, maybe even to the point of being unusable. This is the very reason we recommend to all our clients to reboot their computers once a week.
Personally, I reboot my computer on Friday, before I leave. That way all the updates can happen, but I’m not stuck waiting for my computer to apply everything. And, when I come in on Monday morning, my computer is ready to go!
3. Never Defrag.
Defragmenting your computer, in the simplest definition, helps create space. Think of your computer as a filing cabinet. You pull things out when you need them, and don’t necessarily put them back in the right place. Well, sooner or later that filing cabinet is going to become very messy, with papers all over the place, and it will take a long time to find what you need. When you defrag your computer, you are telling your computer to organize everything and put it where it is supposed to go. Regularly defragging your computer helps with performance speed and allows you to store even more data on your computer.
Check with your IT support on this one, because most companies have all the office computers scheduled to defrag automatically. But, if your computer ever starts running really slow, defragging it is one of the first steps of troubleshooting.
4. Expose it to the elements.
Computers, and really any electronic devices, are very sensitive to weather and temperature changes. Leaving a computer in a car when it is really cold, or really hot, is a very simple way to damage your computer. And obviously, try not to let your computer get rained on, snowed on, etc. Computer equipment needs to be kept in a sustained temperature environment, to the best of your ability. Does this mean that you should never take your laptop traveling with you? Of course not. But if there is a blizzard, or a heat wave, don’t leave your computer overnight in your car. Your computer can overheat or freeze up easier than you might think, so it is important to be aware of your environment.
5. Plug it directly into the wall.
This might seem like a strange way you can ruin your computer, but it is one of the easiest. If you have your computer plugged directly into a wall outlet, and there is a power surge, perhaps during a big storm, that surge will fry the motherboard of your computer. However, it is important to note here that power surges can occur even when a storm is not happening, so you can’t really predict them. That’s why you need to protect your computer by not plugging it directly into the wall. We recommend having a middle-man between the wall outlet and your computer, like a UPS or a surge protector. And, if you are working remotely and have your laptop plugged into the wall, it is a good idea to remove it during a big storm and let your laptop run off of the battery.
6. Shut it down improperly, and often.
Waiting for a computer to shut down can be really annoying. Especially if your computer is a bit older, or a bit slow, the process can seem to take forever. But, this shutdown cycle is really important to the well-being of your computer. If you shut it down the wrong way, you risk corrupting the operating system, and doing permanent damage. These days, your computer goes through an automatic shutdown cycle, so the best thing to do is click to shut down your computer, and then just wait.
Occasionally your IT support might ask you to do a hard reboot of your computer (when the computer is frozen), which involves holding down the power button until your computer turns off. While there are situations where this is the best fix, you shouldn’t try this unless your IT support tells you to. And you especially don’t want this to be your go-to fix when something goes wrong with your computer. You will only end up doing more damage.
Computer technology is advancing at a rapid pace, and it can make us feel invincible- which in turns leads us to believe our computers are invincible as well. But, this is not the case. Computers need to be cared for and handled in the right way, otherwise, you may find yourself buying a new computer way too often.
Ok, time to ‘fess up. Which one of these steps are you guilty of? Let us know in the comments!