Well, so far I’ve written that I sometimes enjoy cleaning stuff, and also about me being a bit of a techie and about my preference for desktop PCs. Combine the two, and you get another activity I regularly do on my free time: clean my PC.

Now, I depend a lot on my home PC to get most of my work done, so I pretty much have to make sure that my PC is in top shape. I’ve learned how to install and re-install the OS; I’ve learned how to pick, install, and set-up antivirus software and firewalls; I’ve learned how to use various maintenance programs; but most importantly, though, I’ve learned how to take apart and clean my CPU case. (Also, I’ve learned that a lot of guys are incredulous at the thought of a girl knowing how to maintain a PC—even if they have never seen the insides of a desktop tower themselves.)

Anyway, PCs, just like any other electronic gadget, will gather dust. Dust hampers heat dispersion, and less-than-optimum heat dispersion will eventually wear out your computer’s internal components. So, a regular cleaning is called for. I’ve learned how pretty much through trial and error, with quite a few of the latter that sometimes ended up with me having to buy new components. However, I now have a standard routine that I do every time.

First up, after removing all monitors (I use a dual-monitor setup; this is incredibly useful for writers, copywriters, and translators), peripherals (keyboards, mice, modems, etc.), I take the CPU tower outside and open the case. Even when placed in an air-conditioned room, a PC will gather a lot of dust, so if you ever try to clean the insides of your desktop, a handkerchief to cover your mouth and nose would be handy. In the past, I would carefully remove all the components inside (the graphic card, hard disks, memory, heat sinks, etc.) and carefully clean them with a small brush and one of those small air balloons that you clean a keyboard with. Nowadays, however, I use a blower machine that I bought on my last birthday. Yes, I’m a girl, and my last birthday gift was a power tool… :)

However, if you’re dealing with a PC that hasn’t been cleaned for, say, more than a year, you probably will need to take it apart. Oh, and the blower machine works perfectly for cleaning keyboards as well. If you’ve never seriously cleaned a keyboard before, you won’t believe the things you’ll find stuck in there.

After most of the dust has been blown away, I use a small brush to remove the last bits of stubborn particles, and then I replace the cover and bring it back into the house. By then I’m usually covered in dust, my throat and eyes would sting, but my PC would be sparklingly clean, and when it boots up, it’ll usually sound a lot quieter and run at a lower temperature.

More importantly, though, it feels satisfying. My computer will (probably… hopefully…) run better and last a bit longer, the sight of my dust free desktop tower looks nice, and taking a long bath after going through such a grimy routine feels terrific…

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