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Computer maintenance is the practice of keeping computers in a good state of repair.
Computer valeting is the in-depth cleaning of the physical components of a personal computer. Usually performed by a computer repair technician, this service addresses the different ways that dirt builds up on four main components: the keyboard, the monitor, the mouse, and the tower/desktop unit. Computer cleaning involves physically cleaning the interior and exterior of a computer, including the removal of dust and debris from cooling fans, power supplies, and other hardware components. This should be after certain period of time (weekly/monthly). A computer containing accumulated dust and debris may not run properly.
Dust and other cruft may accumulate as a result of air cooling. Any filters used to mitigate this need regular service and changes. If the cooling system is not filtered then regular computer cleaning may prevent short circuits and overheating.
The crumbs, dust, and other particulate that fall between the keys and build up underneath are loosened by spraying pressurized air into the keyboard, then removed with a low-pressure vacuum cleaner. A plastic-cleaning agent applied to the surface of the keys with a cloth is used to remove the accumulation of oil and dirt from repeated contact with a user's fingertips. If this is not sufficient for a more severely dirty keyboard, keys are physically removed for more focused individual cleaning, or for better access to the area beneath. Finally, the surface is wiped with a disinfectant.
Fingerprints, water spots, and dust are removed from the screen with a cleaning wipe specialized for the screen type (CRT, LCD, etc.). A general plastic-cleaning agent is used on the outer casing, which requires a less gentle cleanser but may need more focused attention to unusual buildups of dust, grime, pen marks, etc. idiosyncratic to the user and environment.
The top surface of the mouse is wiped with a plastic cleanser to remove the dirt that accumulates from contact with the hand, as on the keyboard. The bottom surface is also cleaned to ensure that it can slide freely. If it is a mechanical mouse, the trackball is taken out, not only to clean the ball itself, but to scrape dirt from the runners that sense the ball's movement and can become jittery or stuck if impeded by grime.
The case is opened to expose the internal components, which accumulate dust brought in by the airflow maintained by fans to keep the PC from overheating. A soft brush is used throughout the case and components to remove as much loose dirt as possible; the remainder is dislodged with compressed air and removed with a low-pressure vacuum. The case is wiped down with a cleaning agent.
Important data stored on computers may be copied and archived securely so that, in the event of failure, the data and systems may be reconstructed. When major maintenance such as patching is performed, a backup is recommended as the first step in case the update fails and reversion is required.
Disk cleanup may be performed as regular maintenance to remove these. Files may become fragmented and so slow the performance of the computer. Disk defragmentation may be performed to combine these fragments and so improve performance.
In the United States of America, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act specifically exempts computer-maintenance activities, so copies of copyright files may be made in the course of maintenance provided that they are destroyed afterwards.
Software packages and operating systems may require regular updates to correct software bugs and to address security weakne
Depending on the environment, computers should be serviced at least once per quarter, though monthly service is optimal. Regular servicing helps computers provide their peak performance.
- Kent D. Stuckey (1996), Internet and online law, pp. 6–47