Basic Hardware Tips
The troubleshooting tips provided here are to primarily solve an existing problem, not to create a
In case performing a certain action makes you uncomfortable, call in someone with more
expertise. And if you do decide to proceed with any of our Advanced Steps, please be careful
Points to remember while troubleshooting
• Prior to opening your computer’s case, check to see if the machine’s warranty is still valid.
If so, send it back to the manufacturer for repair, as digging around inside the case can
void the warranty.
• You may also try calling your PC’s manufacturer for tech support, especially if you’ve
already paid for it. Often, tech support can provide quick fixes or will replace faulty
components that are still under warranty. Many manufacturers offer online chat, email
support, and other options in addition to phone support.
• Take the appropriate safety measures, before making any hardware adjustments –
o First, purchase an antistatic wrist strap and mat. Static electricity can severely
damage your computer’s internal components.
o Keep the computer plugged into the wall but the power switch turned off when
working with its internal components.
o Remember to hold on to the metal part of the computer’s case when handling any
• Before you reset, remove, or replace any internal components, arm yourself with a
working knowledge of computer components, what they do, and how they interact with
• Location of the computers core internal components (hard disk drive, processor, RAM,
graphics card, etc.) vary from machine to machine, therefore knowledge of the same is
• Hardware, BIOS (basic input-output system, built-in software that controls the keyboard,
mouse, display, and other hardware and functions), firmware, and other software tools
vary by manufacturer.
• Keep all of your computer documentation, driver CDs, and warranty information in a safe
place. Be sure to use your computer’s manuals before changing any settings.
General Do’s and Don’ts
Always shut down your computer properly
Do regular Scan disk to check the hard disk surface for damage
Defragment the hard drive periodically
Delete all files and programs you no longer need from your computer
Use an anti-virus program to prevent a virus on you computer
Back up data to floppy disks or zip disks to ensure you have a copy
Do not eat around the computer
Do not drink around the computer
Do not use magnets around a computer
Taking Care of disks
Delete all files you no longer need from your disk
Use an anti virus program to scan for viruses on a disk
Do not try to erase and record information on a disk by write-protecting it
Do not use magnets around a disk
Do not separate the disk
Do not remove the disk while it is in use
Do not store in extremely hot or cold locations
Do not spill liquids on the disk
- Follow instructions in the manual or in help files that came with the computer or other
-Before cleaning anything, unplug it from the electrical wall socket
When to clean a computer
- Computers do not need to be cleaned too often if they are kept in a clean environment
-Clean the computer when it looks dirty or when a device (like a mouse) does not work
-The two things that need the most cleaning are the screen and mouse
Materials needed for cleaning a computer
- Most cleaning materials can be found in a home or any store
o soft lint-free cloth’s
o soapy water – a drop or two of dish washing detergent in a gallon of water
o cotton swabs
o water spray bottle to hold the soapy water
o used fabric softener cloth
- You may have to buy the following at a computer or office supply store
o floppy disk drive cleaner kit
o CD-ROM drive cleaner kit
o compressed air
Cleaning the case and other plastic surfaces
- Use a damp lint-free cloth to clean the case.
o Spray the water on the cloth. NEVER SPRAY WATER ON A COMPUTER OR
OTHER ELECTRICAL DEVICES!
o Wipe the surfaces with the damp cloth.
- For more difficult marks use the eraser. An ink eraser works best
- For cracks and tight places, use a slightly damp cotton swab.
Cleaning a monitor’s screen
- Wipe the screen with the damp lint-free cloth
- Use a dry cloth to dry the screen.
- Use fabric softener cloth to help remove static charges on the screen.
o static charges attract dust to the screen.
o a fabric softener cloth has anti-static chemicals on it.
o wipe the screen very lightly with the used fabric softener cloth.
o Do not use a fresh fabric softener cloth. It will leave streaks.
Cleaning the keyboard
- Use a slightly damp cotton swab to clean in-between the keys.
- Wipe the outside of the keyboard with a damp cloth.
-Use compressed air to remove paper pieces and dust from under the keys.
-Do not take a keyboard apart to clean it! You may not get it back together again.
Inside the computer’s case
- The inside of the computer rarely has to be cleaned and it is not recommended that this be
-If you must clean inside your computer follow the following precautions:
o Be very careful. You can easily damage the computer or hurt yourself.
o Do not touch the chips or other electrical components.
o Use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust carefully.
o Use compressed air or the blower option on a vacuum cleaner to blow out dust and
– Floppy disk drives and other drives with removable media.
- Follow the instructions on the cleaning kit.
-Do not clean your drives too often, especially the floppy disk drive. The cleaning disk is
slightly abrasive and can wear down the drivers read/write heads.
Cleaning a mouse
Clean the outside of the mouse with a damp cloth.