Doing maintenance on your PC periodically can help keep routine problems at bay, and Clean Out Your Computer Day offers an official reason to do it. It comes each year on the second Monday in February; this year, it’s Feb. 9.
Check with your IT department to see if they have a procedure they want you to follow. With that information in hand, consider these expert tips for keeping your PC running in top form.
Make sure the hardware is clean, says Alex Miller, lead technician at OMG Tech Help. “Use compressed air to blow out excess dust from vents and other components while the machine is turned off,” he recommends.
A vacuum cleaner also works as long as it’s not too powerful; too much force can damage delicate components, says Tim Lynch, president of Psychsoftpc.
Don’t use any liquid cleaners, Lynch warns. “A cotton swab can be used and dipped in acetone for stubborn surface dirt, but be careful not to get any on vital components,” he says. A cotton swab is also good for cleaning the laser diode on the bottom of your computer’s mouse.
Open up the case to get the dust bunnies out, Lynch says, remembering not to use any liquids on the inside.
When you get to the software side of the cleanup process, Miller recommends using a built-in utility such as Disk Cleanup to remove temporary files that can slow your operating system down. And to check if your software is up-to-date, check with the manufacturer’s website, he says.