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S Foskett

The purpose of this project is to aid computer users (weather novice or
advanced) to keep their systems running quickly and smoothly and to
prolong the productive life of your computer. The information in this
document is not meant to be exhaustive, but a beginners guide to PC

The information will be set out in sections that will be easy to understand
and follow.

 Safety with Computer Equipment.

 The importance of Maintenance.
 Virtual Cleaning.
 Physical cleaning.
 Planned Maintenance
 Virus Issues.

Electrical Safety
It is important to remember, that when using or working on any electrical
equipment that we follow a few simple rules to ensure our safety. Listed
below are some commonsense tips for you to follow before working on any
electrical equipment:

 Turn off the power.

 Unplug the flex. (power cord)
 Ensure any electrostatic charge is grounded.
 Do not remove any Panels with the power still on.

Remember Electricity kills!!

Q What is black and hangs out of
a computer?

A A technician that didn’t turn the

power off!!!!!

NB it is worth noting that you must shut down your computer correctly, do not just press the
power button as your files may be corrupted, and you will loose your unsaved work.

S Foskett

Operator Safety
Now it is time to think about your comfort and safety. Listed below are a
few points to help with your comfort and welfare.

 Ensure that your chair is properly adjusted.

 Feet should be on the floor and thighs parallel to the desk.
 Wrists should be supported.
 Back should be straight and not hunched over.
 The top of the monitor should be at eye level to avoid damage to the
 The monitor should be positioned in order to minimise glare.
 Take frequent breaks.

The Importance of Maintenance

The upshot of it is that computers cost money, and nothing ever lasts
forever. With this in mind it makes sense to do a little work and save what
can be a small fortune in repair bills at the local computer shop. So be
confident and over the coming pages I will give you what you need to
improve your computers longevity.

Virtual Cleaning
As much as we like Windows, it has to be said that it’s not the most efficient
piece of software ever written. Temporary files are scattered all over the
hard drive, hidden in obscure layers of directories, while power outages or
crashes leave bits of temporary data laying around that would otherwise be
deleted on normal shutdown.

This is where we really get going and make a difference to your machine.
There are several methods of achieving this outcome but as this is directed
at novices I have chosen what I think is the easiest. Remember before any
maintenance to back up all your work and create a restore point. Although
Windows has a backup utility some people prefer to use alternative
software. An alternative to Windows is Comodo Backup this is a free
program recommended by the magazine “Windows XP made easy” and can
be downloaded from It is also a good idea to back up
to an external hard drive.

It is a sad fact that many people do not make backups of their data. In
some cases the loss of data can be devastating, Photos, important
documents etc. Often the process of setting up backups is so fiddly that we
give up in despair. DO NOT GIVE UP It’s worth the effort.

S Foskett

Cleaning the Hard Drive

This operation is the first stage of cleaning out the rubbish on your hard
disk drive (normally drive C)

Click Start> My Computer> Right click Drive C:> Properties> Disk Clean up.
Let the machine go through the clean up, when it has finished, a new
window will appear showing you a list of files that can be deleted. Click in
the check box next to the file you want to delete, then click ok.

If you imaging your PC to be a filing cabinet. When you open a file it is
taken out of the cabinet. When files are returned to the cabinet Sometimes
they may not always be put back in the correct place. This is what happens
with our files on the computer, they therefore get fragmented. The next
operation is to re-file or defragment these files.

Click Start> All programs> accessories> System tools> Defragment Drive

In the defragment window click on analyse drive C then click ok. When the
drive has been analysed, it will give you a percentage of how much your
drive is fragmented and weather the drive needs to be defragmented, if it
does click ok and let the machine do its work. If not click close and move on
to the next stage.

My Documents/ Programs
Go through you’re my Documents folder and delete any files that you no
longer need and delete them.

Click Start> Control Panel> Add/Remove Programs. From the compiled list
and chose any programs that you no longer use. Be aware some
programs run in the background and are essential to the running of
your computer, so if you are not sure what it does, leave it and find
out. Any other programs that you do not want can be deleted.

Next from the icons on the left pick Add/Remove windows components, take
a look at what was installed on your machine at the same time as windows
and delete anything not needed.

S Foskett

Physical Cleaning
Why clean the inside of the computer? The simple answer is that dust kills,
it is one of the biggest causes of computer failure.
Now that we have got all of the junk off our machines and sorted out the
file system, its time to look at physically cleaning our computer equipment.
This is quite easily done and is not as technical as you may think, all you
need to do is follow a few simple rules.

 Make sure the power is off and the plug out.

 Do not touch any of the printed circuits inside the case.
 Do not have any liquids in the work area.
 Make sure you have everything ready for the job in hand

Spring Clean
 Start by removing the side panel (this may be held in place by
screws or a catch)
 Dust off the inside of the case using a small clean dry paint
 Dust off all the vanes of the fans and the heat sinks ( these
are the metal things with fins on)
 Using vac with a small nozzle and clean up the dust collected
so far.
 With a can of compressed air blow out any remaining dust
from the case.
 Replace the side cover
 Plug all the cables back in.
 Start up the PC
 Open any optical drive trays and wipe clean
 Clean the outside of the case.
 Clean the monitor screen (Using the appropriate wipes)
 Clean the keyboard using the paint brush.
 Remove the ball from the mouse and remove the lint build up
from the rollers.
 Dust off any printers and scanners
 Run a virus scan and definition update.

There are many utility programs that can be purchased that will do the
Virtual clean up for you, they are really good at what they do for the most
part, but if you are on a budget why spend X amount on software that you
don’t really need.

S Foskett

Planned Maintenance
Now that we have got our PC clean and running up to speed, it is worth
spending a little time each week keeping this up to date. It is therefore a
good idea to follow the schedule listed below

Every Week
 Run disk clean up in my computer.
 Clean & dust PC monitor printer etc.
 Update virus definitions and scan computer.

Every month
 As above but also.
 CD/DVD Drive trays.
 Vacuum dust from the vents on the PC case.

Every Three months

 Complete full systems clean up.

Virus Issues
Viruses come in many shapes and types and can be everybody’s worst

Buying anti-virus software used to be expensive but there are ways around

Vendor RRP Cheapest

Norton 360 £109 £15.00
Kaspersky £39.99 £4.99
Bit Defender £29.95 £8.99
McAfee £29.34 £11.25
At best they can be removed by your anti-virus software, at worst it can
mean wiping your hard disk clean and re-installing your operating system.

To give you an idea of how widespread the problem is, on the next page are
the results for virus attacks worldwide for January 2010.

S Foskett

Number of
Position Name computers
1 276021
2 197376
3 Virus.Win32.Sality.aa 169101
4 Net-worm.Win32Kido.ih 164421
5 109898
6 Trojan-Downloader.JS.Zapchast.m 65476
7 Trojan-Downloader.JS.Small.oj 64767
8 Downloader.WMA.GetCodec.s 63266
9 Trojan-Downloader.Win32.VB.eql 61852
10 Virus.Win32.Virut.ce 51944
11 not-a-virus:AdWare.Win32.Boran.z 51888
12 Virus.Win32.Induc.a 44432
13 39530
14 Packed.Win32.Krap.l 38944
15 38742
16 Worm.Win32.Mabezat.b 37365
17 36162
18 36149
19 Trojan-Dropper.Win32.Flystud.yo 35883
20 Packed.Win32.Black.a 35462
Total Number of Attacks 1618679

S Foskett

 Computer Active.
 Windows XP made easy.