Did you know that the average lifespan of a computer is falling? Experts predict that the lifespan of the average desktop will be under five years by 2027.
Of course, this predicted lifespan isn’t the whole story. Even the most sophisticated, high-end computers are designed to eventually fail, but there’s plenty you can do to preserve your device for longer.
That preservation starts with your computer’s hardware. Avoiding common computer hardware maintenance mistakes is crucial if you want to postpone the hunt for your next replacement. No matter what kind of computer you own, here are a few missteps to keep in mind.
1. Not Cleaning Your Computer
When most of us hear the phrase “cleaning your computer,” our mind jumps to the device’s cluttered desktop. However, this is far from the only part of your device you should clean!
If you aren’t careful, dust and other airborne debris can build up inside your computer. These tiny particles may seem minor, but a large enough accumulation can cause big problems. Dust makes it more difficult for your device to cool itself down, and it can even keep certain hardware components from working as they should.
To maintain your computer well, it’s a good idea to have a few computer cleaning supplies handy:
- microfiber cloth or duster
- plastic tweezers
- keyboard cleaning gel
- electronic wet wipes or a device-friendly screen cleaning spray
- contact cleaner
If you prefer, you can even opt for a computer cleaning kit to get everything you need in one fell swoop.
Depending on your household’s air quality, you’ll want to clean your computer at least once every three to six months. This can help protect its internal and external components as well as any accessories.
2. Ignoring Signs of Hardware Malfunctions
No one likes to hear strange sounds coming from their computer, and many of us will even ignore error messages as long as our device otherwise continues to run as it should.
However, refusing to address these red flags may make the problems even worse. You may find yourself fixing computer damage or replacing computer parts if you aren’t careful. Worse, if a minor issue snowballs into something catastrophic, you may even have to deal with data loss.
Here are a few common issues worth scrutinizing:
- An overheating computer
- Strange sounds, especially from your fan
- A frozen screen, either temporary or permanent
- A screen image distortion
- Keyboard or touchpad issues on a laptop
- A laptop battery that drains much faster than usual
- Static sounds from the speakers
- RAM faults
- Obvious cracks in the device’s hinges or casing
If you aren’t sure what to do about these issues, it may be time to bring your device to an expert for computer repairs. Some professionals will also do a basic cleaning of your computer, which allows you to get a fresh start once they hand your device back to you.
3. Mishandling Your Computer
We’ve all been there: one wrong spill and you’re frantically mopping coffee off of your keyboard. Mishandling your computer is a common issue when it comes to hardware, but there are a few things you can do to minimize your risk.
First, get into the habit of treating your device well. Don’t place objects on top of your computer, for example, and use drink containers with caps when you’re working. Use clean hands on your keyboard, keep pets away from your device, and stop using your laptop on your bed.
Second, use preventative tools. If you have a laptop, getting a case can help protect your fragile screen if you ever drop the device. A keyboard cover can also protect your keyboard from accidental spills.
Last, know what to do if the worst should happen. This may include everything from saving a laptop from liquid damage to knowing what to do if your desktop overheats.
4. Forgetting About Power Surges
Power surges can be dangerous for any computer. In some cases, they may cause minimal damage like data loss. In others, they may even fry your motherboard and render your device useless.
These surges can happen for a variety of reasons. Often, they happen after a power outage as the electricity comes back on. They can also happen when large appliances wreak havoc on a home’s electrical system, or they may be the result of shoddy electrical wiring.
If you don’t already have a surge protector, now is a great time to get one. These devices help stabilize the power flowing to your device, even when a sudden flood of electricity comes through.
Note that surge protectors are not the same as power strips: not all power strips offer surge protection. However, many of the best surge protectors come as a power strip to allow you to protect multiple devices at once.
5. Not Caring for the Battery
If you have a laptop, its battery needs just as much care as the rest of the system.
Modern lithium-ion batteries are much better than their older relatives, but they still need attention. Experts agree that it’s a good idea to avoid letting your battery discharge below 20%. This can help you keep from straining your system.
In addition, you’ll want to keep your computer as cool as possible. Don’t use your laptop in a position where you’re blocking the vents, and avoid leaving it in a hot car. This can help you avoid unwanted computer maintenance costs like replacing an ailing battery.
Avoid These Computer Hardware Maintenance Mistakes
The modern computer is a technological marvel, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need some extra protection. If you want to enjoy your device for longer, avoiding the computer hardware maintenance mistakes above can help. From regular cleanings to choosing the right surge protector, even small changes can make a huge difference in your computer’s lifespan!