The best method of keeping a computer in good condition is to examine the computer on a regular schedule. This is a basic checklist of components to inspect.
- CPU heat sink and fan assembly - Examine the CPU heat sink and fan assembly for dust buildup. Make sure that the fan can spin freely. Check that the fan power cable is secure. Check the fan while the power is on to see the fan turn.
- RAM connections - The RAM chips should be seated securely in the RAM slots. Sometimes the retaining clips can loosen. Reseat them, if necessary. Use compressed air to remove dust.
- Storage devices - Inspect all storage devices. All cables should be firmly connected. Check for loose, missing, or incorrectly set jumpers. A drive should not produce rattling, knocking, or grinding sounds. Read the manufacturer’s documentation to learn how to clean the optical drive and tape heads. You can buy laser lens cleaning kits for computer optical drives. Tape head cleaning kits are also available.
- Adapter cards - Adapter cards should be seated properly in their expansion slots. Loose cards can cause short circuits. Secure adapter cards with the retaining screw or clip to avoid having the cards come loose in their expansion slots. Use compressed air to remove dirt and dust on the adapter cards and the expansion slots.
- Screws - Loose screws can cause problems if they are not immediately fixed or removed. A loose screw in the case can cause a short circuit or roll into a position where the screw is hard to remove.
- Cables - Examine all cable connections. Look for broken and bent pins. Ensure that all connector retaining screws are finger-tight. Make sure cables are not crimped, pinched, or severely bent.
- Power devices - Inspect power strips, surge suppressors (surge protectors), and UPS devices. Make sure that there is proper and unobstructed ventilation. Replace the power device if it does not work properly.
- Keyboard and mouse - Use compressed air to clean the keyboard, mouse, and mouse sensor.