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Computer Tips

Keep dust out of your machine

Backup your hard drive regularly

Get you machine serviced regularly


Keep dust out of your machine

1. Processor overheating -- Modern processors generate a lot of heat. That's why all processors require some sort of cooling element, typically a fan of some type. When the processor temperature goes over spec, the system can slow down or run erratically. The processor fan may fail for several reasons:

  1. Dust is preventing the fan from spinning smoothly.
  2. The fan motor has failed.
  3. The fan bearings are loose and "jiggling".

Often you can tell if there is a fan problem by listening and/or touching the computer. A fan that has loose bearings starts jiggling and vibrates the case, making a characteristic noise. You may barely notice the noise at first, and it's common for even the experienced computer pro to overlook this change. But as time goes by, the sounds and vibrations will become so prominent that you'll change the fan out just to stop the racket!

You don't always need to replace the fan. If it is covered with dust, you can often spray away the dust with compressed air. Note that even though you might get the fan running again, its life span has likely been reduced because of the overwork. You should keep an extra fan in reserve in case of failure.

There are a number of utilities that will track the temperature of your processor and case.


Backup your hard drive regularly

3. Failing hard disk -- There are many signs of imminent failure before a hard disk finally gives up. Some of these signs include:

  1. Slow access times on the affected drive.
  2. An increasing number of bad sectors when running scandisk and chkdsk.
  3. Unexplained Blue Screens.
  4. Intermittent boot failures.

Detecting a failing hard disk can be tricky because the early signs are subtle. Experienced computer professionals can often hear a change in the normal disk spin. After the disk deteriorates further, you'll see the system crawl to a standstill. Write processes will take a long time as the system tries to find good blocks to write to. (This will occur if youíre using a robust file system such as NTFS; other file systems will likely Blue Screen the computer.)

When you notice the system slow down, run scandisk or chkdsk, depending on your operating system. If you notice a bad sector where a good sector existed earlier, that's a clue that the disk is going bad. Back up the data on the disk and prepare for it to fail soon. Make sure you have a spare disk ready so you can replace it when it fails, or replace the disk as soon as you notice the early signs of failure.

Disk noise and scandisk/chkdsk are your best indicators for identifying a failing drive that's leading to a system slowdown. However, if you are managing a system remotely, or you canít take the system down for a full chkdsk/R, you can use tools that monitor disk health, such as Executive Software's DiskAlert.


Get you machine serviced regularly

How much time would you lose if your machine failed today?

Would it take 1 or 2 days to get your office back in order.

There are solutions that can minimise the impact of Hardware Failure.
Other problems can be equally disasterous -:

  1. Faulty Ram.
  2. Power surges.
  3. Motherboard failure.
  4. Hard drive failure.

Anyone who has experienced any of the above may have benefitted from a preventative maintenance scheme. Contact us for further information.

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