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What Not To Do To Your Computer
By:Duncan Kelly

There are some things that Computers really don't enjoy. If you avoid these computer--aggressive actions, your PC should reward you with a longer lifespan and less system crashes.

Don't just switch off the power to a computer running Windows. Quite a lot of data is only saved to the hard drive when you shut down, and not before, so you may loose data by just switching off. You also run the risk of corrupting your hard drive, which may be catastrophic.

Don't eject stiffy disks when the drive light is still on - the read/write heads of a stiffy make direct contact with the stiffies magnetic surface, and a rough eject could damage this surface.

When using a rewriteable CD or DVD, eject the disk using the software eject method, ie, click on the eject item on your desktop, don't just push the button on the front of the CD drive. This applies especially to operating systems prior to XP.

Don't try and eject a CD using the little hole on the front and a paper clip when the computer is on - switch the computer off first, then you can stick a wire in the hole and encourage the CD to come out. (Note that this action should only be used when the CD does not come out using conventional means)

Do not connect and disconnect the keyboard, mouse or anything on the COM ports (serial ports) while the computer is running - sometimes you can get away with this, other times it hangs the computer. On the other hand, USB ports are designed to be hot-pluggable, which means you can plug and unplug a USB device anytime you like.

Don't work on your computer for more than an hour without raising your eyes from the screen and focussing on a distant object - this helps prevent eye strain.

Don't get liquid, especially sticky liquid, into your keyboard. Try not to eat or drink over the keyboard, or if you do, cover it with cling wrap plastic to protect it.

Don't put strong magnets near to stiffy disks, and don't leave CD disks in the sun - this causes data loss, and shortens the life expectancy of the disks.

Don't hit the side of the computer when it irritates you - the hard drives, when running, are fairly fragile, and a blow in anger could cause a mechanical crash of The heads of your hard drive, which is an unrecoverable fault.

Don't force any disk into a drive or CD drive - if it doesn't go in, there's usually a reason for that.

Don't cover up any ventilation holes with paper or labels or books - your computer needs all the air it can get, and then some.

Don't leave your phone line plugged into your modem during a lightning storm - it will be cooked 60% of the time, unless you have really good surge arrestor equipment protecting it.

Don't let fluff build up. Vacuum the back of your PC every so often. Fluff packs up against the fan housing over time and reduces the air flow, causing your PC to run hot.

Make sure your "System Restore" system is switched on. This enables you to go back to a previous state of your computer if something goes drastically wrong after an installation of a new program, or a virus attack, for example.

Although this is not an exhaustive list, it will definitely help your computer to run happily for longer.

Duncan Kelly

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