A microcomputer system presents a sizable investment-from a few hinders to a few thousand dollars abuse and failures. Most microcomputer problems can be prevented by regular maintenance. Maintaining a system property-on an ongoing basis-is easy, and will pay for itself many times over by reducing hardware malfunction and data loss and increasing the life of your computer.
In this section you will learn how to maintain your microcomputer system by following some simple procedures and words of advice.
Computer systems should be kept in an environment with as constant a temperature as possible. In cold climates, where office temperatures are controlled by an automatic thermostat causing warmer temperature during the day and much cooler temperatures at night, microcomputers tend to have the most system failures. The ideal room temperature for microcomputers ranges from 60 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit when the system is on and from 50 to 110 degrees when the system is off. But maintaining a constant temperature in an environment is more important than the number of degrees.
The following problems can eventually occur if a microcomputer system is subjected to substantial temperature changes in short amounts of time:
# The chips inside the system unit can work their way out of their sockets in the system boards in addition the chip connectors can corrode more quickly so that they become brittle and crack.
# Hard disks suffer from dramatic changes in temperature, which can cause read/write problems. If a new hard disk drive has been shipped in a cold environment, manufactures usually recommend that users wait for a few hours to a day before operating the hard disk.
These problems are caused by the expansion and contraction that naturally occurs when materials are heated and then cooled. The bottom line is that changes in temperature are stressful for microcomputer systems. Therefore don’t place your system near heating vents, in direct sunlight, or directly in front of cold-air blasts. If you use removable hard disk cartridges that have been in a cold car, for example, let them-and you computer-return to room temperature before you use them.
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Computer Systems: A Programmer’s Perspective (3rd Edition)
Computer Systems: A Programmer’s Perspective (3rd Edition)
Sudden change in temperature can cause lasting damage to a computer system. When a computer system is turned in, in is subjected to the most extreme change in temperature-computers ate relatively cool when they are off and become quite warm when they are turned on. For this reason, the fewer times a system has to be turned on the longer it will remain in good working order. Ideally, keep the system on all day so that it is turned on and off only once each day.
One math that we would like to dispel is that leaving a microcomputer system on will wear down a hard disk. By running a hard disk continuously, you are greatly reducing any stress on the drive due to temperature variation. This will reduce the potential of any read/were failures that are caused by such variations and increase the life of the drive.
If you do leave your system on for long periods without using it, turn the monitor off; otherwise make sure that the screen automatically goes black after a few minutes if the keyboard or other input device isn’t used. Most manufacturers now include this feature with their computer systems if not, special software is available that will do this for you. If you have an old screen that doesn’t go blank, the phosphors in the screen can burn, leaving a permanent image in the screen. The monitors in airports that display flight information still sometimes show these phosphor burn effects. Some software includes a screen-saver utility; screen saver programs may also be purchased separately-for example, flying toasters and minty pythons complete waste of time screen saver featuring figures from the ministry of silly walks or Floating Elephants.
Many users plug a number of different system components into power strip that contains an number of different plug outlets. How every certain types of equipment, including coffee makers, laser printers, and copy machines can cause voltage spikes which can so damage to a computer that is connected to the same line. Therefore, its best to keep your computer on a line separate from other equipment, including your printer. If you must connect peripheral equipment on the same power line, turn in that equipment before turning in the computer. Make sure your circuits will bear the load.
If your computer is in an environment that is susceptible to p0ower surges or power outages, you should plug your system into a surge suppressor or uninterruptible power supply. Surge suppressors are devices into which you can plug your microcomputer system and which in turn are connected to the power line. Costing between $20 and $200, surge suppressors help protect the power supply and other sensitive circuitry in your computer system from voltage spokes. An uninterruptible power supply is also used to protect your hardware from the damaging effects that a power surge can have on your computer system running for around 8-30 minutes, providing you with plenty of time to save your woke and shut the system down. The cost of a ups system is determined by the amount of time it can continue to provide power to your computer system after the power has been cut off. Prices are around $100.
Some industry experts say that the electrical distribution infrastructure in North America will be overtaxed by the year 2000. Thus surge suppressors soon will not provide enough protection for computer users against blackouts and brownouts as a result ups will increase in popularity and perhaps soon will be “bundled” microcomputers and will have longer battery lives than they have now.
As an experiment when your computer is in light a match in front of a diskette drive and notice where the smoke goes. The smoke is inhaled by the system unit.
Most microcomputers are configured with a fan inside the system unit. The fan is mounted near the power supply and causes air to be down into the system unit through any possible opening and then blown out. Systems are designed this way to allow even cooling of the microcomputer system. Unfortunately, in this process dust, smoke, and any other pollutants in the air drawn into the system unit. Over time these particles will insulate the system unit and prevent it from cooling property. In addition, some of these particles can conduct electricity, causing minor electrical shorts in the system. (However, be sure not to block the vents, otherwise the system will overheat.)
Diskette drives are especially susceptible to dust and other pollutants because they provide a large hole through which air glows. The read heads in the disk drive won’t work accurately if they are contaminated with foreign particles. (Hard disks aren’t at risk because they are stored in airtight container.) For this reason, many companies enforce no smoking policies in rooms where computers are present.
If you want to clean the diskette drives in your computer system (the read write heads can become dusty over time, and dust can rescue the reliability with which they can store and retrieve data), and easy method does.
Some industry experiment when your computer is on light a match in front of a diskette drive and notice where the smoke gees. The smoke is inhaled by the system unit!
Most microcomputers are configured with a fan inside the system unit. The fan is mounted near the power supply and causes air to be drawn into the system unit through any possible opening and then blown out. Systems are designed this way to allow even cooling of the microcomputer system. Unfortunately, in this process dust, smoke, and any other pollutants in the air drawn into the system unit .over time these particles will insulate the system unit and prevent it from cooling property. In addition, some of these particles can conduct electricity, causing minor electrical shorts in the system (however, be sure not to block the vents; otherwise the system will overheat.
Diskette drives ate especially susceptible to dust and other pollutants become they provide a large hole through which air flows. The read heads in the disk drive wont woke accurately if they are contaminated with foreign particles. (Hard disks aren’t at risk because they are stored in airtight containers.) For this reason many companies enforce no smoking policies in rooms where computers are present. If you want to clean the diskette drives in your computer system (the read heads can become dusty over time and dust can reduce the reliability with which they can store and retrieve data) an easy method does exist. You must first purchase a head cleaning disk from a local computer store. Head cleaning disks come in two basic styles that is wet or dry the wet cleaning disk uses a liquid cleaning agent that has been squirted onto the disk and the dry-cleaning disk uses an abrasive material that has been put onto the cleaning disk. Most computer professionals recommend using the wet system because the dry system can actually damage the read/written heads of the disk if it is used too often. To use a cleaning disk simply put it into the disk drive and run a program (that is stored on the disk drive) to make the disk spin when the disk spins in the disk drive the read/write heads touch the surface of the cleaning disk and are wiped clean in a clean office environment, diskette drives should be cleaned about once a year. Some technical professionals recommend cleaning the diskette drives twice a year in a smoking environment diskette drive should be cleaned every 3-6 months.