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Brett Nordquist (Customer Experience Engineer)

Bring On The New Year

Written on January 20, 2017 by Brett Nordquist
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The start to a new year is a good time to review the health of your PC. Last weekend I pulled out my desktop PC and performed the following: 

1. Cleaned inside of case including fans. A can of compressed air and a few minutes is all it takes. Check out the video we created for more tips on cleaning your case and fans. 

2. Organized my cables using a couple of large black zip ties. I have to feed cable down through a small hole on my desk or getting them organized into one neat bundle helps keep them in place and my desk looking good. 

3. Cleaned my Corsair K95 mechanical keyboard and mouse with Q-Tips and rubbing alcohol. 

4. Tossed my old mouse pad and bought a new one. No need to attempt to clean mine when a new one is so cheap. 

5. Cleaned the screen and stands of my three monitor using these monitor wipes

I spent maybe an hour completing those five tasks. I was surprised at how much dust had accumulated in my case in the three months since I last cleaned it. I own a Puget Systems Serenity built in an Antec P183 case and getting it off the floor using this monitor stand has helped to reduce the amount of dust and dirt creep into the case. 

With that complete, I decided to take a look at how my computer was running. I use Dropbox to save my most critical documents and make them available across all my devices. But I hadn't taken a full system backup image in a while so I decided to start there. I have two backup drives in my Serenity and decided to save the backup image to one of them. 

Once that was done, I decided to use FileHippo to update my applications. I've used it for many years without any problems. It basically goes out and searches for updates to all your applications. If it finds updates, you can download and install them from within FileHippo. 

The last thing I did was test my battery backup (UPS). If you've invested a few thousand dollars (or much much) on a computer, it's wise to run it off a quality UPS. I decided on the APC Back-UPS BE750G. It comes with 10 outlets (5 battery backup, 5 surge), and simple-to-understand software that monitors the health of the backup including how much energy my PC is consuming.

To test it, I unplugged the APC and it immediately sounded an alarm and notified me that I had about 22 minutes of battery time before I should shut down my computer. Everything was in working order. 


I was feeling pretty good about the work I'd done to keep my computer running smoothly when I decided to run Windows Update. As luck would have it, one update hosed my system to the point where it would boot into windows but a number of services would not start. I was glad that I'd taken a full image backup two weeks earlier. Once I applied the backup image my system returned to normal.

In the meantime, Windows has installed a few updates without any issues. So I'm not exactly certain what happened, but having that full backup saved me many hours. 

What are some of the tasks you perform to keep your PC running well into the new year? 

Tags: Backup, Maintenance, Cleaning, Windows, Updates
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