Having a computer maintenance checklist is essential whether you’re a computer repair technician or just a user that needs to be reminded of essential PC maintenance duties. If you are a technician, the checklist tells your client that you’re professional and thorough. Using a maintenance checklist as you go through the list helps ensure your computer is getting the preventative work it needs to stay in top running shape. The checklist below is meant to be followed in order, starting with the hardware and working your way into the Windows Operating system.
Computer Hardware Maintenance
Before you begin, you’ll want to take note of the computer’s surroundings. Is it in an enclosed area? Is it sitting directly on the floor where it can pickup hair, dust and other debris? Is it sitting in direct sunlight or in an area that can experience extreme temperature shifts? If this is a client’s computer, explain the importance of keeping the computer in a clean, temperature controlled environment.
- Check to make sure the computer, monitor and printer are all plugged into a surge protector.
- Take a moment to jot down all makes, models and serial numbers of the computer components so the client has them in case a repair is needed or there is some other type of emergency.
- Wipe down the monitor, keyboard and mouse with cleaner specifically used for this task. An example would be these alcohol-free screen wipes.
- Flip keyboard over and shake out debris. Blow out keys and mouse using canned compressed air.
- Clean external intake grills in the front and in the back of the PC with compressed air. Be sure to get the power supply grill and exhaust fan.
- Unplug and open the case. Use a computer vacuum or compressed air to remove dust and debris from internal fans and case.
- Check connections to devices, make sure cables provide unobstructed airflow.
- Clean optical drive using a CD / DVD lens cleaner.
You want to be careful not to cause any problems when performing computer maintenance on hardware. Moving a PC around, not properly grounding yourself, or causing damage to a wire or card can all cause problems that did not exist before.
Computer Software Maintenance
Now that the outside of the case is clean and the PC is running cool, log into Windows using an account that has administrative access. By performing the following software maintenance, you can be sure Windows will be secure and optimized for speed.
- Run Windows Update if the computer is not already configured to obtain these updates automatically.
- Update virus definitions or install an antivirus if the computer needs one. Our free recommendation is Microsoft Security Essentials.
- Locate and remove old programs or trial software.
- Update web browser to the current version.
- Clean browser temp files. In IE, open browser and click Tools, then Internet Options. Under the General tab, click Delete under Browsing History for more options.
- Run Disk Cleanup to remove temporary files and empty Recycle Bin. Start>All Programs>Accessories>System Tools>Disk Cleanup.
- After Disk Cleanup, run Disk Defragmentor from same location.
- Backup data–pictures, movies, music and email to an external device.
Technicians should always perform this maintenance on new client’s machines upon first visit. Home users can run this checklist monthly. Having a computer maintenance checklist is an essential way to make sure you are doing all of the things necessary to keep your computer secure and performing at peak speeds.
For your convenience, we’ve created a PDF of this checklist for you to print out and use. Download the computer repair checklist.