DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

May 5, 2015

PC Spring Cleaning, Part 1

I realized several weeks ago that I had never provided you with a Spring Cleaning plan for your computer.  So guess what?  Today we start cleaning your system for better performance.

The first thing you want to do is to unplug your computer.  This includes the power, speakers, keyboard, printer, thumb drive, wireless mouse connectors and anything else plugged into your system.  Get a can of compressed air or three.  The following information is for desktop computers.  For notebooks you can perform pretty much the same steps but DO NOT take it apart unless you are a pro or daring.

Take your keyboard, turn it upside down and give it a good shake to dislodge stubborn food particles.  (Yes, I know you eat and drink over your keyboard.)  If you have a long, thin brush, use it between the keys. Whether you have a brush or not use the compressed air to blow everything out as much as possible.  Just use compressed air for the notebook keyboards.

Dirt on KeyboardSome people remove the keys and wash them.  Although I have never done this, you may try if you wish. Pry them up carefully (DO NOT do this on a notebook!).  After they are removed you may wash them anyway you deem feasible even using a nonabrasive soap and warm water.  Make sure they are thoroughly rinsed and dried before putting them back…in the correct order of course.

For the mouse you may just use a damp cloth and wipe it down, drying thoroughly again before using.  If you have an old "ball" mouse, go buy a new laser mouse for $15.   

Look around the sides and back of your desktop for thumb screws or regular screws.  Usually there are two, which when unscrewed allow you to slide the side off of your computer.  Unscrew them and remove the side.  If you have questions search online for how to open your computer for cleaning by make and model. 

For this step take your computer outside of your house.  Make absolutely sure you discharge all static electricity before touching anything on the inside of the computer.  A static "pop" inside your computer could be a costly mistake.  I still recommend keeping touching to a minimum.  Although, barring static electricity, you can touch anything in there lightly without damage. 

Dirty ComputerIf you have not done this before you may find a tremendous amount of dust, pet fur, hair, etc. in your computer.  (Check the DoubleClicks.info site for photos.)  It needs to be cleaned out very well.  Dirt causes overheating by blocking vents and sticking to components which makes everything thing run hot and slow and causes repairs.  Get out your can(s) of air and blow as much of this dirt out as you can.  Get every bit of it out it will help significantly.

For notebooks, just use compressed air anywhere you can reach, even in the vents.  In a notebook blow in the intake vents and it will come out the other vents.  If you cannot determine which is which search online for your notebook’s make and model. This is not as thorough as taking it apart but it is much safer and is better than nothing. 

January 22, 2013

Select Text…Maybe

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:02 am

Demo of selecting text

I recently received an email from Bev which at first seemed very strange.  She said, "Recently, when I select a portion of text to change it such as bold it, delete it, etc. — the selection won’t hold."  At first I thought it was just in Word and figured that possibly her Word documents were opening in "Read Only" mode.  When you have a file that is "Read Only" it basically means you can read the file fine but you cannot edit it.  This was not her issue since she said that it also happened in email, Word and just about anywhere on her computer when trying to select text.  The problem was intermittent; sometimes she could select text, sometimes not, and other times it was a fight to get it to work at all. 

I believe it all came down to the mouse, but why could a mouse cause this weird issue?  First, it depends on the type of mouse you have.

The older wired mouse with a ball built into the bottom, which is used to track the cursor around the screen, has always caused issues.  Think about it, the little weighted ball rolls around the whole time you use your mouse.  It touches whatever surface you are "mousing" on.  Regardless of whether the surface is very clean or very dirty the mouse ball will get grubby over time.  If a dirty surface, the ball picks up dried up coffee spills, grit, toast crumbs, Disassembled mouseetc.  Even if it is a clean surface you are still going to pick up dust and lint over time.  This collection of grime gets pulled up into the mouse and wraps around the little rolling bars which make the cursor move on your screen.  It is fairly easy to clean by turning the mouse over, turning the ring with arrows in a counterclockwise direction, pulling it off, shaking the ball out and with tweezers or a toothpick removing any junk you can see.  I do not recommend using a q-tip swab since they can add a few more particles to the mechanics.

What if you have a wireless mouse and there is no ball?  Dirt can still get on the little window on the bottom of the mouse, which replaced the ball.  Clean it with a lint free cloth or maybe a slightly damp cloth. 

Sometimes, depending on which type of wireless mouse you have, the surface you are mousing on could cause a problem.  If it is a very shiny or glass surface, try putting a piece of paper under it to see if that improves the action.  Sometimes, though not often, it could also be caused by a heavily patterned surface, so check that also.

However, the biggest issue with the wireless mouse and it not working properly is usually the battery.  Batteries in the newer wireless mice last a long time.  I have a couple that have lasted over a year.  Since they are so dependable we sometimes forget about the batteries.  So when you have a "tracking" problem like sometimes being able to select text and sometimes not…check the battery.  I am pretty sure that will be your problem.

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