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10 Tips to Extend Your Computer’s Life
The author of "PCs for Dummies" provides practical tips for your PC investment.
10 Tips for PCs also offers free PC Diagnostic and PC Health Reports in the Resource Center to help you determine overall PC health and identify areas of potential risk.
July 11, 2008 by Rachel Cericola

If you’re anything like me, you’ve had your fair share of computers. In fact, I think I’ve had more desktops and laptops in the past five years than I’ve had dogs over my entire lifetime—and I get just as attached!

Instead of swapping out hardware every few years (or months), there are ways to take care of your trusty PC. Of course, you don’t want to give it to the monkey in that old American Tourister commercial. That seems pretty obvious. There are a few other tips that may not be so apparent. asked Dan Gookin, author of the “PCs for Dummies” series, to provide a list of 10 things consumers can do to extend the life of their computers. Here’s what he came up with:

1) Clean out the case. The fuzz, the dog fur, dust and other funk traps heat. Gookin just says to make sure you unplug the PC before you open the case. Then you can use one of those cans of air or a vacuum to clear out the crud.

2) Clean up the digital detritus. Know that Disk Cleanup tool that comes with Windows? There’s a reason for it—try using it once in a while. Manually deleting old content works well too.

3) Add more memory. Unless your PC is packed, install more RAM. “Your computer will love it,” Gookin says. “You will love it.”

4) Backup your files. As computers age, the hard drive goes. Run a backup program regularly. It also doesn’t hurt to have a second copy—especially if your stuff is irreplaceable.

5) Add a second hard drive. A second drive is perfect for backup. It also wouldn’t hurt to have it on hand, in case your original drive bites the dust. It’s going to happen someday!

6) Get a new mouse, keyboard, or both! It never hurts to have replacements. New pieces can also put a fresh look (and zip) into your old computer.

7) Perform regular maintenance. The computer can’t fix itself. Run disk utilities on a regular basis. This mean defragging the drive and running disk-checking utilities.

8) Upgrade the optical drive. Still working with a CD-ROM drive? It’s time to upgrade to a DVD. Most drives are inexpensive and easy to install.

9) Upgrade the video adapter. A new video adapter can make your existing PC look new. “Well, on the screen at least,” says Gookin.

10) Buy a UPS. How many times have we told you about UPS? Don’t wait until an outage zaps your computer to learn the lesson.

How many of these tips are already in your routine? Do you have any others? Drop a comment below.




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Rachel Cericola - Contributing Writer
Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at

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