computer maintenance Image Map
Friday, October 31, 2008

PostHeaderIcon Protecting Yourself, Your Hardware, and Your Software

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when you work on your computer it is possible to harm the computer and yourself. The most common accident which happens while attempting to fix a computer problem is erasing software and data. unless you know what you are doing, you can cause damage. To prevent these sorts of accidents, and also the physically dangerous ones, you only need to take a few safety precautions. The text below will describe the potential sources of damage to computers and how to protect your computer and yourself against them.

Power to the Computer

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To protect yourself and the computer components while working inside a computer, turn the power off, unplug the computer, and always ground yourself to discharge any static electricity built up in your body, either by wearing an anti static wrist band or by touching any unpainted part of the computer case.

Think of the monitor and the power supply unit (PSU) as "black boxes". Never remove the covers unless you know about the hazards of charged capacitors. The power supply unit and the monitor can hold dangerous levels of electricity even after they are turned off and disconnected from the power source.

Protecting Against ESD

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Protecting the computer against electrostatic discharge (ESD), more commonly known as static electricity, always ground yourself before touching any of the electronic components, including the hard drive, motherboard, expansion cards, processors and memory modules. there are a number of ways you can ground yourself and the computer components by using one of the methods below.

Ground bracelet or anti static wrist strap: A ground bracelet is a strap you wear around your wrist. the other end is attached to a grounded conductor such as the computer case or a ground mat or it can be plugged into a wall outlet (Note: only the ground prong makes a connection!). The bracelet also contains a current-limiting resistor which prevents electricity from harming you.

Ground Mats: Ground mats usually come equipped with a cord to plug into a wall outlet to provide a grounded surface to work on. Remember if you lift the component off the mat, it is no longer grounded and susceptible to ESD.

Static Shielding Bags: All new components are supplied in static shielded bags. It is a good idea to save these bags to store spare computer components in to keep them protected from ESD.

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The best solution for protecting against ESD is to use a ground bracelet together with a ground mat. You should consider a ground bracelet to be essential equipment while working on a computer. if you find yourself in a situation when your without one, touch the computer case before you touch any components. Leave components inside their protective bags until they are ready to be used. Work on hard floors, not carpet, because walking on and shuffling your feet on carpet generates static electricity. Generally, don't work on a computer if you or the computer have just come inside from the cold.

When handling motherboards and expansion cards, don't touch the chips on the boards. don't stack the boards on top of each other, which could accidentally dislodge a chip. hold cards by the edges, but be careful not to touch the connections of the cards.

Don't touch the chips with a magnetized screwdriver. when using a multimeter to measure electricity, be careful not to touch a chip with the probes. when changing DIP switches, don't use a graphite pencil, because graphite conducts electricity; a small screwdriver works the best. Do not store expansion cards within one foot of the monitor, because the monitor can discharge as much as 29,000 volts of ESD onto the screen.

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Protecting Hard Drives and Disks

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Always turn the computer off before moving it, to protect the hard drive, which is always spinning while the computer is turned on (unless the drive has a sleep mode). Never jar a computer while the hard disk is running. Avoid placing a PC on the floor, where the user can accidentally kick it.

Follow the user precautions to protect disks. keep them away from magnetic fields, heat and extreme cold. Treat disks with care and they will last for years.

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