Chill out and avoid computer malfunctions

JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin

Alan Stainer runs an IT company specialising in technical advice and support and website design, based in the Horsham District. In each column he’ll look at issues affecting computer use.

Phew! What a scorcher it has been lately. I hope you have all been taking precautions.

Computers can suffer during heat waves too, especially if you don’t take care of them.

I remember testing the electrical resistance of wires during science classes at school. When the wire gets hot, the resistance goes up and it is harder for any electrical current to pass through.

This is bad news for a computer, as it generally slows everything down and in extreme cases your PC may crash or become damaged.

While we cannot control the weather, there are things we can do to help. It all revolves around positioning and air flow.

Positioning is an easy one to handle. Obviously, if you leave your computer in direct sunlight (or near a radiator when it gets cold outside) it is going to heat up.

Similarly, choose a relatively cool room for your normal computer use. Not only will you feel more comfortable, but your PC will too.

Avoid conservatories if you can, as they act just like a greenhouse and you wouldn’t leave your computer in one of those!

Make sure you have space around your computer, especially the air vents. The fans inside won’t be doing anything useful if the air vents are blocked.

Speaking of blockages, make sure your computer is kept clean. Dust can play havok with the insides of a computer. It can clog up your air vents and your fans, making it harder for them to expel the hot air. It also adds an unwanted layer of insulation to the important gubbins inside, which again prevents heat from escaping.

A simple thing to do, is vacuum round the air vents whenever you clean the floor. If you are careful, take the side panel off and clean inside too.

Pictured here is a computer brought to me by a customer - before and after a good clean out!

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