Although computers are astoundingly advanced nowadays, they still are, at the heart of it, more complicated light bulbs. The products we sell have some of the best warranties on the market but following this simile through, given a large enough time frame, all computers will have hardware failure.
A hardware problem is classified as a fault in an actual component or in the configuration of a component which could lead to issues with the computer. It is distinct from a software or firmware problem, which is normally caused by a defect in the software operation or operating system code. See our article Software Cemetery for more details.
What are the causes that will cause my computer to fail?
The most common killers are Heat, Dust, Power Loss or Surges, and Electrostatic discharge. Put another way, not keeping your computer clean, not having a Universal Surge Protector and the computer being mishandled. We go into depth on these categories below:
A build of up of dust often referred to as a dust bunny, can prevent proper air flow to the important components of the computer. This build-up is most critical when covering a fan or a heatsink within the computer, as these exist to keep the computer parts cool and rely on proper airflow. Its recommended to blow the dust out with an air compressor or condensed air when the dust starts to build up or its been awhile since you have delved inside. If left untouched this can cause some of the most important parts of your computer to overheat and fail. This will be covered in our Desktop Maintenance 101 Tech talk. This dust directly leads to the next issue.
If there is not enough proper air flow, an example being; fans stopped spinning, dust build up or not a very crowded case, your computer will overheat. Excess heat can cause your capacitors to pop, (see the main picture) hard drives to fail and CPU’s to overheat causing a complete system failure. Make sure your computer has enough breathing space, try not to suffocate them in tight cupboards crammed behind a desk, and try not to use it heavily when it is 30 plus degrees in your residence or business.
A very common cause of hardware failure on Vancouver Island is power surges. Power supplies offer some inbuilt protection but can only take a certain number of power fluctuations. There are also issues of not being plugged into proper circuit protectors, for example, a proper surge bar or Battery backup, also known as a UPS. Check out our Power of the storms article for more surge protection information.
ElectroStatic Discharge or “ESD” for short comes from a personal handling of your computer parts. This contact can cause damage to destroy your computer or components. For example the shock you receive when rubbing your feet on the carpet and touching something metal, an ESD will occur. As innocuous as it seems, that shock when working on electronic devices can or will disrupt normal current flow to main circuits on the computer causing hardware failure. So I would advise not vacuuming out those dusty computers. Instead, use a can of condensed air or lower PSI air compressor, keep in mind you don’t want to max out your air compressor blowing off and or breaking fragile components within the system. You can purchase a “Can of air” from either of our My Tech Guys locations.
Being aware of the issues help us keep our “fancy lightbulbs” lasting longer and performing better! All March 2018, we are having a spring cleaning special, where we can clean your computer, inside and out for $20 less than our regular rate. For more follow this link or give us a call on 250-890-1065.