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by Laughing Squid

How to safely upgrade or repair your computer.

Safety tips to consider when working on your computer hardware.

When you think about repairing or upgrading the hardware in a computer, the concept of safety hardly comes to mind. However, it is important to be aware of the safety issues when repairing your computer. Following these tips and suggestions can help protect you from safety hazards as well as protect the computer equipment from damage.

Whether you are upgrading a video card, adding RAM, or replacing a broken motherboard, these tips are good to follow whenever you open your computer’s case up.

Read system requirements and component specifications.

You might want 8GB of RAM in your computer, but if your motherboard is designed to handle only 4GB it isn’t going to happen. The same logic holds true for most upgrades to a computer. 4 hard drives is great for added storage, but did you consider the extra fans needed in the casing to offset the additional heat? New processors are great too as long as they have the proper heat sink and fan components installed.

When making repairs or upgrades, make sure that the component is compatible with your other system components and that you don’t need additional cooling systems, power supplies, heat sinks, or other add ons to keep your system running safely.

Frying your computer, causing electrical sparks, or just shortening the life of your computer are a few of the things that could happen if you try to pack the wrong parts into your computer.

Disconnect the power and other connections.

Fully shut down the computer and disconnect the computer from the power source. Disconnect any other equipment connected to the computer such as monitors, printers, and other devices. Wait a few minutes after disconnecting the power before attempting to open the computer case as power can still be running through the computer after disconnecting it.

Watch for sharp edges.

When using a screw driver to remove the screws be careful of sharp edges around the casing, especially in the rear of the computer. When removing the casing, lift the casing off slowly and be aware of the sharp edges that are present on some computers.

Keep this tip in mind while working inside the computer as the various cards and components can be surprisingly sharp on the corners.

Discharge static electricity.

This is a crucial tip and begins the second you lift the case off the computer. It is extremely important that you touch your hands to a non-electrical metal surface before touching any of the components inside the computer or any components that you will be installing. Be sure to touch a non-electrical metal surface in between handling components to prevent a static shock from frying the computer circuits.

Dust carefully and precisely.

Purchase a can of compressed air with a small nozzle to clean dust from the inside of your computer. You’ll want to clear dust out of the fans as well. Watch out for flying dust and debris when using compressed air and always hold the nozzle away from your face. It is also a good idea to keep the nozzle tip a few inches away from touching the components inside the computer. Do not use chemical cleaners, rags, or anything other than compressed air to clean the dust from the inside of the computer.

Do not force new parts into place.

Anyone who has ever replaced or upgraded the RAM in their computer knows that you have to exert quite a bit of force to get the RAM to click securely into place. However there are limits to this, and pushing too hard when installing RAM or any other card or component can cause damage to the computer parts.

In addition to potentially snapping, cracking, or bending new computer parts or the motherboard itself, the part itself (especially PCI cards and motherboard components) could shatter into pieces when pushed or pulled too hard and you’ll have bits of metal, plastic, and circuitry flying all over. So for the safety of yourself and the equipment, handle with care.

Follow these safety tips when upgrading or repairing your computer to keep both you and the computer safe.

Written by MaxwellPayne

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