To the average person, spring cleaning means scrubbing floors and organizing closets. To a Geek Squad Agent, spring cleaning means defragging hard drives and cleaning out keyboard crud. This spring, Geek Squad Agents share their tips to safely clean your gadgets to ensure optimal performance over the lifetime of the device.
But in the end if you’ve decided that you’d like to part ways with your gadget, you may be able to go green and save some green. With Best Buy’s Trade In program, you can drop off your old gadgets that may have been cluttering your home, and Best Buy will properly recycle or refurbish your eWaste. Depending on what you’re trading in, you may be eligible for discounts on new gear.
Spring Cleaning Do’s
- Bust the dust – PC cases can get dusty, which is a risk to the long-term, well-being of your computer. First, make sure to turn off the PC before doing any cleaning tasks. Then look at the fan on the back of your system: if it's fuzzy, use a can of compressed air to spray off the dust in a sideways direction. Dust other case surfaces with a disposable, soft dusting cloth. If there's other gunk on the case that resembles a late-night coffee stain, a slightly damp paper towel will do the trick.
- Detail your printer – To prevent printer jams and other foul-ups, give a small burst of compressed air to the printer mechanism that rolls in the paper. With an inkjet printer, make sure to print at least a page once a week in order to avoid cartridge clogs. It’s usually unnecessary to clean the outside of the printer case, but you may have to if the printer lives in a kitchen and experiences close encounters with flying food. A slightly damp cloth can get the job done, but don’t apply water directly to the printer.
- Kill keyboard crud – More goodies may lurk in your keyboard than live under your couch, as crumbs from every muffin or sandwich you’ve eaten at your desk wind up in between the keys. Unplug the keyboard, and then turn it upside down and shake out the cookie crumbs and edible artifacts. For a more advanced cleaning to get rid of both dirt and germs, use a can of compressed air and an antibacterial wipe to really get it squeaky clean. While you’re at it, give your mouse a thorough wipe-down– it can collect plenty of dirt and finger grime, too.
- Improve your view – Do you have a dirty smartphone screen, monitor, tablet or flat screen TV? Unplug it or power it down and dust it with a disposable dusting cloth. If dirty fingerprints are making it hard to read the screen, unplug it and use a slightly damp cloth with water only. Avoid using glass cleaners or household detergents because their components could damage your screen.
Updating Your Computer System's Innards
With the outside of your gadget all clean and new, it's time to turn your attention to the insides, namely to the bits and bytes that can end up overloaded and worn after prolonged use. Check out these five easy ways to “clean” the inside of your gadget.
- Update your Operating System – In between your other cleaning chores, make sure to keep your Windows or Macintosh operating system updated. Otherwise, invaders worse than bathroom mildew could take over your computer. You can even program it to perform automatic updates.
- Check antivirus protection – Antivirus software does you no good unless you keep the definitions up to date. The software can't protect you if it doesn't know what's on the latest watch list. If your PC runs protection programs like Norton Anti-Virus or Sophos, you must pay yearly for access to updated definitions. Not sure if your definitions are up to date? Open your antivirus software to find out your subscription’s expiration date. Most programs will prompt you with reminders leading up to the renewal date. Anxious to know your PC’s bill of health? Visit GeekSquad.com for a free computer virus scan, call 1-800 GEEK SQUAD or stop by any Best Buy store.
- Play "I spy." – Spyware programs camp out in your PC after you open a malicious e-mail, click on a banner ad or visit a rogue Web page and can be tough to find. Be good to your PC and check for them regularly. Is your system running slowly? Do your Web browser’s settings seem to change automatically? Do you have strange icons in your system tray? Then it's definitely time to check for spyware. Norton, Kaspersky and McAfee have free anti-spyware software scans and trials. Just remember, to stay protected, you need to update your computer with the latest versions of software.
- Defrag the hard drive – Your PC's hard drive needs help to stay in tip-top shape. When you regularly defragment your hard drive, you’re rewarded with quick access to files and software programs. Windows 7 will do the work for you: from the Start menu, select All Programs, Accessories, then System Tools and click on Disk Defragmenter. If you’d like additional guidance, there are more than 20,000 Geek Squad Agents available nationwide that can walk you through the process.
- Stop file mayhem – If you don't regularly organize your PC files, your hard drive will start to resemble the junk drawer in your kitchen. First, clean out your temporary files: from My Computer, right click on the C drive icon, and then select Properties and Disk Cleanup. Next, check your PC’s Temp Files and Recycle Bin and click OK. Finally, get rid of duplicate files with a free utility such as Duplicate File Finder.
Spring Cleaning Don’ts
1. Don’t forget to back up your important data before optimizing your PC.
2. Don't use a vacuum to bust the dust on your PC. Vacuums create static electricity, which is deadly to sensitive electronic components.
3. Don’t use glass cleaners or household detergents. Their chemicals are not made for electronics and could damage your gear.
4. Don’t ever spray water directly on your monitor.
5. Avoid holding a bottle of compressed air upside down. This shoots out chemicals in a liquid spray – which is not good. Use short, controlled bursts and follow the instructions on the can.
For help with all your technology needs, call 1.800.GEEK SQUAD to set up an onsite consultation, find an Agent or a location near you at www.geeksquad.com, or visit the Geek Squad Precinct at Best Buy, freestanding Geek Squad Store locations, and other locations to speak with an Agent directly. We provide our services wherever and whenever you need them – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.