A few tips on cleaning and maintenance


In my previous post I talked about how to clean a PC properly as well as mentioned why it is important to clean your PC because of its overall benefits to the PC’s performance as well as protection for the components.You have now assembled your PC and it is sparklingly clean. But there are also some other areas that can be cleaned a different way. There are also some things that you can do to make maintenance of computer so much more easier for you.

Here are some of them:

* You can use a folded paper towel that is dampened with rubbing or isopropyl alcohol to wipe the plastic parts of the case with. This is a great way of making old and dingy looking plastic look shiny and new. You should always refold the towel and exposing a fresh, clear part of the tower and then rewetting that clean, exposed part with alcohol to keep it moist. This is a very simple solution and

* Before you make any kind of changes to your case, try to list it down first and / or sketch it. This way, you minimize the errors or mistakes that you might commit

* A window on the side of the case is a great idea because it becomes easier to monitor what is happening inside your case. You’ll immediately know if your case is already in need of cleaning. Adding some LED lights makes peering into the case easier too.

* Shutdown your computer for three hours before attempting to open it, this way the charges in each of the components are neutralized.

Desktop dress-up: Widgets


One of the newest ways in which you can really dress up your desktop is by using little interactive applications called Widgets. The good thing about these widgets is that they are actually not just eye candy. They actually have a definite and distinctive use that can really enhance the experience of using your computer. These little floating applications on your desktop really add a dash of life on an otherwise static screen and you get a lot out of it in terms of functionality. For example, the Yahoo Widgets Engine, which was formerly known as the Konfabulator, contains about 20 streamlined and highly customizable widgets that are quite useful in telling time, giving forecasts on the weather, as well as checking email and RSS feeds. If the default functions of the widgets engine are not enough the hidden control panel actually connects you to a gallery of over 3000 various widgets that have been developed either by Yahoo or the various user communities online.Of equal versatility and usability are the Google gadgets that you can also download. Google Desktop will allow you to install the little gadgets like the Google Calendar, Weather Globe, and Digg’s Top Stories. A number of other Google gadgets can also be downloaded online as well as other Google gadgets that have been developed by various users all over the world.

For those who need to know if they have a new email as soon as it is received, the Gmail Notifier is a big help. It runs separate from Google Desktop, which is a compulsory engine that is needed to run the other Google Gadgets.

Desktop Dress-up: Icons and Cursors


If you look at your desktop after you have minimized or closed all of the application windows – the thing that pops out at you after the wallpaper are the various icons on the desktop and the mouse cursor. If there is one thing that you absolutely cannot do with WindowBlinds as well as other skinning programs is actually set the icon preferences. Skins and themes can actually change the look of an icon but more often than not when you apply your wallpaper this sets your icon labels and makes it look dark and clunky. If you want to regain the sleek look of your icons you can use a small application called Iconoid. The notable features of this customization program is its ability to make the caption fields of the icons transparent as well as the ability to hide icons when the computer is idle.When the icons themselves are beginning to be a bore and is actually clashing with both your sense of style and the style that you have acquired for your desktop you can try to download the various icons and programs that can help you build customized icons for your own personal use. Imagine using icons that follow your Simpsons, Star Wars or X-Men theme! If you are a person who loves to design stuff you can download Microangelo, an application that allows a person to fully create icons.

Even cursors can be customized if you are already quite bored with the plain white arrow that comes as the default cursor of your operating system. Even though the cursor has options for you to change it, these tend to be small with very poor resolution. Third party programs like CursorXP is a great way of getting wonderful looking cursors that will surely catch your eye.

Desktop dress-up: Wallpapers

Probably the most dominant and most noticeable part of your desktop customization project is the wallpaper. This is simply because it occupies the most real estate – the whole screen. And whenever you minimize any application in your desktop it is your wallpaper that is immediately seen.Wallpapers are also the most common item that is customized in a computer simply because it is easiest to change. Any person who has a passing knowledge of the operating system that they use will know how to change the wallpaper. It is for these reasons why customizing the wallpaper becomes quite an obsession for some people.

One good way of putting some much needed glitz to your monitor screen is by using a personal picture or a photo that you have downloaded online as your wallpaper. You can also decide to get an application called Wallpaper Master Pro to organize your photos into a rotating gallery. Another application that is also worth considering is Webshots Desktop which allow you to wallpaper your desktop with the photos in your Webshots album as well as with the Webshots albums of other people. Another option that you can take in order to put a slick and goodlooking wallpaper on your desktop is another application called Desktop Earth. This awesome piece of software is a wallpaper generator that runs whenever you are online and logged on. The software posts an accurate depiction of the earth as seen from outerspace at that precise moment. This is the kind of wallpaper that is not only visually arresting it also serves as a good conversation piece.

Desktop dress-up: Themes and skins

Since the PC’s desktop is the firs thing that anyone sees of your computer it is but natural that you would have the desire to really dress it up and personalize it as a way of reflecting who you are. Of course when it comes to enhancements for your desktop there is just so much to choose from. There is actually a dearth of things that you can do with your desktop to personalize it that it may even be detrimental at some point because it may use too much memory which could slow your PC down. So if you have plans of personalizing your desktop the first rule is not to overdo it.

One of the first things you can do to personalize your desktop are through themes and skins. Even though the default settings are already passable and definitely functional its plain jane qualities will definitely not make it stand out in a crowd, so to speak. By personalizing your skin and themes you can achieve a more personalized look for your desktop by putting in a new but unified look for all of your programs and other interface. Skins employ preset graphic components as a way of updating the look of certain applications. Themes, on the other hand, unify all of the styles by matching the skins across the operating system. This is a great way of really pimping out your desktop.

Try to use a themes library like WindowsBlinds to make customizing your desktop so much easier. Once you have installed this nifty little program you can try out all of the themes and choose the one that you like.

Cable management inside the PC

Yesterday, I was talking about cable management in your computer systems and how a good cable management system will make your workspace look more attractive, easier to clean and eliminate electromagnetic interference that can affect the quality of you’re your computer’s audio and video.

What you may not know though is that good cable management is not only important on your workspace, it is also crucial and important inside your computer itself. If you will look inside your PC case you will notice that it is also a mess of many wires and cables that snake all around without any rhyme or reason. You may think that since it is not seen anyway then you can leave it as is or that there is no way you can manage the cables inside the CPU. Both counts are extremely untrue. First, even if the cables inside the CPU are not seen (except of course you have a clear acrylic side panel), organized cables actually promote better airflow inside the CPU and this results in lower overall temperature inside the case. Of course, we all know that lower temperatures make your PC work more efficiently and also prolong the life of your PC components. Secondly, it is not impossible to organize the cables inside your PC. It just needs patience, a little creative thinking and lots of cable ties, electric tape, twisties and, for the more serious modder, heat shrinks.

The objective is really simple. Try to remove all of the slack from all of the wires, neatly tie them together and, if possible, put those wires in areas where it will not impede with the airflow of your fans. Once you have done this you will be amazed at just how much cleaner your CPU looks and it will also run at least a degree or two cooler.

Painting a fan: How to do it right

case mod

One of the easiest mods to do is painting the fan used for your PC. It is a project that even a novice case modder can do. The skills needed to do this project is only rudimentary and is a good way to get your feet wet in the case modding hobby.


There are two methods used in painting fans. One of them, applying paint manually with a brush, is time consuming and does not really produce great, professional looking results. The better method would be spray painting as it allows you to put even coats of paint on the fan, which results in a more pleasant looking finish.


The first thing that you should do when painting a fan is to clean the area to be painted on thoroughly. Make sure that it is free from dust or any other particles.


After doing this, put masking tape on the areas that you would not want to paint, leaving only the parts that you do want to paint exposed. Make sure that you also put masking tape on the part where the blade meets the motor so that paint will not get into the motor itself.


After doing this, spray one coat of primer on the fan. The primer will ensure that the paint will adhere well. Let the primer dry for a day, and depending on what you want you can sand it lightly. After doing this, apply the first coat of paint. Let it dry and then put another coat if you want to.


When the paint has completely dried you can now remove the masking tape – and that’s it! The finished project.