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Chapter 30. Free (or at Least Cheap) Com... > Tools of the Trade - Pg. 290

Free (or at Least Cheap) Computer Maintenance 290 If you don't clean this dust and gunk from your computer regularly, it builds up quickly and can cause problems. Your mouse pointer might skip around on the screen, you might receive disk errors, and the dust buildup eventually can cause your new Pentium CPU to experience a meltdown. Besides, who wants to work or play in a dustbowl? In this chapter, you learn how to keep your computer spic and span. Tools of the Trade Before you start cleaning, turn off your computer and any attached devices, and gather the cleaning tools and supplies you need to do the job right. Of course, you can run out and purchase a special toolkit designed specifically for maintaining computers, but you would end up spending more than necessary. The following list helps you assemble your own computer cleaning toolkit using items found in most homes: · Screwdriver or wrench for taking the cover off of your system unit--If you don't feel comfortable going inside the system unit, take your computer to a qualified technician for a thorough annual cleaning. It really does get dusty in there. · Computer vacuum--Yes, they have vacuum cleaners especially designed for computers. · Can of compressed air--You can get this at a computer or electronics store. If you decide to forego the vacuum cleaner, you can use the compressed air to blow dust out of the system unit. · Soft brush--A clean paintbrush with soft bristles will do. Use the brush to dislodge any stubborn dust that the vacuum won't pick up. · Toothpicks--The only tool you need to clean your mouse. · Cotton swabs--Cotton swabs are essential for swabbing dust and gunk out of mice, keyboards, and other tight places.