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Preventive Maintenance and Troubleshooting

Chapter Description

In this sample chapter from IT Essentials Companion Guide v7 for Cisco Networking Academy, you will learn about the many benefits of conducting preventive maintenance for both hardware and software.

Preventive Maintenance (4.1)

Preventive maintenance can be the key to keeping computer systems from experiencing serious problems, such as data loss and hardware failures, and it also helps systems have a longer life span. In this section, you study the need for preventive maintenance of a computer system. Following a good preventive maintenance plan can keep computer problems from being too troublesome.

PC Preventive Maintenance Overview (4.1.1)

Preventive maintenance is the regular and systematic inspection, cleaning, and replacement of worn parts, materials, and systems. Effective preventive maintenance reduces part, material, and system faults and keeps hardware and software in good working condition.

Benefits to Preventive Maintenance (

Preventive maintenance plans are developed based on at least two factors:

  • Computer location or environment: Dusty environments, such as construction sites, require more attention than an office environment.

  • Computer use: High-traffic networks, such as a school network, might require additional scanning and removal of malicious software and unwanted files.

Regular preventive maintenance reduces potential hardware and software problems, computer downtime, repair costs, and the number of equipment failures. It also improves data protection, equipment life, and stability and saves money.

Preventive Maintenance - Dust (

The following are considerations to keep dust from damaging computer components:

  • Clean/replace building air filters regularly to reduce the amount of dust in the air.

  • Use a cloth or a duster to clean the outside of the computer case. If using a cleaning product, put a small amount onto a cleaning cloth and then wipe the outside of the case.

  • Dust on the outside of a computer can travel through cooling fans to the inside.

  • Accumulated dust prevents the flow of air and reduces the cooling of components.

  • Hot computer components are more likely to break down.

  • Remove dust from the inside of a computer using a combination of compressed air, a low-air-flow ESD vacuum cleaner, and a small lint-free cloth.

  • Keep the can of compressed air upright to prevent the fluid from leaking onto computer components.

  • Keep the compressed air can a safe distance from sensitive devices and components.

  • Use the lint-free cloth to remove any dust left behind on the component.

Preventive Maintenance - Internal Components (

This is a basic list of components to inspect for dust and damage:

  • CPU heat sink and fan assembly: The fan should spin freely, the fan power cable should be secure, and the fan should turn when the power is on.

  • RAM modules: The modules must be seated securely in the RAM slots. Ensure that the retaining clips are not loose.

  • Storage devices: All cables should be firmly connected. Check for loose, missing, or incorrectly set jumpers. A drive should not produce rattling, knocking, or grinding sounds.

  • Screws: A loose screw inside the case can cause a short circuit.

  • Adapter cards: Ensure that adapter cards are seated properly and secured with the retaining screws in their expansion slots. Loose cards can cause short circuits. Missing expansion slot covers can let dust, dirt, or living pests inside the computer.

  • Cables: Examine all cable connections. Ensure that pins are not bent or broken and that cables are not crimped, pinched, or severely bent. Retaining screws should be finger-tightened.

  • Power devices: Inspect power strips, surge suppressors (surge protectors), and UPS devices. Make sure the devices work properly and that there is clear ventilation.

  • Keyboard and mouse: Use compressed air to clean the keyboard, mouse, and mouse sensor.

Preventive Maintenance - Environmental Concerns (

An optimal operating environment for a computer is clean, free of potential contaminants, and within the temperature and humidity ranges specified by the manufacturer, as shown in Figure 4-1 and defined in the list that follows.


Figure 4-1 Temperature and Humidity

Follow these guidelines to help ensure optimal computer operating performance:

  • Do not obstruct vents or airflow to the internal components.

  • Keep the room temperature between 45 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit (between 7 and 32 degrees Celsius).

  • Keep the humidity level between 10% and 80%.

  • Temperature and humidity recommendations vary by computer manufacturer. Research the recommended values for computers used in extreme conditions.

Preventive Maintenance - Software (

Verify that installed software is current and follow the policies of the organization when installing security updates, operating system, and program updates.

Create a software maintenance schedule to:

  • Review and install the appropriate security, software, and driver updates.

  • Update the virus definition files and scan for viruses and spyware.

  • Remove unwanted or unused programs.

  • Scan hard drives for errors and defragment hard drives.

5. Troubleshooting Process (4.2) | Next Section Previous Section

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