Posted by: Heather Shy on April 23, 2021 at 8:00 am
People spring clean for many reasons. Some because it’s what their parents always did. Some feel refreshed after getting everything out into the open and sorted. And some people realize that spring cleaning is a good time for preventive maintenance – and to head off issues that could come up down the road.
When we say “spring clean your computer network,” we’re not advocating a complete teardown – that could cause more problems than it solves. But checking off a few simple items can keep your business computer network equipment running cooler and smoother, resulting in less computer down time – or repair expenses – for your company.
We originally posted this article in 2017. When we noticed it was getting some attention recently, we realized it was time to spruce up this information and repost it!
But how should you spring clean your computer equipment? No need to drag out the buckets and sponges; here are some ways you can clean up your network and prevent problems down the road:
1. Shine Up Your Server
Where is the server? In the past few years, we have seen huge growth in cloud computing. If your file or email server is located “in the cloud,” you may not have any physical server equipment to clean up! But what if your business is still running an onsite server?
Ideally, onsite servers should be in a dedicated room that is ventilated to prevent heat buildup and has a locked door for security. A locking server cabinet can also be acceptable depending on your office layout. Servers should not sit directly on the floor, and should not be in potentially wet environments, such as next to a sink.
Take out the trash. Sort and clear out other materials and excess equipment. Server rooms can tend to function as a catch-all for obsolete equipment. Recycle that old junk and give your server room to breathe.
Do you have a room full of old computer equipment that you don’t know what to do with? Janice, at one of our long-term clients did. Here’s what she said after we helped her sort it out: “Awesome to work with and strongly focused on my goal. He helped with decision making, sorting, and even disposal of items, as well as gave his expert advice for future IT materials. Went above and beyond to assist with my project. I would highly recommend your company. Thank you.”
If you have a “server room” full of old computer equipment, TAZ Networks can help you sort through it, properly recycle as appropriate, or dispose of it.
Clear dust. Give all the equipment a quick wipe-down with a dust-collecting cloth. Break out the hand vac to get the dust bunnies hiding out in the corner. We’re not looking for NASA-level clean room status, just clean enough to keep your server from choking to death.
2. Dust off Your Desktops, Laptops, and Workstations
Clean and cool. As with servers, dust and excess heat are your main enemies here. Gently wipe down the case with a dust-collecting cloth. Use compressed canned air to remove any dust blocking the fan. And make sure papers and other desk items don’t block fans either.
Replace with rugged. If you have a computer that must stay in a dusty or high-particulate area, look into a dust case or replacing it with a “rugged” model designed to withstand those conditions.
3. Clean Your Computer Accessories
Keyboard. Hold your keyboard upside down over a trash bin and shake it a bit to dislodge any loose particles. Use canned compressed air to blow any remaining dust and debris out of your keyboard. Gently wipe down the keys with a slightly-damp antibacterial cleaning wipe. The goal here is to de-germ the keys without getting liquid inside your keyboard.
Mouse. The days of taking your mouse apart and swabbing it with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol are long gone. A quick once-over with a slightly-damp cleaning wipe should be all a modern mouse needs.
4. Check Your Cables and Adapters
Cables: Check along the length of the cable for breaks in the sheathing or fraying, especially at the connection point. Check for loose connections.
Adapters: Check for loose connections and tighten them, or replace the adapter.
Caution: Do not unplug anything that may affect other users, and do not unplug anything unless you are 100% sure where to plug it back in! Better to have to replace a cable due to an undiscovered breakage than to take down your network for the entire company! (We’ve even gone onsite for a “down network” to find the network switch plugged back into itself. It really happens!)
Now that your computer equipment is shiny and clean, when was the last time someone checked out what’s going on inside it? If it’s been a while since your system has been checked for updates, out-of-warranty hardware, end-of-life software or other issues, or if you’re plagued with spam, viruses, and downtime, fill out the contact form at the right to find out more about our Network Assessment. At your convenience, we’ll send a trustworthy and expert-level computer consultant to your office to check for anything keeping it from running at peak performance. Then we’ll give you a report showing where improvements can be made, in your timeframe and in your budget. There’s no risk, so contact us today!