CompTIA IT Fundamentals FC0-U61 – Computer Maintenance and Management

  1. Power Management

What? No, really bad timing for the electricity to go out. Luckily, I can adjust the power management settings on my laptop to preserve as much battery life as possible. Let’s take a look in Windows. Open Control Panel and go to the power options. Applet. This gives you a lot of control over energy usage and, in the case of portable computer, helps preserve battery life. Click the change plan settings link to show the edit plan savings dialog box. Here you can change the brightness of the screen.

A dimmer screen means the battery will last longer and choose how quickly the screen turns off and the computer goes to sleep with inactivity. Click the Change Advanced Power Settings link to see even more granular options. You can set various components to power down after a certain time. For example, like the hard drive when on battery or plugged in. Power settings help save electricity in general. Think green computing here. A lot of this happens automatically in modern computers, especially portable computers. Knowledge of better, more efficient use of electricity is important. Waste not, want not.

  1. Cleaning and Maintaining Computers

Need cleaning. The best thing to use on a monitor is a microfiber cloth. All by itself, this cloth is also good for cleaning the outside of the case and getting rid of all that nasty, grimy stuff. You can use isopropyl alcohol for cleaning the outside of the case, or you can use a commercial cleaner. Just make sure it’s designed specifically for electronics. The inside of the case also gets really nasty with lots of pet dander and dust. It needs cleaning, and for that, you need compressed air. This can be a pretty messy thing, though, so don’t be like this guy, okay?

That really got the fire department called, and true story, bad idea. Instead, take it outside. Accessing. The inside of the case differs according to the case, obviously. Usually it’s just a couple of screws on the back, and then you pop the side panel off like that. To be on the safe side, put on your antistatic wrist strap and clip it to the side of the case. And now let’s blow these fans. Whoa. Once you’ve got the dust out of the fans, put the case back together, take it inside, plug it in, and you’re good to go.

  1. Trash it or Stash it?

Consumable consumed. What to do? What to do? Toss it in the trash. Send it to the recycle bin. Or get more creative about safe disposal. To help you decide the fate of those pesky parts, it’s time to play Trash it or Stash It. Welcome to Trash it or Stash It, the game about disposal. We’ll look at various computing pieces to see how they stack up against the restriction of hazardous substances directive. Are you ready? Our first entry is this beautiful old scanner. Audience trash it or Stash it. Ah, yes. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Old scanners and printers can find new homes in places that need them. So take it to a recycling center. Up next is this set of batteries.

These are classic alkaline batteries, things that power the computing equivalent of the Energizer Bunny. Well audience trash them or Stash them. Yeah, it’s perfectly safe to toss these into the trash. But what about this delightfully dead smartphone with its lithium ion battery? Same deal. Audience same. Oh, no. That’s right. These need to go to a recycling center. The fancy kind like you’ll find in big cities made specifically for electronics. Oh, my. What have we next? A weighty blast from the past? A CRT monitor. What shall we do with this one? Trash it or stash it? Lead in the CRT means you don’t ever want to put this baby in a landfill. Stash it in the recycling center. All right, one more for today’s show. Here we have a dead hard drive. It doesn’t have mercury or cadmium, and probably no lead these days. So audience trash it or stash it. That’s right. It’s fine to trash it, but beware that bad guys can retrieve data from dead drive. So before you trash it, smash it.

  1. AMA – Ask Me Anything About Computer Maintenance and Management

I wanted to take some time to hear from you and answer questions you might have on it fundamentals or computer literacy. So that’s why we put together these Ask Me Anything episodes. My friend Aaron is going to ask questions about stuff in this chapter from viewers like you. I also want to hear from you as well. My email is at the end of the episode. Ask Me Anything we have a lot of questions is from readers in chapter 13. Excellent. I’ll start with Jody from Minneapolis, Minnesota, asks, what should I do when I’m ready to recycle my old device? Wow.

Okay. There’s a lot of things to take into consideration. Here. One she probably has a lot of personal information on that device. You absolutely cannot just take that device to a thrift store or Salvation Army or something like that. Some kind of charity with all your information on there. She didn’t specify what device it was? No. Okay, so let’s look at portable devices and handheld devices and regular computers. All mobile devices have some way to do a complete factory reset, and this will wipe that device for all intents and purposes. So she can just simply run that reset and hand that device over and not worry about it.

Okay. Yeah. So that’s a great option for mobile devices. Okay. With Windows and Mac OS, they both have a way to reset the computer back to the factory defaults. This is normally done if you kind of get a machine that’s buggy or you’ve had a virus or something like that. It’s like, okay, I want to just completely redo it and reset Windows and start over.

Okay. You can do that. Right. But let me go a little bit geeky on you here. I’m ready. Okay. All right. When you delete stuff off a hard drive, the stuff doesn’t really go away, not completely. So when you reset your device, this is good enough if you’re just giving the device off to your brother or something like that. But when you’re giving it to a stranger, that’s probably not the best app. I don’t want them to have my information.

Right. There are simple tools that you can download, even use for free, that can enable you to scan hard drive. The mass storage that we talked about in earlier chapters, scan that and recover deleted files. Oh, wow. Easily. Wow. Okay. Yeah. So this is a bad thing. The only safe way to fully recycle your computer is to rip the hard drives out. Oh, wow. So you have to get a little geeky there or be very trusting. Yeah. Some devices that you can’t do that. Right. If the hard drive is soldered onto the computer, like in some Apple Computers, you don’t really have an option. Wow. So sledgehammer. Well, there you go. Up next, we have Mike from Sedalia, Missouri, wants to know, should I leave my PC on or shut it down when I’m not using it.

One of the oldest questions in computing in the early days of computing bark, when I was a young man, we shut computers down because they didn’t have great ways of shutting themselves down. Modern computers are able to go to sleep. They can shut down various functions, and they don’t use much, if any, electricity when they’re not actively in use.

So you can just leave them on. Leaving them on also helps with patching because most companies like Microsoft and Apple will push patches. Microsoft calls theirs Patch Tuesday, right? And it’s once a month, not every week or when it definitely needs to be done, when there’s a big security fix or something. Those patches are designed to come in when most users aren’t working, like 02:00 in the morning. Right. And so if you leave your computer on, the patch will come down. Your computer will be patched. It’ll even reboot without you doing anything. And you come in and you have a little sign on your computer that says, I’ve been patched, has a mind of its own. That’s right.

And so leaving it on is what I would suggest now, okay? The only time you would turn it off and unplug it is in case of an electrical storm, like a big storm comes rolling in just like you would any other major electronics. Just unplug. Some good advice. Yeah. Okay. Up next, we have Zane from Seattle, Washington. He asks, what’s the difference between sleep and hibernate? Well, that’s a good follow up question. Sleep.

Okay. Sleep and hibernate, both of these are low power modes, right. That will essentially turn off most functions of the computer. With Sleep, there’s a little trickle of electricity that gets stays on the computer that stores data in Ram, but everything else shuts down. So what’s up on the screen? What’s the all the applications you have open, all that stuff that’s in Ram, if you remember from back in chapter two, or whatever that information is, is held there.

Okay? Right. When you’re in sleep mode, when your computer is in sleep mode, and you might be in sleep mode too, but neither here nor there. What that means is functionally is when you move the mouse, you press the keyboard, the computer will wake up very quickly. Okay? Because the CPU will wake up and the Ram information is stored right there. The CPU is like, hey, I’ve seen it. I’m here with hibernate. This is a much more long term storage mode or sleep mode.

With hibernate. The data that’s in Ram, all the programs you have up and things you have open gets saved to a special spot on the hard drive, and then everything shuts down. Okay? So in practice, that is still pretty fast to come up. When you press the power button, you press whatever key is designed to get your computer out of hibernate mode.

The data from the hard drive has to get copied up into Ram. So there’s a little bit of a delay, but it’s still faster than turning the computer all the way off. Oh, really? Right, because if you turn the computer off, then you turn it on and then load the applications you had and load the files you have. So that’s a longer term prospect. Yeah. Okay. So that’s the difference between sleep and hibernate. Awesome. Up next, Yasmine from Anchorage, Alaska, says, I watched the episode on cleaning your computer, and I wondered, why not just use a vacuum cleaner instead of taking the PC outside and using compressed air? Taking the computer outside to clean it obviously keeps the dust out. In the video where we actually had the fire department called, just because that was fun, they were like, don’t do that again.

Taking it outside is good, and the compressed area is fairly inexpensive. That’s the easy way to do it. Except what if it’s cold and you’re in Anchorage, Alaska, and it’s the middle of winter? Good point. Right. Then there might be a little reticence to unplug everything, take it out in the cold, and air it out. So, the idea is, well, why not just use a vacuum cleaner? And the problem is that most vacuum cleaners use a plastic head, and the air and dust that flows over that plastic head is making static electricity. Right. So it’s like this little walking lightning stick. So it’s perfectly fine to use a vacuum cleaner on the outside of a computer. So you can be cleaning around the vents in the back or in the front where the air is coming in. But once you need to go inside the computer, you either need to use the compressed air, or you can get a special electronics vacuum that doesn’t build up static electricity, and you can use that.

Nice. But remember, regular vacuum cleaner, static electricity danger waiting to happen. Got you. Because even a little zap on the inside components can toast your computer. Wow. Right? So avoid regular vacuum cleaners. Yes. Okay. Good to remember. Next is Sammy from Oakland, California. He asks, I saw you were wearing an antistatic wrist wrap when you were cleaning the computer.

Why were you wearing that? An antistatic wrist strap has a little resistor that touches your skin, and it essentially keeps you and the alligator clip on the other. The same electrical level or another word for it is called electrical potential. So you might be wandering around it at plus 10 volts electricity compared to ground. When you connect that antistatic wrist strap to the computer, to some kind of metal part of the computer, don’t connect it to the CPU or something, but some kind of metal part, like the side of the case, it makes you and the computer the same electrical potential.

Right. So you could both be it plus 10 volts. Right. And what that means in practice is that you can then reach in and touch stuff and not worry about there being any kind of static electricity discharge. Very cool. So it keeps you and the computers safe. I need one of those. Yes. Very cool. Next is Brandon from Norfolk, Virginia. He asks, how do I recycle my ink and toner? This is important with toner, and toner is what you have in laser printers.

Okay. Toners inside that cartridge is secretly a bunch of other components, and these are very much recyclable and should be recycled. Okay. So when you run out of toner, take that cartridge and whoever you are buying the next cartridge from should have some kind of recycling availability there. Okay. With ink, manufacturers have made it almost impossible to do anything with these, to refill them or recycle them or anything. So, unfortunately, with ink cartridges, your only real option is, wow, that’s unfortunate. Yeah, it is. Yeah.