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TECH SURVEY REVEALS DIRTY SECRETS ABOUT PCs
SOMERVILLE, N.J., July 31 -- Real bugs, such as cockroaches and spiders, are threatening U.S. computers, according to a new survey of computer repair technicians.
A national survey of more than 1,300 computer repair professionals, conducted by the manufacturers of Dust-Off compressed-gas cleaner, linked 72 percent of computer CPU failures to poor maintenance. Inside, besides bugs and Intel, technicians also found caches of marijuana and cash; drivers for screws and nuts, and many generations of mice, from babies to rodent skeletons.
Bad PC hygiene was linked to 70 percent of keyboard failures, and 85 percent of breakdowns in printers and mouse devices. (See www.computerhygiene.com)
PC users came under harsh criticism from technicians for failing to take even simple steps to safeguard hardware ranging from processors and printers to keyboards and mice (the non-furry kind). The 2002 Dust-Off Survey of PC Hygiene found that nearly 20 percent of technicians believe computer care has deteriorated recently, 13 percent saw improvement and 67 percent recognized little change.
One technician estimated that 90 percent of his hardware replacements result from excessive dirt. Listed among the most vulnerable components, particularly around cigarette smoke, were fans, keyboards, and printers.
"For the most part, end-users do not keep hygiene in mind," said one respondent. "Simple cleaning steps once a week can prevent long-term damage."
Added another, "Often I'll enter a house which is impeccably clean, but when I pull out the computer, it's filthy. It's not the end-users fault; they just don't realize that certain parts of the computer need to be cleaned in order to function properly."
Many technicians cautioned against disassembling computer components, without adequate instruction, yet strongly recommended regular cleaning with specialized products such as monitor wipes, printer cleaning sheets and compressed-gas dusters.
Several were frustrated that attempts at education sometimes were disregarded. "Even after we tell them the `why' and the `how,' they still don't get it, or just don't care," concluded one. "They need a severe choking ..."
A compressed-gas duster, Dust-Off was invented in the 1970s so news photographers could safely clean negatives and camera equipment. The product now is mostly found in office-supply outlets, for use in cleaning computer equipment.
A new website, www.computerhygiene.com, includes technicians' stories on computer filth, photos, graphics, a poll on PC cleaning, and even links to download roach screen-savers.