What should you never do to your PC, but for real?

computer repair

ask pc gamer

Ask PC Gamer is our weekly question and advice column. Have a burning question about the smoke coming out of your PC? Send your problems to letters@pcgamer.com.

What a horrible joke article. The tone and implication are reversed throughout its length, from literal to sarcastic. At best this this article is useless at its worst the article is instructing less informed people to unknowingly break their pc. - A_Wolf

Thank you for your comment, wolf who can type comments. The truth is, that was a really good joke article. But never mind that. Some context: Last week we posted 10 things you should never do to your PC, and some readers were very concerned by the lack of real advice in the article. The thing is, there aren't all that many things that are really going to destroy your computer every time you do them. Still, I feel it's my duty to respond with some proper advice (though we still think uploading your mind into your PC is a bad idea). So here, for real, are 10 things you should never do to your PC:

Forget to clean it

This one was real, of course. Dust is an insulator, and it will cause your PC to overheat. Clean that thing. Take it outside and blow all the dust out. Don't try to vacuum your motherboard, though. You may get a static discharge from the nozzle which can cause damage.

Plug it into the wall socket

Another real one. Blackouts and storms can cause voltage spikes, which is why you need to have your PC plugged into a surge protector. Keep in mind that not every power strip is a surge protector, so make sure you know what you're buying.

Clean your display with solvent

Unless you have a CRT monitor, I don't recommend this. Your display can only take so much abuse. Use a dry cloth or slightly damp, soft towel to clean it.

Forget to back it up

You will lose all your data, you fool. Give everything you don't want to lose to Google. Google will take care of it, probably. (Or an external hard drive, if you prefer not to give Google everything.)

Spill liquid on it

Electronics and liquid are bad for each other. Beer makes me happy, but makes my computer sad. Be careful. And you probably shouldn't eat at your desk too much, unless you want to spend an afternoon pulling crumbs out of your keyboard.

Drop it

You might damage your hard drive. Please be more careful.

Run it with a side panel off

If you run your computer with the side panel off, you're disrupting the intended airflow inside the case. It may not be a big deal (you may see no temperature difference), but all you're accomplishing is inviting dust to settle when you aren't using it. And you should never work on your PC while it's powered.

Put on socks, slide around on your carpet, and then work on your motherboard

Use an anti-static wristband if this is the kind of thing you get up to.

Defragment your SSD on Windows 7 for 24 hours a day for a week

Why would you do this?

Throw it away

There are many better things you can do with an old PC than send it to a landfill.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.