Seven ancient computer life hacks that are still relevant today

Now it is difficult to imagine a modern family without at least one computer. With the onset of the pandemic, adults began to work remotely, and schoolchildren and students began to study at a distance. Even 10-15 years ago, there were several times less inexperienced PC users, but there were many life hacks that almost everyone knew. Now, few people think about these things. Let’s remember some useful tips from the old days of computers that are still relevant today.

Replacing the CMOS Battery
One of the most common user problems is time failure on the computer. In this case, the browser issues a certificate error, which confuses the novice user.

The fact is that a special microcircuit on the motherboard – CMOS – is responsible for storing BIOS settings, including counting the system time. If the PC is turned off and the power supply is de-energized, then it is powered by a CR2032 battery.

Removing the battery will also reset the BIOS settings – keep this in mind.

Rubbing with an eraser
One of the most ancient life hacks, which is still relevant today. If the computer stops turning on after the upgrade (for example, you added a new RAM bar or updated the video card), then you do not need to panic right away. The most likely cause is oxidation of the pins in the connectors that connect the components to the motherboard. The malfunction can be eliminated on your own using an ordinary eraser.

We examine the contact pads. If they look cloudy and are white, gray, or brown, this indicates an oxide layer.

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Oxidized on the contact pads of the video card

We clean the contacts with an eraser, and remove the remaining particles with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol.

There is no need to be too zealous: this way you can erase the applied gilding. If you are afraid, you can simply insert and remove the device from the connector several times. Sometimes the friction between the spring-loaded contacts and the pad is sufficient to remove the oxide layer.

Oxidation can also cause the hard drive to malfunction. When you turn on the computer, a message stating that there is no boot device may appear. Or the PC may freeze when the operating system accesses the disk. This is most likely due to a breakdown in the contact between the controller board and the head unit. How to fix it?

We unscrew the screws on the board, having previously disconnected the motor spindle cable.

Removing the controller board

Next, you need to find the contact pads on it: needle-shaped ones on the HDA, as well as the contacts for connecting the motor. With the help of an eraser, remove the oxide from them with translational movements.

Removal of oxides on the contact pads of the head block (left) and the controller board

As practice shows, half of the faulty HDDs can be recovered in this way.

Turning on the PC from the keyboard
Few people know that the computer can be turned on by pressing a button on the keyboard or simply by clicking the power strip. There is a special setting in the BIOS for this:

Different manufacturers may name the option differently.

Previously, it was possible to start a PC only from a keyboard with an outdated PS / 2 connector, but in modern motherboards it is also possible via USB. Sometimes the option is available with a mouse click.

To make the computer start up when power is applied, look for an option like “Restore AC Power Loss” or “System After AC Back”. Set the value to “Power On” or “Enable”.

In different BIOS, the name of the setting may also differ.

Dust control
At first, the obvious: to make the system unit less clogged with dust, it is better not to put it on the floor. If your case does not have dust filters, they can be purchased separately. Focus on the size of the fan – usually 80, 120 or 140 mm.

Anti-dust filter Evercool FGF-120 / M / BK 120 250 *
Modern enclosures are often a “sieve” with a large number of openings that provide not only fresh air flow, but also dust.

The side wall of the Zalman Z9 Plus, although it helps blowing the video card, sucks in a huge amount of dust

It is advisable to glue such places with a self-adhesive filter.

Anti-dust filter Self-adhesive G3-950BK

In extreme cases, the filter can be made from ordinary tights.

Remember that overheating of a video card and processor is almost always due to a banal clogging of the cooling radiators. They need to be cleaned regularly. Vacuuming the “insides” of the PC is not worth it, so as not to accidentally damage them. Better to use a compressed air cylinder. Read more in the specialized material .

Aceline pneumatic cleaner for office equipment, for digital equipment, 400 ml

To start the power supply without connecting it to the motherboard, you need to close the PS-ON pin 16 (green wire) and any “ground” (black wire) with a paper clip.

Thus, any device that requires a constant voltage of 5 or 12 volts at the input can be connected to the power supply unit – for example, case fans.

In stores: in 8 stores
Read more about checking the health of the power supply here .

Data protection
The HDD should not be subjected to sharp shocks and impacts, especially during operation. In a fit of rage, some users kick the system unit, which can end badly. The heads are located above the surface of the disc at a very small distance, and even a slight shock can cause them to touch the surface of the rotating pancake. Failure is guaranteed.

The read / write head rotates over the platter at 120 revolutions per second

What to do if your PC won’t turn on
If, when you turn on the computer, the fans first start and then suddenly turn off, then one of the devices connected to the motherboard is likely to be malfunctioning. Try to find the culprit by disconnecting the components one by one.

Occasionally, the power button itself is faulty. In this case, you need to disconnect its contacts from the motherboard and try to close them with a regular screwdriver. Each manufacturer has its own pinout, see the instructions for the motherboard. We need “Power Switch” or “PWRSW”:

Pinouts of contacts from different vendors

As a temporary measure, you can switch the contacts of the Reset button, which is used much less often, to turn on the power.