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Quick DIY Computer Fixes You Can Handle at Home

By amancuso

Computer Doctor Repair

Is your laptop or notebook’s charge cord fraying? Can you not concentrate on work because of your fan’s incessant whirring? Most computer repairs, especially those that require opening up your computer case, should be left to the professionals, but there are still some small repairs that you can handle easily and on your own. Whether it’s unsticking the keys on your keyboard or smoothing out the scratches on your screen with toothpaste, here are a few DIYs that require very little computer savvy.

Please note: These quick fixes are intended to be just that; quick fixes for smaller, mostly cosmetic computer problems. If you require a solution to a more serious hardware or software issue, or if the issue persists despite the DIY solution, it can be a sign more professional care is needed. Contact our Geeks as soon as possible to ensure your computer is repaired properly.

Fixing a Sticky Keyboard

Keyboard Keys Stick

Sometimes dust, hair, food, or other particles can get wedged into the sensitive pressure sensors under your keyboard’s keys. When this happens, it can cause your keys to stick. That’s a hassle for typing! For this solution you will need: a can of compressed air, a small screw driver, a clean non-pilling cloth.

First, unplug the keyboard if you can. Then take your can of compressed air and, with the small straw attached, wedge the straw under the stuck key and blow away any debris. In some cases, this might be all the solution that is required, so go ahead and see if the problem is fixed. If not, you will need to use your screw driver to pop the key up off of its sensor. Do so carefully! You should not need to use much force.

Place the top of the key aside in a place where you will not lose it. Use the compressed air to once away clear debris, and follow up with the non-pilling cloth to wipe away any straggling remains. Then, again using gentle force, place the key back on top of the sensor and press down.
Some keyboards work by grouping the electronic signals from multiple key sensors in one area. If the key is no longer physically sticking but the signal isn’t interpreting correctly, try cleaning the whole keyboard with compressed air. If there is still a problem, consult a Geek.

Repairing a Frayed Power Cord

Frayed Computer Power Cord Damage

After being bent, twisted, pulled, and rolled up for travel, a power cord beginning to fray is really just a side effect of expected wear and tear. However, it can be a dangerous one—besides preventing your laptop from charging correctly, a frayed power cord with exposed wires can also pose a fire risk! In order to keep your computer and belongings safe, as well as save money on buying a new cord, you will need either clear silicone sealant or plasti-dip.

Holding the power cord taut, use a brush or other application mechanism to cover the area where the wire is beginning to fray in a thick, even coating, and then smooth it down. Make sure that all of the exposed wires are thoroughly covered. It is better to coat the entire width of the frayed cord section for both greater assurance that the wires are contained and also to act as added strain relief to prevent further fraying.

Dust Busting the Noisy Fan

Computer Fans

Similar to the cause of a sticky keyboard, an overly noisy fan that fails to properly cool your notebook computer can be caused by dust and debris. Dead skin, pet dander, and other small blockages can clog the ventilation in your computer and keep your fan from functioning properly. The DIY repair for this is simple, and again only requires a can of compressed air and a small, non-pilling cloth.

The first thing to do is to identify all the places on your laptop where the air is coming in and out. These vents are typically on the sides of your notebook, but can also be located on the bottom so make sure to search carefully! Once these vents are located, take the canned air and, keeping the can approximately 5cm from the vents, use short, focused bursts of air to clear them of debris. Make sure you clear everything—there can be a surprising amount of dust!

If the fan is still too noisy or your computer is still overheating, then this might mean something is physically impeding the fan. This would require you to open the case and remove the blockage, so at this point it is best to get a Geek’s help.

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